Only connect! By Angela Caldin

The full quotation in E M Forster’s Howard’s End goes like this, ‘Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.’ I often think of these lofty and powerful words when I’m pondering about where to position only in a sentence so that the meaning is clear. Some people get really excited about this and insist that only should be placed immediately before the word or phrase it modifies. In this way, ‘He only gave… Read More

Apostrophe do’s and don’ts by Angela Caldin

A long time ago I have a strong memory of being taught about apostrophes in our grammar lessons at school in the 1950s. We were definitely taught to put an apostrophe in that decade and to write the 1950’s. I’m not quite sure what the reasoning was for putting the apostrophe in, but I’m glad that modern usage has decided that we’re dealing with a plural noun and that no apostrophe is required. Mrs Walsh, our English teacher, is probably turning in her grave to see that we now refer to MPs… Read More

Due to or because of by Angela Caldin

Does anyone else remember being told at school to be very careful when using due to, because in some situations it could be grammatically wrong? I avoid using due to for that very reason, but today I decided to find out what the distinction is between due to and because of. It turns out that due to acts as an adjective, which describes or modifies a noun. It can be replaced by caused by. It follows some form of the verb to be. For example: The car accident was due to poor… Read More