Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Whether English is your first language or your second language, these grammar, punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer. Grammar Girl is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast. To download podcast episodes not shown here, visit

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You'll get fun and friendly doses of writing advice in three short chunks: a Quick and Dirty Tip, a meaty middle, and a final tidbit. Grammar Girl covers everything from punctuation and grammar to style and voice.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-08-16 12:58
last episode published
2019-08-15 20:45
publication frequency
29.66 days
Contributors author  
Mignon Fogarty, Inc. owner  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Education Higher Education Literature Language Courses Arts



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

714 - Eponyms: Cardigan, Dunce, Quisling, and More.

Some words get their names from people, and when they do, the stories are usually fascinating. LINKS AND SPONSORS | Magoosh: code: GRAMMAR | True & Co.: code: GRAMMAR | Babbel: | Gra...

713 - More Apostrophe Mayhem. Dyslexia Writing Tips

One of the most common questions I get is how to make a word like "Kansas" possessive. There isn't a right or wrong answer, but I can help you decide which is best for you. Also, we have tips on how to make your work easier to read for people with dysl...

712 - Apostrophe Catastrophe. What (or Who) Is a Cipher?

It's not your fault apostrophes are confusing. We have help. Also, I called someone a "cipher," and my husband didn't know what that meant. LINKS AND SPONSORS | Magoosh: code: GRAMMAR | True & Co.: co...

711 - Misheard Song Lyrics and Eggcorns. The Ampersand.

When you mishear song lyrics, the resulting (often funny) error is called a mondegreen. We have the story about why and the run-down on similar funny errors. Also, did you know the ampersand used to be the last "letter" in the alphabet? LINKS AND SPONS...

710 - Vacay. Why Some People Call Green Peppers 'Mangoes'

It's time to take off, and we have 10 words to describe it. Also, we dig in to an interesting mystery: Why some people call green peppers "mangoes." LINKS AND SPONSORS | Magoosh: code:GRAMMAR | Audible: or text ...

709 - Surprise! The History of Semicolons Is Exciting.

I talked with Cecelia Watson, author of the new book "Semicolon" about how grammar writers in the 1800s became fabulously wealthy, struggled to create rules, and had vicious arguments; and we talked about how researching the book changed her approach t...

708 - Why Alcohol Is 'Hard.' 'Phenomena' or 'Phenomenon'?

A listener asked why we call some kinds of alcohol hard drinks and spirits, so we found the answer! Also, I'll help you remember the difference between "phenomenon" and "phenomena." LINKS AND SPONSORS | Magoosh: code:GRAMMAR | Blinki...

707 - How and Why the Internet Is Changing Language

Gretchen McCulloch studies how people use language on the internet, and today we talked about her new book, "Because Internet." I bet you'll recognize yourself or your friends in her insights. I did! LINKS AND SPONSORS | Embark: pr...

706 - Sometimes It's Not a Bad Idea to Dumb Down Your Language.

Why sometimes it's not a bad idea to dumb down your language. LINKS AND SPONSORS | True & Co: code:GRAMMAR | Grammar Girl Email Newsletter | | Grammar Girl's AP style webina...

705 - 'Blue Collar,' 'Bluestocking,' and 'the Blue Hair Brigade.' 'Oral' Versus 'Verbal.'

We talk about the origins of the phrases "blue collar," "bluestocking," and "blue hair," and discuss whether you should follow a rule you may not have even heard before: Don't use "verbal" to mean "spoken." LINKS AND SPONSORS | Blinkist: http://blinkis...

704 - Present Tense When Writing About Fiction. The Poop Emoji and Eggcorns.

If you're writing about fiction, especially time-shifting fiction, it can be tricky figuring out whether to use present tense or past tense. We have help! Also, I answer a listener question about a funny mix up about the poop emoji. LINKS AND SPONSORS ...

703 - Why There Are 9 Different Ways to Pronounce the Letter T

We count nine different allophones of the letter T. Odds are good you'll recognize them all (and some of them may annoy you). LINKS AND SPONSORS | Babbel: | True & Co: CODE: GRAMMAR | Bombas:...

702 - ‘All of a Sudden’ or ‘All of the Sudden’? ‘Baited’ or ‘Bated’ Breath?

I had a listener insist the wrong way of saying "suddenly" was right, so I had to look into it. Also, I'll help you spell "bated breath" properly (and explain why it looks so weird). LINKS AND SPONSORS | Babbel: | Grammar Girl...

701 - ‘Biweekly’ or ‘Semiweekly’? ‘Foward' and ‘Forward.’

Today I have a Quick and Dirty Tip about the difference between “biweekly” and “semiweekly,” and I respond to a listener question about why I pronounce “forward” without the R. LINKS AND SPONSORS | Babbel: | Grammar Girl Email...

700 - When to Capitalize 'Google.' Why Zero is 'Love' in Tennis.

Today I answer a listener question about how to write "Google" when you use it as a verb, and we talk about the strange scoring system in tennis. Wimbledon is upon us!  LINKS AND SPONSORS | Blinkist: | Grammar Girl Email New...

699 - When to Capitalize Computer Terms. StetWalk

Today I answer listener questions about how to write about a Word document, a PDF file, or a zip file. And learn how to play along with #StetWalk! LINKS AND SPONSORS | Stitcher App: | Grammar Girl Email Newsletter: https:...

698 - 'Subpoena.' When To Capitalize 'The' in Titles.

I could never remember how to spell "subpoena" until I came up with a memory trick! Also, we go over the tricky cases of when to capitalize the word "the" in titles such as The New York Times and The Chicago Manual of Style. Sometimes you do, and somet...

697 - What Anyone Can Learn From the College Essay Process

Even if you're not applying to college right now, the format of the college essay has a lot to teach about writing and self-reflection. A college essay can be an exploratory journey that ends up being about much more than getting into college. College ...

696 - Hyphens in Ages. The Emphatic 'This.'

We talk about when to use (and not use) hyphens in ages, and when it's OK to say, "I listen to THIS podcast that covers language" instead of "I listen to A podcast that covers language." LINKS AND SPONSORS | Start With This: http://startwiththispodcast...

695 - 'Armageddon' or 'Apocalypse'? Numbers in Dialogue.

Watching the new show "Good Omens," we started wondering about the difference between Armageddon and the apocalypse. Also after helping a friend with an editing dispute about numbers in dialogue, we wanted to pass on some advice about style guides and ...

694 - Country Names and “The”: The Ukraine or Ukraine. Theater Idioms.

You used to hear people say "the Ukraine," but now it's just "Ukraine." We know why! Plus, in honor of the Tony Awards, we talk about idioms from the theater. LINKS AND SPONSORS | How to Be Yourself Book: | Bombas: https...

693 - What's Wrong with Saying Something Is 'Very Unique'?

What's wrong with saying something is "very unique"? Plus, autological words like "longer." LINKS AND SPONSORS | Family Ghosts Podcast: | Audible: or text GG to 500-500 | Aspiration App Grammar Gi...

692 - Godzilla, Cryptids, and Dilemma Comments.

Merriam-Webster added the word “cryptid” to its dictionary, and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is hitting theaters, so it seemed like a good time to talk about a few monster words and to answer an important question: Is Godzilla a cryptid? LINKS AND ...

691 - BONUS: Introducing Science Rules! with Bill Nye

Bill Nye is on a mission to change the world—one phone call at a time. On his new podcast, Science Rules!, he tackles the curliest questions on just about anything in the universe. Perhaps you’ve wondered: Should I stop eating cheeseburgers to combat c...

690 - The Spelling Bee Kids

The author of "Beeline" reveals where those funny example sentences come from in the spelling bee and what the success of young spellers can tell us about Generation Z. LINKS AND SPONSORS | Grammar Girl Email Newsletter: https://www.quickanddirtytips.c...

689 - More or most? Majority or plurality? The many (how many?) ways to describe amounts.

How many do you need for a "majority." When "a couple" isn't two. And more. ]]>

688 - Dangling Participles

What are participles and why do they dangle?  LINKS AND SPONSORS | Graduation Sweepstakes: |  Grammar Girl's AP style webinar: | GRAMMAR POP iOS GAME | Optimized for iPad:

687 - What It's Like to Be a Book Editor and Translator

Palgrave Macmillan executive editor Elisabeth Dyssegaard is from Denmark and also works as a translator. LINKS AND SPONSORS | |  Grammar Girl's AP style webinar: | GRAMMAR POP iOS GAME | Optimi...

686 - The 'Dilemma' Dilemma. 'Big Bang Theory" Words and Language.

The 'Dilemma' Dilemma. 'Big Bang Theory" Words and Language. LINKS AND SPONSORS | Code:GRAMMAR | | Grammar Girl's AP style webinar: | GRAMMAR POP iOS GAME | Optimized fo...

685 - How to Find Work as a Freelance Writer. Adventure.

Tips for new graduates or anyone who is trying to get started as a freelance writer. Plus, the adventurous origin of the word "adventure." FOLLOW GRAMMAR GIRL | YouTube: | Twitter: | Faceboo...

684 - ‘Unquote’ or ‘End Quote’? Cinco de Mayo. Horse Idioms.

Today we have a couple of fun, timely segments (Cinco de Mayo! The Kentucky Derby!) and we answer a listener question about whether Grammar Girl is misspeaking. FOLLOW GRAMMAR GIRL | YouTube: | Twitter:

683 - ‘So’ and ‘So That’: What Type of Conjunction Are They?

‘So’ and ‘So That’: Coordinating or Subordinating Conjunction?  FOLLOW GRAMMAR GIRL | YouTube: | Twitter: | Facebook: | Pinterest:

682 - Do You Drop Your T's? 'Sneaked' and 'Snuck.'

Young women are leading language change again! This time, it's dropping T's in words like "Vermont" and "important." Also, we look at how "snuck" is sneaking up on "sneaked." FOLLOW GRAMMAR GIRL | YouTube: | Twitter: http:/...

681 - 'The Dictionary of Difficult Words,' an Interview with Jane Solomon

Doppelganger, estival, and funambulist. Jane Solomon shares the story behind her new book, "The Dictionary of Difficult Words." FOLLOW GRAMMAR GIRL | YouTube: | Twitter: | Facebook: h...

680 - Wakandan, Groot, and Other Languages of the Marvel Universe. Easter and Passover.

Wakandan, Groot, and more. The movies in the Marvel universe are filled with interesting real and made-up languages. Plus, did you know Easter and Passover are linguistically related? FOLLOW GRAMMAR GIRL | YouTube: |...

679 - Brussels sprouts? Scotch eggs? Swedish meatballs? Which food names can you trust?


678 - Moolah, Clams, and Scratch. God, Godsend, and Godfather.


BONUS: LeVar Burton Reads


676 - The Language of 'Game of Thrones'


675 - Why Verbs Like 'Witness' Are Weird


674 - How You Can Benefit Year-Round from NaNoWriMo


673 - Schwa-ify This! Scrabble Stories


672 - How a Semicolon Brought Two Writers Together


671 - Why We Have Both 'Color' and 'Colour'


670 - Equinox. Is Irish the Same as Gaelic?


669 - 'Red Tape,' 'Red Herring,' 'Paint the Town Red,' and More 'Red' Idioms.


668 - What's Wrong with 'These Ones'? Faith and Begorrah, We Have Irish Phrases for St. Patrick's Day!


667 - Why ducks say "quack-quack" in English but "ga-ga" in Japanese.


666 - Double Negatives.


665 - Language News Chat