Category: TRICK


A passive construction occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence.

Active Voice = Zombies chased her.
Passive Voice = She was chased [by zombies].

Many passive sentences include the actor at the end of the sentence in a “by” phrase, like “The ball was hit by the player” or “The shoe was chewed up by zombies.” “By” by itself isn’t a conclusive sign of the passive voice, but it can prompt you to take a closer look.

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 a contraction linking the words “who is” or “who has.” (Who’s wearing green today?) (Who’s been a good girl?)
WHOSE:  the possessive form of who.  (Whose book is this?) (Is he the one whose tie matches mine today?)

TIP: if you aren’t sure which one to use, substitute “who is” in the sentence. If it makes sense, use WHO’S. If not, use WHOSE.

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FLAIR is only a noun. It can mean either (1) distinctive elegance or style, or (2) a natural talent or aptitude.

FLARE as a noun means (1) a brief blaze of light; (2) a sudden outburst; and (3) an expanding or outward opening.
FLARE as a verb means (1) to blaze with sudden, bright light; (2) to burst out in anger; and (3) to expand or open outward.

As you can see, the verb and noun are closely related.

“He has a natural FLAIR for carpentry.” (noun)
“The carnival featured food with a European FLAIR.” (noun)
“There was a FLARE of light as the campfire was lit.” (noun)
“Bell-bottom jeans FLARE out at the bottom.” (verb)
“Tempers FLARED at the staff meeting this morning.” (verb)

TIP: flAIR means a certain “AIR” about you. It’s always a noun. FLARE can be a noun or a verb, but if it’s a verb you want for your sentence, use FLARE.

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BESIDE and BESIDES often get confused. Both are prepositions, but they are used differently. Besides can also be used as an adverb, but beside cannot.

BESIDE: a preposition used to determine the spatial relationship between two objects. It means “at the side of” or “next to.” For instance, “He sat beside the bed while his sister was sleeping.”

BESIDES: as a preposition, it means “in addition to” or “except.” For example, “She wants to play other sports besides tennis.”

BESIDES: as an adverb, it means “also” or “in addition to.”
The movie looks good, and besides, it’s my birthday so I want to go.

TRICK: BESIDE can only be a preposition and usually relates to space: at the side of/next to. BESIDES has an additional letter S, and it can mean “in addition to.”

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