Monday: Tidbit

Grammar TidbitIf you care to be grammatical with “like” and “as though,” remember this mini-rule: Like a Pig, As Though I Were a Pig.

What does this mean?

The word “like” requires a noun or pronoun. Like a boss, like a llama, like an idiot . . . you get it.

The phrases “as if,” “as though,” and the like (don’t hit me) require a verb of some kind. As if I were a king, as though I were a llama, as if the idiot became wise.

This page is very helpful.

Have a grammar peeve you’d like others to finally learn? Send your tidbit, name, and web-space to!


Monday: Find the Typo

Find the Typo

Welcome to this special French-inspired installment of Find the Typo!

Phone 2014 January 480

The phrase is correct as “en route.” Any editor would know the spelling; if not, they’d at least be professional enough to look it up. That’s what we’re here for!

Have you found a typo? As always, if you find a typo on Cicero Grade at WordPress, we will feature your web-space in a future post! Comment with typo stories below; if you have typo photos, please email them to to win a feature-post. Thank you for reading!

Monday: Tidbit

Grammar Tidbit

There is no absolute rule in English, and this is the only absolute rule. Did I just blow your mind? Well stay tuned, ‘cos I’m about to do it again: you can use apostrophes to pluralize some things!

I can tell by your expression that you think I am pulling your leg. Nope. That’s not me.

Use apostrophe-s’s to pluralize lowercase letters. For example: Use apostrophe-s’s to pluralize lowercase letters.

Use apostrophe-s’s to pluralize abbreviations. For example: Make sure all the etc.’s have a period attached.

I said in this post to never pluralize nouns with an apostrophe-s. Please note that this is incomplete. I’m sorry for misinforming anyone.

Do you have a grammar tidbit you’d like others to know? Do you have a question about grammar you’d like answered simply and concisely? Send an email to!

Monday: Tidbit

Grammar Tidbit

Does your writing tend to be more formal than conversational? Even if it’s on the casual end of the style spectrum, don’t you aim to keep everything grammatically sound enough to clearly convey your messages?

Sometimes we write the way we speak, whether that’s intentional or just the product of writing on a roll. When this happens, we can say something we don’t quite realize is confusing. Take the word “only,” for example:

I only have 100 updates because I just restored this computer.

That’s a bunch of updates! This line is almost nonsensical; it helps that there is no comma, which points us in the right direction, but in effect, the speaker is coming across as nonchalant about the number of updates. What do you mean only a hundred updates? That isn’t the message he means to convey at all!  What he means is this:

I have 100 updates only because I just restored this computer.

Now we’re understanding! See how the placement of “only” made us misconstrue the line? While this can be fine in dialogue (it is, after all, the way people speak), narrative has to be cleaner. Make sure you position “only” right where it needs to be to modify the correct idea. Otherwise, readers could make many bizarre interpretations of a very simple thought!

Have a grammar peeve you’d like others to finally learn? Send your tidbit, name, and web-space to!

Monday: Find the Typo

Find the Typo

This sign has bothered me for a decade. I swear, one day I’m going to paint those damn apostrophes white.


Just because it’s a word you don’t see often doesn’t mean you should give it an apostrophe to pluralize it. Who approved this?

“Villa’s of R—ia from the 100’s”

Sorry about the photo quality; I am no Keaton.

Submit your own “Find the Typo” photos to Blog@CiceroGrade.Com! Leave your name, any necessary explanation, and a link to your personal web-space for Cicero Grade at WordPress to highlight. Thanks!

Monday: Grammar Tidbit

Grammar Tidbit

I own three hundred and twenty-five Pokemon cards.

Why is twenty-five hyphenated? Why is “three hundred” left out? I don’t know. That’s just the rule. Numbers 21-99 are hyphenated, even if they’re preceded by a hundred, a thousand, or a million. So 571 is written as five hundred [and] seventy-one.

Oh, and the only Pokemon card I own now is a holographic BlastoiseI bought it at $20, and fifteen years later, it’s worth a whopping $9.99!