Good Stuff

Tips, tricks and techniques that help you explore and enjoy your communication awareness.

Quote of the Day

Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.
-Wendell Johnson

Dear Jane

Dear Jane,

I don’t bother with some of the grammar or spelling rules that no-one cares about.  If I write your or you’re, or to or too, or their or there, or let’s or lets, or it’s or its – who cares?  People know what I mean, right?  My supervisor said I need to take a class but I don’t think anyone cares about rules any more, do you?


Happy to be Wrong

Want to be a professional

Dear Happy,

Unfortunately, the people who read what you write are counting on the rules of grammar and spelling to guide them as to your meaning.  If they have to pause and decipher what you’ve written, they might lose interest and stop reading.  Also, if they think you disregard written rules they may wonder what other rules you disregard.  You probably don’t want either of these things to happen.  Ignoring rules of language may not be the place where you want to stake your independence.

Good luck,


Tip of the Day

Real or Really

'Real' is an adjective. It modifies only nouns and pronouns.

'Really' is an adverb. It modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

For example:

- Hector has a real problem. (real modifies the noun problem)

- He really wants me to solve it. (really modifies the verb wants)

And further:

- "I feel really eager to help Hector." (Really modifies the adjective eager)

- "But I am really tired of being asked." (Really modifies the adjective tired.)

- "Hector needs to get a real grip on his really frequent requests." (real modifies the noun grip, and really modifies the adjective frequent.)

Problem solved.


Spotlight: Something as small as an apostrophe can cause changes in meaning.  Knowing a few rules will help avoid trouble.


  • Use the apostrophe to show possession: Hector’s meeting.

Use it even if the noun ends in ‘s’:  Doris’s turn.

And even if the noun is plural:  The children’s playground.

And even if the noun is plural AND ends in ‘s’:  the Smiths’ house.

  • We also use the apostrophe in contractions:

They have= they’ve; you are= you’re; can not=can’t.

Here are places where we do NOT use an apostrophe:

  • Six dogs
  • Your homework
  • Lots of fun

You can do this.  Call us at 202-298-7700 for help.