Grammar, Punctuation & Phrases

A collection of answers to grammar, spelling and punctuation questions, plus explanations on the origins of popular phrases.

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You may call your cousin a Luddite because he still plays CDs, but the word didn't originally mean someone who's a technophobe. What other historical words do people use incorrectly?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The times, they are most certainly a changin'. With the rise of the Internet and smartphones, etiquette -- both personal and professional -- isn't quite what it once was.

By Karen Kirkpatrick

In an era of strict social rules, dance cards let gentlemen "claim" ladies for their turn on the floor. A full dance card was a sign of popularity.

By Kate Kershner


Commas are notoriously tricky punctuation marks, and with good reason. So how can you know if you're using them correctly? It comes down to one question: Is it essential?

By Julia Layton

An anagram takes the letters in a phrase and rearranges them to form a new phrase. Anagrams can sometimes spell out an accurate description of the original word. Some of the results will surprise you. See our list of 13 anagrams.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Palindromes are words, phrases or even dates that are spelled the same forward and backward. They don't always make tons of sense, but they're still fun.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Pangrams are sentences that use every single letter of the alphabet at least once. They might not all make sense, but these 14 phrases are fun for those of us who love words.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.


Walter Winchell not only dished the dirt on celebrities and politicians, he also coined some clever phrases. Winchell is considered the forefather of gossip columnists who had a tendency for making up words. Learn 15 terms coined by Walter Winchell.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

If you're headed to the spelling bee, here's a list of words you should have down pat. These words are some of the most common words that people spell incorrectly. Learn 48 commonly misspelled words, only at HowStuffWorks.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

You know genius is all inspiration and perspiration, but it's time to find out what creativity is really about. This list provides some of the most famous quotes that are about creativity and invention. Read 17 favorite quotes on creativity.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.