Parentheses and how to nest them ([{}])

In Tips & Tricks by Kali Tal

A parenthesis contains a comment that, while pertinent, interrupts the flow of the sentence or paragraph.  If a sentence is well-formed, text in parentheses can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence.  Let’s look at a few examples. I put on a sweater (red, because that’s my favorite color) and went to the party. I said hello to …

More vs. greater, or less vs. fewer

In Tips & Tricks by Kali Tal

Which one do I use? I often run across sentences like this when I’m editing: Less rhGH patients than controls reported that they lived with a partner. The cost of an effective dose of this medication is more than the cost of that medication. Both are incorrect.  But how is a non-native English speaker to tell, when even native speakers sometimes make this …

Has, had, have and will have…

In Tips & Tricks by Kali Tal

The simple past, present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tenses in English English has a lot of tenses (most non-native speakers think we have far too many). I often see authors confused about when to use “has,” “had,” “have,” and “will have,” so here’s a short explanation of the simple past, present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tenses. We collected the …

The drama of “not only…. but also”: when to use it, when not to use it.

In Tips & Tricks by Kali Tal

“Not only X, but also Y.” This construction is commonly used by native German speakers, when they write in English: Not only women, but also men are pursuing careers in nursing. “Not only… but also” is usually used for dramatic effect. It is an inversion of a positive claim, turned around to emphasize an element that contradicts our expectations. Usually, …