Grammar with Anra Redux



All powerful magic grammar hamster queen. Evil?, Female
Blog Posts:
This blog is a gathering of all my "Grammar with Anra" grammar lessons. I figured I should put them all in one place before they get too hard to find from the pile up of profile posts. If you have read all of my grammar lessons, there won't be anything new here for you, but feel free to take a peek and brush up.

And remember, kids, Grammar Hamsters are against Grammarly!

1. It's vs. its
2. A vs. an
3. Only!
4. Lie vs. lay
5. The Oxford comma
6. Split Infinitives
7. Ellipses
GRAMMAR BREAK WITH ANRA: fun video video is gone due to copyright
8. Subjunctive
Fan question: assume and presume
9. Some common words and phrases
10. Can vs. may
Fan question: apostrophes and s
11. Shall vs. will
Fan question: i.e. and e.g.
12. Aid vs. Aide
13. Blond vs. blonde, brunet vs. brunette
14. Capitalization in dialogue
15. Commas and an adressee
16. Less vs. fewer
Fan question: while vs. whilst BONUS: gray vs. grey
17. Who vs. Whom
GRAMMAR BREAK WITH ANRA: funny mistranslation
GRAMMAR BREAK WITH ANRA: video on “your” vs. “you’re.”
18. ‘ vs. “

1. It’s vs. its. Rule of thumb: if it can be replaced with “it is,” use “it’s.” If not, no apostrophe.

“It’s” is a contraction for “it is.” “Its” is a possessive.
“It’s a me, Mario!” becomes “It is a me, Mario!”
“The monster raises its arm” CANNOT become “The monster raised it is arm.”

2. A vs. an. Rule of thumb: “a” is for consonant sounds, “an” for vowel sounds.

A book
An arm
An hour (although “hour” starts with an “h,” both “hour,” and, ironically, “h,” start with vowel sounds.)

Plus adjectives:
An amazing book
A strong arm
A long hour

Note: this can get complicated when parenthesis are added to the mix. My ex step-mom and I once spent several hours discussing which word the “a/an” modified in a sentence that went something like: (adjective) adjective noun. I can’t remember what we decided in the end.

3. Only! Rule: “only” modifies whatever it’s next to.

Let’s take a simple sentence, “you die once” and see how it changes meaning with the placement of “only.”

“Only you die once.” Meaning, except for you, everyone else dies multiple times.
“You only die once.” While “only” could be modifying “you,” your intuition should tell you this is unlikely. In modifying “die,” the meaning becomes: you do everything except die more than once.
“You die only once.” Meaning, you die one time only.

Notes: placement of “only” is very important. If you place it in the wrong place, it will either change the meaning of the sentence or make it incomprehensible.

I once got some promotional material from Comcast. One of the sentences had a free floating “only” it. I couldn’t make heads or tails of what the sentence meant. When I called them up, it took a while for them to figure it out themselves.

4. Lie vs. lay or, Jim, I’m a person, not an object!

If you’ve ever had a doctor to tell you to “lay down,” you can unleash your righteous fury on him or her for treating you like an object, in either sense of the word.

“Lie” is used for the subject, usually, people.
I lie down.
I lay down.
I have lain down.
I am lying down.

“Lay” is used for the object of the sentence, usually objects.
I lay down the book.
I laid down the book.
I have laid down the book.
I am laying down the book.
See if you want more.

5. The Oxford comma or, the comma you’d have to pry out of my cold, dead, lifeless hands.

The Oxford comma is controversial. I myself have fought vehemently with people many times over my love of the Oxford comma. Even if you decide not to use it (and I immediately disown you), you should know what it is. Court cases have been won and lost over it.

Definition: the Oxford comma is the comma that comes right before the last phrase at the end of any list. Example:
“Red, white, and blue.” Oxford comma
“Red, white and blue.” No Oxford comma

Journalism and laws are written without the Oxford comma. In the former case, it started as a means of saving room, and therefore money.

Both sides of the argument believe without question that their side makes sentences more understandable. For comma haters, “Red, white and blue” are understood to be three separate descriptors/items. For comma lovers, without the comma, they are clearly only two descriptors/items.

In a recent court case within the past few years, a court decided that the missing comma meant that workers could have over time pay. For more info on the case and the comma in general, see

For, frankly, hilarious reasons to use the comma:

6. Split infinitives or, why boldly going may be bad for your grades.

Split infinitives are hard to get away from these days. There is a varying amount of acceptance recently for split infinitives, but when doing formal writing or speaking, you may want to avoid this particular brand of nails on chalkboard of grammar.

Definition: a split infinitive is anything placed in between “to” and the verb it’s paired with, often “not” being the offender in question. (I’m looking at you, “I Decided to Not Compete and Quietly Create Dolls Instead.”)

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” Shakespeare for the win!
“To be or to not be, that is the question.” Split infinitive.

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Sounds awesome, but it is a split infinitive.
“To go boldly” or “Boldly to go” sounds less cool, but you won’t have to worry about red marks on your paper.

7. Ellipses: we’re all using them wrong.

The ellipsis (“...”) has become a common way to express ourselves—yes, I’m including myself—through pauses and speechlessness, but such usage is completely wrong. There is only one correct way to use ellipses in English that I’m aware of.

The correct way to use ellipses is in quotations. Take the sentence: “I am the amazing Anra.” If you wanted to quote me, but only part of the sentence, you’d use an ellipsis: “I am... Anra.”

For quotations that encompass more than one sentence, you use an ellipsis with four dots. Example: “I am Anra. Therefore, worship me, for I am amazing.” Could become: “I am Anra.... worship me... I am amazing.” Does this make sense? Let me know if you need more examples.

A treat for those who remember the lesson on split infinitives:
Seems the BBC took the video down. :blobsob:

8. Subjunctive or, the tense that is somewhat more complicated than I thought.

I have the words “subjunctive contrary to fact” burned into my brain after nearly 30 years of them being drilled into my head by my English prof mom. Only when researching did I find that there was more to this tense then I thought. I’ll explain what I do know, then direct you to a site I came across with more info.

Think of a hypothetical situation. Now, since it *is* a hypothetical, and not real, the tense changes. Rather than saying, “If I was hungry, I would eat,” you should say, “If I were hungry, I would eat.” That is subjunctive contrary to fact.

Confession: it took me a while to put up this episode because this was giving me a headache. Confession: I shudder every time I see the words “if... was...” and there are a lot of those in novels.
For more info:

Fan question:
@akki: *raises hand* Miss! Miss! Miss! I have a question. When is it okay to use the words assume and presume in a sentence? Does it not matter when they're used or are there specific conditions required to use one or the other in a sentence?
@Blitz: In most cases they can be use interchangeably but there's a difference such that assume is based on the lack of actual proof while presume is based on probability from what I know
Me: @Blitz is correct. I actually didn’t remember about this one, but when I saw Blitz’s response, it seemed 100% right to me. I looked it up ( and Blitz is indeed correct. ^_^

9. Some common words and phrases that may get you into trouble with grammarians.
All the following words and phrases have become common, but their acceptance is varied, and each will undoubtedly make some grammarians furious. (Okay, I may have based this list off of what made my mom furious.) Remember, this list is not inclusive.
Alright. Merriam-Webster accepts this as a word, but does note that there are still many critics. You can’t go wrong if you use “all right” instead.
Different than. There is a time and place it is acceptable to use, but generally it’s (wrong) stylistically worse. “Different from” is generally better. For more, see
Human(s) (noun). “Human” by itself is an adjective, a characteristic of being a “human being.” Although, admittedly, the dictionary does accept “human” by itself as a noun. ╭(╯^╰)╮
Hopefully. Full disclosure: I have a great deal of trouble with this one myself. Correct usage: doing something in a hopeful manner. Example: “She scanned the city hopefully for signs of people.”
Irregardless. No. Just no. The dictionary admits that it is a dialect word. Regardless, the rest of the grammarians see it as imaginary, so don’t use it.

10. Can vs. may. Rule: ability/capability vs. permission.
This is something kid!Anra struggled with a great deal, despite being really simple. If you can do something, you are physically/mentally/emotionally able to do it. If you may do something, you have permission to do it.

Even if I could (ability) jump over the school wall, I may (permission) not be able to.
Thus, the next time you say to your parents, “can I have a cookie?” Expect them to say, “you are indeed physically able to eat that cookie, but you haven’t asked us yet whether we’ll allow you to eat it.”

Personally, kid!Anra would get corrected every time she incorrectly used “can.” It caused a great deal of frustration and lost time for eating cookies. ╭(╯^╰)╮ But adult!Anra is grateful for the lessons.

Fan question:
@akki: *raises hand* Miss! Miss! Miss! I have another question. What's the rule behind apostrophe before or after the letter s?
Me: I distinctly remember asking mom that before and got the answer. Too bad I don’t remember. T_T I looked it up, and the answer seems to be... everyone has a different opinion.
The easiest rule I came accross was: if you say it out loud and add an extra “s” sound, you write an extra “s.” But you can see more about the varying opinions here:

11. Shall vs. will, or, the future and the law.
This is not my specialty, even though one of my law professors spent a good deal of time in class talking about it a few years ago, as well as it being the speciality of my aunt and uncle, so please bear with me.
A brief search of Google-sensei reveals that shall is used in mainly two contexts: talking about the future from the first person perspective and in legal documents to describe duty. I’ll discuss each separately and give links to further info.
The Future.
When talking about the future, normally it is correct to say in the first person: “I shall visit NUF,” whereas in the second or third person one would say: “you/he/she will visit NUF.” When showing strong determination, however, the two words are flipped: “I *will* visit NUF” and “you *shall* visit NUF.”
Legal terms.
Simply put, “shall” refers to a “duty,” whereas “will” refers to a “promise.” Think of it this way: “the party x shall clean the kitchen” means that party x *must* clean the kitchen. “Party x will clean the kitchen” means party x promises to clean the kitchen. Slightly different connotation.
Some helpful links:

Fan question:
@Blitz: Anra sensei! is there a difference between I.e and e.g? or can they be used interchangeably?
@Nyann: i.e is That is. e.g. is Example

12. Aid or Aide?
I’ve been seeing “aid” and “aide” being misused in various places recently, and this has been bothering me. The difference is simple.
“Aid” is assistance/help.
An “aide” is an assistant to an important person.
Therefore, if you are an aide, you give aid to others.
Remember, if you’re talking about the help you’re doing, no “e.” If you’re talking about yourself being the helper, add the “e.”

13. Blond vs blonde, brunet vs. brunette. Which should you use when?
This is actually fairly simple. Blond and brunet are used to describe fair haired and brown haired men. Blonde and brunette are the feminine versions of the words. So, use the “no e” version for men and add the “e” or “te” for women.
P.S. most inanimate objects are considered “male,” so you get a “blond dresser” rather than a blonde one.

14. Capitalization in dialogue (with a bonus website on dialogue tags)
When your dialogue is the beginning of the sentence, NO MATTER WHERE it is in the surrounding sentence, the first letter is capitalized.
Jen asked, “Where are you going?” (Correct)
Jen asked, “where are you going?” (Wrong)
“Where are you going?” she asked. (Surprisingly correct)
“Where are you going?” She asked. (Surprisingly wrong)
Therefore, *most* of the time, the start of your dialogue should be capitalized. If the sentence is partial, it doesn’t need to be capitalized.
I always thought that he was “scum.” (Correct)
Today is the day we “ride to victory.” (Correct)
An excellent site I found on dialogue tags (the “he said” and “she said” bits) can be found here for more info:

15. Commas and an addressee
When you have an addressee in a sentence, you always need to have a comma (or period) surrounding the addressee
Hi, Anra. (Correct)
Hi Anra. (Wrong)
Hey, man, have you heard about yesterday? (Correct)
Hey man have you heard about yesterday? (Wrong)
Dude, what’s up? (Correct)
Dude what’s up? (Wrong)
One exception is when you begin a letter with “Dear.” Then you don’t need to have a comma before the name. But, if you start the letter with something else, like “hi” or “hello,” you do need the comma.

16. Less vs. fewer.
If it’s countable, use “fewer.” If it can’t be individually counted, use “less.”

There are fewer people.
I have less water than you.
Wrote the above because I was reading a NU novel and someone wrote “less people.”

Fan question:
@akki: how about a While vs Whilst? ☕️......[¬º-°]¬ ~ᕕ(゚Д゚)ᕗ
Me: “Whilst” is just the chiefly British form of “while.” They mean the same thing.
BONUS: Gray vs. grey
You can remember it this way:
The Americans use “grAy,” and the English (British) use “grEy.” ^_^

17. Who vs. Whom
The quick and dirty rule:
If you can replace it with him or her, use “whom.”
If you can replace it with he or she, use “who.”
Quick way to remember: “him” and “whom” both end with “m.” (The best letter in the alphabet, says Anra! Not like it’s the first letter of her real name, or anything. *cough*) “He,” “she,” and “who” all end in vowels.
Who ran the race? She ran the race.
Who is the coolest Nuffian? He’s the coolest Nuffian.
For whom the bell tolls. It tolls for him.
With whom am I speaking? I am speaking with her.
It works this way because who and whom are referring to either the subject or object of the sentence. When referring to the subject, aka, the person doing the action, you use “who.” When referring to the object, aka, the person the action gets done to, you use “whom.”
Good extra resource:

So... in my experience, Flying Lines doesn’t have the greatest translations. Today I saw a funny repeated mistake: “rouge cultivator.” Pff.
Instead of a wild cultivator (rogue), you’ve got a make-up cultivator (rouge)! o(^▽^)o
This repeats every single time the word is used throughout the chapter. ^_^;

Edited 11/17:
Interesting video on “your” vs “you’re.”

Edited 2/12/20:
18. ‘ vs. “
‘ has two roles as quotation marks. In British English it is the main form of quotation mark, where American English uses “. The other role is inside quotations.

For example:
American English:
“So I told her, ‘Get off my ship.’ And she left.”
British English:
‘So I told her, “Get off my ship.” And she left.’
Note: I am unsure about whether this applies to other dialects of English.


    1. Anra7777 Feb 12, 2020
      Updated! o(^▽^)o
      Blitz and Momoyuki like this.
    2. AMissingLinguist Nov 18, 2019
      You're welcome. I always thought of it as "your welcome" until my teacher and classmates noticed and corrected my mistake. I knew it was "you're welcome", but I never connected the dots on my pronunciation and spelling. :blobsweat_2: Also, "your welcome" does make sense, but in a different context.
      Lurking and Anra7777 like this.
    3. Anra7777 Nov 18, 2019
      Blog has been updated with new addition.
      Lurking and AMissingLinguist like this.
    4. AMissingLinguist Nov 5, 2019
      Amazing blog. Good for reminding myself how grammar works. 9/10. blobmelt_thumbs
      Lurking and Anra7777 like this.
    5. Anra7777 Nov 5, 2019
      @Blitz, that’s a good idea! I should do that one! o(^▽^)o
    6. Blitz Nov 5, 2019
      reveal the secret of what a semicolon actually is?:blobspy:
      Lurking and Anra7777 like this.
    7. Anra7777 Nov 5, 2019
      LilyoftheValley likes this.
    8. LilyoftheValley Nov 5, 2019
      And somehow you still like my writing... :blobsweat_2:
      Yay for my shitty grammar!
      Anra7777 likes this.