Compound Sentence Definition & Examples

Dec 1st 2019

Compound Sentence Definition

A compound sentence is a sentence that has two or more independent clauses that express related ideas. To make a compound sentence, the two independent clauses are usually connected using a semicolon or a coordinating conjunction (words like for, and, but, yet, so, nor, or).

Compound Sentence Examples

Let’s look at an example of a compound sentence and break down its elements:

  • Bill went to New York City, but David travelled to Philadelphia.

As you can see, the sentence is composed of two independent clauses “Bill went to New York City” and “David travelled to Philadelphia”, which are connected by the coordinating conjunction “but”.

Some more compound sentence examples:

  • We are tired, yet it’s too early to go to bed.
  • I think you would be happy here, but you would be happy at home, too.
  • Dad is cranky this morning; he hasn’t had his coffee yet.
  • The lieutenant stood silently, for he was ever prepared for battle.
  • Jenny is very adept at science, and she will go to a top university to study biology.
  • You can take that scone with the blueberries, or you can have the one over there.
  • My knees are stiff; old age is catching up with me.

Compound Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions

The use of a coordinating conjunction is one of the main ways to link the independent clauses of a compound sentence. There are seven coordinating conjunctions, which can be remembered by the mnemonic FANBOYS – for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so.

Coordinating conjunctions play an important role in a compound sentence because they link the two independent clauses and help writing flow better. Consider these examples:

  • They are frightened. They have resolved to continue their journey.

Taking those two sentences and using the coordinating conjunction yet to form a compound sentence helps the reader better understand the meaning of the two clauses and the relationship between them, not to mention helping the sentence flow a bit more smoothly.

  • They are frightened, yet they have resolved to continue their journey.

But could also be used to connect the two clauses, help the reader and create a smoother sentence.

  • They are frightened, but they have resolved to continue their journey.

Compound Sentences with a Semicolon

Like a coordinating conjunction, a semicolon is used to link two independent clauses that are related. The use of semicolons is often debated as a matter of style in literature and journalism but using them correctly can make your writing look more accomplished and elegant.

Look at this example:

  • My dog Snickers is beautiful; he has gorgeous eyes and looks like he is always smiling.

Subtly, the semicolon does a lot of work in this sentence. Without stating it overtly, the semicolon tells the reader that there is a link between the dog’s beauty and the parts of its face being described in the second clause. We could rewrite the sentence this way:

  • My dog Snickers is beautiful, and he has gorgeous eyes and looks like he is always smiling.

The second example is a perfectly viable compound sentence, and it has almost the same meaning as the first. Yet, one would argue that the semicolon in the first example does a better job of linking the clauses together and creating a smoother flow. It’s like saying the gorgeous eyes and smiling face are part of the dog’s beauty, whereas those qualities in the second example may or may not be the reason the dog is considered beautiful.

Compound Sentences in Quotes

Here are some examples of famous quotes that are also compound sentences:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” Voltaire

My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” Coco Chanel

Never will the world know all it owes to them, nor all they have suffered to enrich us.” Marcel Proust

“I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” Alice (Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland)

Compound vs. Complex Sentences

You should not confuse a compound sentence with a complex sentence. The former is composed of two independent clauses, i.e. a clause that could be a complete sentence on its own, and the latter is composed of an independent clause and dependent clause.

  • Because he was running fast, he was panting hard.

The above is an example of a complex sentence. We can tell the difference between a complex sentence and a compound sentence because the complex sentence has a dependent clause. A dependent clause – in this case, “because he was running fast” – is not a complete thought, i.e. the phrase does not make sense as a complete sentence on its own and needs additional information.

We could rewrite the sentence to make it a compound sentence:

  • He was running fast, and he was panting hard.

“He was running fast” and “he was panting hard” are both independent clauses, i.e. they make sense on their own. Therefore, the compound sentence is created by linking the two clauses together using the coordinating conjunction “and”.

Some more examples of complex vs compound sentences:

  • She sent back the meal after she noticed it was cold. (complex sentence)
  • She sent back the meal, for she realized she wasn’t hungry now. (compound sentence)
  • Although Jim was successful in business, he was still lonely. (complex)
  • Jim was successful in business, but he was still lonely. (compound)
  • I will either succeed or fail; these are the only two options for me. (compound)
  • Whether I succeed or fail, I will give it my best shot. (complex)

The Eight Parts of Speech

Nov 28th 2019

Anyone learning about language will be aware that words perform different functions in a piece of writing. In English, we refer to the “Eight Parts of Speech”, i.e. the eight types of words that broadly cover all parts of language. Knowing the differences will help you be able to use words correctly and create interesting writing.</br\>

Consider this sentence:

  • “Wow! Her rude boyfriend talked constantly on his phone and coughed loudly during the performance.”

The example above contains all eight parts of speech. They are listed below:

Noun(s) = boyfriend, phone, performance

Pronoun(s) = her, his

Verb(s) = talked, coughed

Adjective = rude, the (article)

Preposition(s) = on, during, with

Adverb(s) = loudly, constantly

Interjection = wow

Conjunction = and

The eight parts of speech all have their individual functions in a sentence, helping us better understand the meaning and context of language. Below we will discuss all eight parts of speech separately, giving original examples for each.


A noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea. In simple terms, we can refer to a noun as a naming word.


  • John left the house early that morning.

We also break nouns down nouns into two main categories, proper nouns and common nouns. A proper noun, which generally is the name of someone or something, like John, Chicago or Mount Rushmore, is always capitalized regardless of where it appears in a sentence. Common nouns, such as dogs, college or football, are only capitalized if they begin a sentence. Remember that nouns can be singular or plural, and they will take an apostrophe to show possession.

Some more examples of nouns in sentences:

  • Science and geography are Mike’s favourite subjects.
  • The president will visit France on Tuesday.


Pronouns are used to replace nouns. We do this to avoid repetition, but also to indicate things like possession.


  • Mandy took her dog for a walk, but it barked the whole time.

In the example above, the pronoun her replaces the noun Mandy and it replaces the noun dog.

There are several categories of pronouns: Personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, relative pronouns, reflexive pronouns and demonstrative pronouns.

Some more examples of pronouns in sentences:

  • If you leave now, only James and I will remain behind.
  • Their feet ached more than ours.


A verb is a word that expresses an action, feeling or state of being.


  • We sang songs, danced all night, and by the morning had fallen in love.

In the above example, sang, danced and had fallen are the verbs of the sentence. As they are verbs, they must have agreement with the subject, in this case we, and they must demonstrate tense, in this case the past tense.

More examples of verbs in sentences:

  • Can you bring me something from the kitchen? I am
  • They will decide later, or they might not decide at all. Who knows?


An adjective is a word used to modify or describe a noun or pronoun.


  • Jenna has blue eyes, and her hair is soft and long.

You can usually spot an adjective because it will be placed before the noun it is describing, such as blue describing the color of Jenna’s eyes in the example above. However, adjectives can also act as a complement to a linking verb or the verb to be, such as the adjectives soft and long in the example above. The articles the, a and an are also considered adjectives.

More examples of adjectives in sentences:

  • Bring me the little spotted dog, or a large golden
  • The best days of my life were my teenage years.


An adverb is a word used to modify or describe a verb, adjective or a sentence.


  • We walked quietly down the hallway.

In the above example the adverb quietly is modifying or describing the verb walked, i.e. telling the reader that the action of walking was carried out in a certain way. We often recognize adverbs by the fact they end in ly, but some adverbs look exactly the same as adjectives. Fast, for instance, can be both an adverb and an adjective.

More examples of adverbs in sentences

  • He spoke fast and licked his lips incessantly.
  • They reacted angrily to the very long list of demands.


Prepositions are used to indicate relationships between nouns, phrases or pronouns to other words in a sentence. They are the words that help weld a sentence together, by expressing time, position, distance etc.


  • The man in the overalls is standing on the roof.

Prepositions are often small words like on, at, for, to and in. They are generally followed by nouns and pronouns, but, as is often the case in English, there are some exceptions.

More examples of prepositions in sentences:

  • He must arrive before sunset, because we close the gate at
  • I was born in 1983; three years after my brother.


Like prepositions, conjunctions tend to glue a sentence together. They do this by acting as linking words between words, phrases and clauses.


  • We are hungry, but we don’t have time to eat.

The two main types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions (words like but, so, for, and), which act to connect two independent clauses with equal grammatical weight, and subordinating conjunctions (words like although, because, since), which connect independent and dependent clauses that are not equal.

More examples of conjunctions in sentences:

  • Although he always left a tip, the waiters were still rude.
  • Cheese and crackers are my favorite snacks, yet I never eat them during the summer.


An interjection is used to express a strong feeling or sudden emotion.


  • Gosh! I forgot my coat again.

Interjections are usually used informally, and you will find the words appear in speech more so than formal or academic writing. When interjections are used in writing they are often followed by an exclamation point, which helps to convey the sense of sudden emotion or urgency.

More examples of interjections in sentences:

  • Oi! Tell that man to stop immediately.
  • Indeed! That was quite the vacation.

Particle in Grammar

Nov 27th 2019


In grammar, a particle is a range of words that fall outside the traditional eight parts of speech – noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, preposition, adverb, interjection, conjunction, yet there is no doubt about its value in language.

So, what is a particle in English? The best way to look at it is as a function word, or word that must be associated with another to give meaning. An example would be the ‘to’ in the verb ‘to run’. Although to can be used as a preposition, with verbs like to run, to love, or to talk, it acts as something called an infinitive marker, and it doesn’t really have any meaning on its own. The broad term for words like this is particle.

What is a Particle in a Sentence?

In most cases, particles are prepositions used in conjunction with another word to form phrasal (multi-word) verbs. Words like in, off, up, by, along, down, forward, under (all prepositions) can be particles, as can the previously discussed word, to, when used as the infinitive marker.

An example of a particle in a sentence:

  • He ate up all his dinner.

In this sentence up is a particle. Why? Because the word up is not functioning as a traditional part of speech. Yes, up can be used as a preposition, adverb or adjective, but in this case, it is not quite doing that. Up in this example is acting as an adverb particle as part of a phrasal verb. We will discuss the role of adverb particles in a later section.

Particle Examples

Let’s look at some examples of particles in sentences, beginning first with the adverb particles that form phrasal verbs:

  • Sassy went away on a long trip.
  • We will talk over the problem.
  • Jimmy started out with sixty dollars.

Next some examples of to as a particle when used as the infinitive marker (notice how to is used as a particle and preposition in the first example):

  • I wanted to go to the movies.
  • Helen hopes to decide on her future soon.
  • We are not going to go along with this any longer.

Next some examples of discourse particles:

  • Now, who would like some dinner?
  • I was told I would be fired. Well, I will not accept that without a fight!

Please note that discourse particles are more likely to be part of speech than writing. In addition, it could be argued that discourse particles fall under the banner of interjections (words like oh, wow, hey).

Finally, the word not, which is termed a negative particle

  • We will not travel to Paris this summer.
  • The president does not have that authority.

Adverb Particle

The most common particles you will come across are those words that are mainly used as prepositions, but which become adverb particles when combined with a verb. For example:

  • The project was moving along at a steady rate.

Along is the adverb particle in this sentence, joining with move to form the phrasal verb move along. It is almost unnecessary to use along in the example, and we could still fully understand the meaning of the sentence without it. So, why use particles in English at all? Grammarians don’t often agree on the reasons for these things, but it’s enough to say that these phrasal verbs that use adverb particles have become more common over time. It might seem unnecessary to have them, but language would be a lot less fun if we didn’t.

Moreover, we can also argue that adverbial particles do, in fact, give some meaning to the sentences. Looking back at a previous example:

  • He ate up all his dinner.

Without the adverb particle the sentence would look like this:

  • He ate all his dinner.

Are both those sentences truly the same? One might argue that ate up is a little stronger and more visual than ate. The difference is subtle – very subtle. However, it underlines a point on which grammar specialists do agree; namely, that particles are “discrete entities”, i.e. they perform very subtle roles in a sentence, but their usage adds flavour and meaning.

We should, however, be clear that some adverb particles do give very important context as part of a phrasal verb, without which the phrase would make no sense. For example:

  • The airplane took off at 3am precisely.

Took off is a phrasal verb meaning to become airborne. Without the adverb particle off, the sentence, the airplane took at 3am precisely, would be nonsensical.

How Many Particles Are in English?

Because many prepositions can be used as adverb particles, we can say that there are dozens of English particles. However, we can break them down into these categories:

  • Grammatical particles – the infinitive marker to.
  • Adverb particles – prepositions that combine with verbs to form phrasal verbs.
  • Discourse particles – words like now and well that are used like interjections.
  • Negative particle – the word not.

And a final note: The words yes and no are sometimes described as grammatical particles as they do not fit into the eight parts of speech. The debate rages over this, as some grammarians argue that they are interjections. However, this issue feeds into a (friendly) criticism often aimed at grammarians; namely, that all the words they can’t easily categorize, they lump together and call them particles.

Complex Sentence Examples & Definition

Nov 25th 2019

What Is a Complex Sentence?

A complex sentence is a sentence that contains one independent and at least one dependent clause (sometimes called a subordinate clause). An independent clause is a phrase that would make sense if it were a sentence on its own, whereas a dependent clause will not form a sentence on its own. When these two types of clauses appear in a sentence, we create a complex sentence.

Consider this example:

  • I like to eat the candy before I watch a movie.

“I like to eat the candy” is an independent clause as it would make a complete sentence on its own.

“Before I watch a movie” is a dependent clause, as it doesn’t make a complete sentence on its own. It is ‘dependent’ on the first clause for the phrase to make sense.

Complex Sentence Definition

The definition of a complex sentence is a sentence that contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

Examples of Complex Sentences

In the examples of complex sentences below, the dependent clause comes first. Notice that the dependent clause begins with a subordinating conjunction (words like since, because, while) and that the clauses are separated by a comma:

  • Because he was late again, he would be docked a day’s pay.
  • While I am a passionate basketball fan, I prefer football.
  • Although she was considered smart, she failed all her exams.
  • Whenever it rains, I like to wear my blue coat.

In the complex sentence examples shown below, the independent clause comes first. Notice that in most examples there is no separation of the clauses by a comma, which is the general rule in complex sentences starting with an independent clause. However, the last example has a comma as it is an example of an extreme contrast. This extreme contrast refers to the clauses expressing ideas that are almost opposite in meaning or that must be heavily emphasized.

  • Having a party is a bad idea because the neighbors will complain.
  • I am extremely happy since I retired.
  • The dog jumped on his lap while he was eating.
  • Annie was still crying, although she had been happy about the news.

Independent and Dependent Clauses

We have mentioned several times that a complex sentence contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. But what are clauses in a sentence? And why are they important in grammar?

Let’s look back at the earlier example of a complex sentence:

  • I like to eat candy before I watch a movie.

As we stated earlier, “I like to eat candy” is an independent clause. It makes sense as a standalone sentence.  “Before I watch a movie” does not make sense on its own. However, let’s tweak the sentence a bit:

  • I like to eat candy candy, but I don’t like to eat popcorn.

The sentence now contains two independent clauses, as “I like to eat candy” and “I don’t like to eat popcorn” could both form complete sentences. The example has now become a compound sentence, i.e. one that contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (but).

However, there is an important distinction to be made when a subordinating conjunction is added to a clause. These words – such as since, whenever, although, because – act to make a clause a dependent clause, even if it looks like an independent clause.

  • I like to eat candy (independent clause – makes sense on its own).
  • Because I like to eat candy (dependent clause – does not make sense on its own without more information).

Common Complex Sentence Examples

As we have seen with the previous examples, the structure for a complex sentence essentially looks like this:

  • Dependent Clause + Independent Clause (comma splits the clause)
  • Independent Clause + Dependent Clause (comma usually does not split the clause)

So, using that structure we can easily form examples of complex sentences:

  • Despite her advancing years, Elesa was still the best player on the team.
  • Elesa was still the best player on the team despite her advancing years.
  • Since Hannah got here, she’s been nothing but trouble.
  • Hannah has been nothing but trouble since she got here.

You should also be aware that a complex sentence can contain more than one dependent clause. Here are some examples of those types of complex sentences:

  • Because I was often late, and since I was always forgetting things, I was regarded as a scatterbrain by my friends.
  • Although the war ended, and as people tend to have short memories, the city’s people were still divided over its impact.

Complex Sentences from Literature

Below are some quotes from that classic books that can be considered complex sentences:

  • Because he was so small, Stuart was often hard to find around the hou
    E.B White – Stuart Little
  • I’ve never any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.”
    George Eliot – The Mill on the Floss
  • “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
    John Steinbeck — East of Eden

The 4 Types of Sentence Structure

A complex sentence is, of course, just one type of sentence we can use in writing. The four types of sentence are discussed below:

  1. Complex Sentence

As we have mentioned, a complex sentence is one with an independent clause and at least one dependent clause.


  • Whenever he was lonely, Lance called his mother.
  1. Compound Sentence

A compound sentence is one with two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, but, and, nor, or, yet, so).


  • I was born in the United States, yet I consider myself Canadian.
  1. A Simple Sentence

A simple sentence is one with only one independent clause and no dependent clauses.


  • David drives carefully to work in the morning.
  1. A Compound-Complex Sentence

A compound-complex sentence is one with at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

  • Jim doesn’t drink beer because he has a gluten allergy, so he tends to drink wine most weekends.

Subordinating Conjunctions

There are dozens of subordinating conjunctions in English, and their usage is intrinsically linked to dependent (subordinate) clauses.

Common examples of subordinating conjunctions include: After, before, even though, although, as much as, when, whenever, because, as long as, while, since. These words and phrases act as modifiers to a sentence, sometimes changing the phrase from an independent clause to a dependent clause.

There are two main ways to think about subordinating clauses:

  • A word or phrase that introduces a dependent clause.
  • A word or phrase that links an independent and dependent clause.

Using Subordinate Clauses in Complex Sentences

As we mentioned earlier, a subordinate clause is another way of terming a dependent clause. Both words, subordinate and dependent, offer clues to help us better understand the function of these clauses in writing. Dependent means contingent on or determined by, whereas subordinate means lower in rank or position. That tells us that – grammatically speaking – subordinate/dependent clauses are not equal to the independent clause in a sentence.

The independent clause and subordinate clause are not equal because the latter cannot form a sentence on its own. The subordinate clause is, as such, dependent on the independent clause to provide the complete meaning.

You cannot create a complex sentence without using a subordinate clause in it. Other types of sentences – compound sentences, simple sentences – can exist without subordinate clauses. When you think about it, the subordinate clause is what makes the sentence ‘complex’. The subordinate clause requires the help of the independent clause for it to make sense. It reaches back or forward across the sentence to contextualize itself, making the sentence more ‘complex’ in the process.

How to Write a Job Description That Will Bring Talent to Your Company

Oct 28th 2019

Guest post written by Sienna Walker.

New to HR?

Great companies require great employees to thrive and grow. Frankly, a business cannot reach its full potential unless it has a team of reliable and passionate superstars. That’s why good companies often go the extra mile to retain the best employees, offering flexible working hours, better salaries, and other benefits. If the company is able to keep top talent, it won’t need to hire very often, and the combined skill and experience of its employees will see it grow in no time. However, before a company can hope to retain superstar employees, it first has to find and attract them through well-written job descriptions.

A great job description is a lot like a marriage proposal – you want someone wonderful to first get attracted to you and finally say “yes”. This can sometimes be difficult, especially since you don’t know who you’re proposing to. Top talent, like a wonderful spouse, is looking for everything that would satisfy them in a long-term relationship. The perfect job description will demonstrate that your company is the perfect suitor.

If you are currently trying to find top talent to help your company reach the new levels, make sure to follow these simple steps to make your job description truly outstanding:

Proofread Everything

Highly talented candidates will have high expectations of a potential employer. After all, they might have spent years, if not decades in this particular business niche. They know their worth. They know that they’re on point. If there are typos, grammatical errors, and redundant sentences in your job description, they’re going to notice. Make sure it looks perfect before you post it. A highly qualified candidate may interpret small errors as red flags – if the company can’t even get the job description right, what’s it going to be like to work there? Perfect presentation is appealing to neat, orderly, and efficient people. Isn’t that exactly what you want from your employees?

Include Photos or Videos

Top talent doesn’t want a “good enough” job. Top talent wants an exciting career. You, on the other hand, want potential great employees to feel compelled to send in resumes. You want them giving you a follow up call the second they leave the interview. Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can explain in words. Pictures and videos can capture the essence of things in a way plain text or a conversation cannot, making your job descriptions stand out among the competition.

Include a short video snippet of a fun meeting. Show pictures of Bring Your Pet to Work Day. Make your workplace look engaging and stimulating. Anyone can write about it, but the proof is always in the pictures.

Talk About Company Culture

Highly talented employees choose to work with a company (especially for the long haul) when they understand and love the company culture. Emphasize that as much as possible. Even if the salary and the benefits don’t quite stack up to those offered by the competitor, a stronger culture may be enough to attract and keep the top talent in your company.

Talk about the way the person hired for the job will integrate with everyone else. Focus on how everyone comes together. Speak about work responsibilities, but also about social, charitable, and bonding activities that everyone is a part of. Help your potential new star talents see themselves thriving in the environment your company creates.

Mention All the Good Things (Besides the Salary)

Keep salary open to negotiation – especially if you know your company may not be able to match your competitor. Focus on everything else you offer. What does your employee recognition program look like? Do you offer scholarship reimbursement or assistance with furthering education? Do you let employees work from home? Are there travel opportunities or flexible scheduling options? These perks can be worth more than a salary to people who prefer work life balance or people who have growing ambitions.

Talented people became talented because they explore their ideas, passions, and creative interest. If you can give them space to continue learning and exploring, you’re going to be the greatest employer they could ever ask for. You don’t even have to explain why these special perks are great – talented candidates will know immediately.

Show Room for Growth

Highly qualified candidates have no intention of working in the mail room forever. They may realize that they’ll need to take a lower level position when they’ve just started working with the company, but they also want to know that they aren’t going to get trapped there for years. Explain the career ladder and opportunities for advancement in the job description. Show them that the initial position can easily be a stepping stone to the place where they really want to be. You may also choose to mention lateral moves, depending on the nature of the position you’re describing.

Highly talented people will always look for a few core things in a job description. If you set the stage properly, they’ll be happy to perform. Measure your descriptions against your competitors, make something better, and see the incredible resumes start pouring in.

About author:
Sienna Walker is a career expert, writing about things connected to employment, self-improvement, and job satisfaction. Sienna is also a well-established blogger and is often found online, sharing her tips and ideas with job-seekers and employees.


Personification Definition & Examples

Oct 3rd 2019


What is Personification?

The definition of personification is the attribution of human characteristics to something non-human. Technically, personification is a type of metaphor that is used as a literary tool to make writing more interesting and vibrant. Yet, while personification can be used for stylistic purposes, it can also help the reader better understand a description.

When we say attribute human characteristics, we mean almost anything that can be related to humans: body parts, organs, senses, emotions, actions, thoughts and so on. And, by something non-human, we mean anything that is not a person: trees, animals, buildings, seasons, countries and anything else you can possibly think of.

Personification can be very simple, such as using the word she as a pronoun for a ship, or it can be more stylized and complicated. Below is an example of personification used from a passage of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream:

The moon, methinks, looks with a wat’ry eye; And when she weeps, weeps every little flower, Lamenting some enforced chastity” 

Consider how many human qualities have been attributed to the non-human elements in the passage: The moon is using the human sense of sight, the action of crying and has been given an eye. The flowers are also given the human action of crying, as well as the emotion of lamentation.

Personification Examples

The personification definition can be best understood with examples. Below is a selection of original examples of personification:

  • The houses lined the street, silently watching the people walk by.
  • Winter shook its chilly head and plotted snowy destruction outside.
  • Thunder screamed and lightning danced in the sky.
  • That last beer in the fridge just called my name.
  • The car grinded to a halt; its engine giving out with a final sigh of resignation.
  • The table stubbornly refused to move from its spot.
  • The stars dutifully saluted the coming night.
  • Frost coldly embraced the trees and hedges.
  • France was calling her troops home from war.
  • The candlelight stretched and yawned, and then burst into life.
  • The wind held its breath for a second, then bellowed around our ears again.
  • The sunflowers nodded their heads in the gentle breeze.
  • The bread jumped excitedly out of the toaster.
  • He was not the type of man to fail to answer when opportunity knocked on the door.
  • The statues gazed solemnly at each other across the vast museum.
  • Dawn was peeping timidly over the mountain tops.
  • Each morning my alarm clock yells at me.
  • Those red roses were certainly an unhappy bed of flowers.
  • Cigarettes and alcohol controlled his early life.
  • The hands of justice will grab you, eventually.
  • Tokyo is always awake and untiring.
  • The streets tricked people into believing they were straight.
  • His happiness died that morning with the news.
  • The ship skipped across the waves, knowing she was near her home port.
  • The team was crying out for some new players.
  • The kebab definitely didn’t agree with his stomach.

Purpose of Personification

Why do we use personification in writing?
The easy answer is that it is a matter of style; after all, personification is widely used in poetry and literature.
However, it also helps us understand things better by the process of adding human qualities to them.
Consider that the practice of personification has been carried out by humans for as long as we have been able to communicate through language.

For example, ancient Greeks and Romans used to endow things like rivers, mountains, weather, the sea and the stars with human qualities; albeit, they imagined them as deities.
The Greeks and Romans did this because, among other reasons, it helped them understand the world around them.
While today we know why the wind blows or why a volcano erupts, you can appreciate how these ancient people chose to describe natural events in human terms – because it makes it is easier to understand them.
Modern language can work in the same way. Personification can help bring language to life in a way that we recognize and identify with, and that helps us understand it better.

Transition Words & Phrases

Oct 3rd 2019



Transition words and phrases are an important part of the English language. They are used to connect words and sentences, often by referring back to one idea and signaling the introduction of a new one. Transition words can also help a passage of writing flow better, although it is best not to overuse them.

Consider the example:

  • James did not go to the movies. He visited his grandparents instead.

The transition word in the above example is instead. It links the two sentences together by referring back to the first sentence and signaling that an alternative idea has been introduced.

Consider the example without the transition word:

  • James did not go to the movies. He visited his grandparents.

The lack of a link between the two sentences leaves things a bit vague. We do not explicitly know that the two sentences are related, whereas the previous example shows that James visited his grandparents as an alternative to going to the movies.

There are 100s of transition words and phrases in English. Indeed, because of the evolution of language over time, new transition phrases can appear all the time. Often transition words are conjunctive adverbs – words like however, also, indeed, instead, still, therefore – or phrases containing conjunctive adverbs, conjunctions and adverbs. The point is that transition words cover a wide variety of language, but it’s more important to recognize their function rather than categorize them.

When to Use Transition Words?

Fundamentally, we use transition words to connect sentences and words together. They often refer back to the previous sentence or words within a sentence, and let the reader know that there is some related or new information on its way. There are different types of transition words and phrases, and not all of them have this simplistic explanation for their use.

Consider the passage below, and notice the highlighted transition words and phrases:

I do not like dairy products very much, particularly cheese. However, I make an exception for ice cream, especially chocolate ice cream. Indeed, ice cream is probably my favorite thing to eat. Admittedly, I am also aware that ice cream is very fattening, not to mention full of sugar. In other words, ice cream isn’t very healthy. Nevertheless, life is too short to worry about these things. With this in mind, I will continue to eat ice cream every day. I may end up overweight, of course. On balance, this is a price I am willing to pay for delicious – especially chocolate – ice cream.

Can you see how the transition words and phrases stitch the fabric of the passage together? They act as signals by referring to the previous sentence and introducing new ideas in the next, or by referring back to previous information in the same sentence and changing the emphasis of it. Normally, transition words and phrases help a passage of writing flow better, but it’s also recommended not to use too many transition words, as it can make the writing a bit confusing or heavy. As an example, the passage above arguably uses too many transitional words and phrases from a stylistic standpoint and would be easier to read with fewer transtions.

Types of Transition Words

As we mentioned, transition words are normally used to link words and sentences by referring back to one idea and introducing a new one. However, transition words do this in a variety of ways. With that in mind, let’s break down the different types of transition words into categories based on the way they link words together.

Here are some of the main ways transition words are used:

To introduce a new idea or opposite point of view:

  • But, while, conversely, however, nevertheless, yet, instead, nonetheless, although, though, even though, incidentally.
    • I went to his house hoping to find him; yet, he was not there.
    • They told her they weren’t happy with her designs, but she nevertheless resolved to go on.

To introduce a conclusion:

  • Finally, so, as, therefore, thus, consequently, in conclusion, since, as such, finally, subsequently.
    • Finally, the choir began singing.
    • Since that is the case, we have no choice but to resign.

To introduce a list or point out a sequence of events:

  • First, second, third, firstly, secondly, first of all, last of all, finally, lastly, after that, until, including, next.
    • We go to Paris this Sunday. After that, Rome.
    • First of all, let me tell you what happened. Then you can decide.

To admit a concession:

  • Of course, admittedly, even so, naturally, alas.
    • There is another way to do it, of course.
    • Admittedly, it was my biggest mistake.

To add emphasis or additions.

  • Likewise, in addition, furthermore, also, additionally, moreover, indeed, namely, in fact, for the most part, as a matter of fact.
    • David, Benjamin and Ellie laughed. Indeed, even Daniel found it funny.
    • For the most part, the kids in the classroom kept quiet.

To introduce clauses and conditions:

  • On the condition that, in light of, in order to, provided that, whenever, while, as long as.
    • You can go, as long as you are back by midnight.
    • Whenever you return, lock the door after you.

The above just shows a small selection of different transition words and phrases, but there are many more words and phrases used in this way. It can also be somewhat confusing, because sometimes the words on the list above can be used in a sentence without it being a transition word.

Consider these two sentences:

  • Despite nerves, Donna came first in the race. (First is not a transition word in this sentence.)
  • To win a race, first you must believe you can win.  (First is a transition word in this sentence.)

Examples of Transition Words

Below are some more examples of transition words in sentences:

  • The Queen is the UK’s Head of State. Additionally, she is also the Head of State for Australia.
  • We were hungry. However, because the kitchen was already closed, we didn’t eat until morning.
  • One doesn’t need to attend college. There are, in fact, many ways to obtain knowledge.
  • She was very tired. Indeed, she hadn’t slept for weeks.
  • In light of recent weather events, the show will be cancelled.
  • Finally, the car came to a skidding halt.
  • You should go to the conference. Likewise, Bill and Caren should go too.
  • It’s obvious you don’t want me here. As a result, I have decided I will leave tomorrow.
  • We are German citizens. But we are also citizens of Europe.
  • He lowered his voice, as if to underline the seriousness of the matter.
  • Monkeys groom each other in order to build relationships.
  • Michael and Sarah are here. I was chatting with them earlier, as a matter of fact.

Why are Transition Words Important?

Without transition words and phrases, language would be somewhat stiff. They sew words and sentences together, helping them flow better by acting as a link to what was previously stated in the passage. Yet, they are more than that, they act as signals in writing to show shifts in ideas, tone and emphasis, and introduce conclusions, sequences and contradictions.

The key to understanding them lies in the name itself: Transition words. Transition means change, and these words indicate that there has been a change or that a change is forthcoming. This change could be subtle, like a shift in emphasis, or more obvious, like the offering of a contrary idea or conclusion, but transition words, nevertheless, act as a signal for that change. In the end, this is important because it gets to the root of how we understand language, as these transition words act like bridges through words, sentences and meaning.

Translators Say That Translating Poor Grammar is One of the Worst Parts of the Job

Sep 2nd 2019

Guest post written by Bernadine Racoma


A translator’s job is to provide an accurate translation of the information from the source language into the target language. If that document was written well, then the translation process, usually, goes smoothly. However, what do you do if the original document contains grammatical mistakes that are just too obvious to ignore? Is it all right to translate poor grammar in the context of the translation being a mirror image of the original?

What a Recent Study Reveals

Professional language service provider Day Translations, Inc. recently conducted a survey of 400 translators. The study revealed that 28.2% of translators declared translating bad grammar as one of the hardest parts of their job.

For these translators, 29.4% said, translating highly technical terminology is the most difficult. Another 16.2% of the respondents found it difficult to translate proverbs and puns, due to their cultural dependency, making them difficult to adapt to other cultures.

The quality of a company’s presence online is very critical today as the availability of information, the efforts of competition and the degree of knowledge of the global community have a direct effect on the credibility and reputation of the company.

Why Grammar and Spelling Matter

You might think that people are just happy to find information about the company or product they seek online. However, many viewers do notice if there are grammatical or spelling errors found in a particular website. Many people voice their opinion that they are less likely to purchase products from a company whose website contains errors. It’s proof that the credibility of the company decreases in relation to its oversight, as it shows that they do not care much about their customers, much less about their company. It’s a sign of unprofessionalism on the part of the company, which also indicates that they are less likely to provide quality products or services.

Likewise, a badly translated website, for example translated from a foreign language into English, will suffer the same repercussions. It’s typical for most people to associate quality with things that are visible. Therefore, when they see a badly written or poorly translated website, it’s a normal reaction to think that the products or services the company offers are also of low quality.

Two Points of View

Some cultures believe that goods manufactured in other countries are superior to local products. At the same time, some cultures have an open mistrust about goods coming from abroad. In the case of the latter, local consumers associate poor translation on the company’s website or the mistake-prone information they gather from the site to further boost their mistrust on the company and its products. It is confounding, since many of these people may also be bad in grammar and spelling themselves.

The reality is that they expect company websites to be factual and correct, and to have impeccably written content. It’s an extension of their expectation that products, especially those coming from developed countries, should be superior – in features, ingredients and benefits, as well as packaging.

Importance of Correct Grammar and Spelling

We live in a global society which is viewed as having evolved into something better and more integrated over time. People are more educated and are inundated with technological advancements that assist them in making information readily available to consumers throughout the world via Internet connection.

Smartphones and other mobile communication devices are ubiquitous today. The continuous growth of Internet services and the availability of mobile devices should push businesses to seize every opportunity to create awareness about their products and services and to help improve the knowledge of customers. This can be done by creating and providing consumers with proper, factually and grammatically correct information.

Why is this important?

A potential customer only spends a few minutes perusing a website to find the information he or she is looking for. In those few precious minutes, the website or its content must make a good impression. If the content is full of spelling and grammatical errors, the potential customer is likely to dismiss your site.

Your online presence is critical in ensuring global business success. Make sure that it is designed to be user friendly, and have a creative content and correctly written text. For sites, targeting speakers of other languages, see to it that it is handled by an accurate translator, preferably a native speaker, so that the adaptation of your original content into other languages is grammatically correct, as well as culturally appropriate.

Always keep in mind that global competition is fierce so you should ensure that you present yourself in a professional and favorable light at all times. Every customer looks for professional service no matter what they want to purchase. Therefore, putting linguistics to good use is a vital part of the process.


About author:
Bernadine Racoma, senior content writer at Day Translations, Inc. is passionate about learning different cultures. Working for an international organization opened her eyes to diversity early on. That and her numerous overseas trips give her plenty of inspiration to write articles with so much depth.



What are Metaphors?

Aug 7th 2019

Definition of Metaphor

A metaphor is a word or phrase that describes something in a way that isn’t literally true yet works to help our understanding by way of providing comparison. A metaphor refers to someone or something to show that they are alike. Sometimes we refer to metaphors as figures of speech, meaning they should not be understood in a literal sense but are instead used to explain something in a more vivid way. In fact, at times a metaphor could be an object (in the non-linguistic sense) used as a symbol to explain something else. Metaphors are often used in poetry and literature, but they also play an important role in everyday language, adding both color and context to speech.

Of course, the best way to understand the metaphor definition is to see some examples:

  • This bedroom is a pigsty. The bedroom is not literally a pigsty (a pen or enclosure for pigs), but the metaphor is used to stress how untidy or dirty it is.
  • The wheels of justice turn slowly. They aren’t literal wheels, but the metaphor serves to illustrate that justice, normally in a legal sense, can take time.
  • Dad is my rock. Nobody is literally a rock, but the metaphor is used to convey that a person is solid, dependable.
  • Tim is an animal in the courtroom. Tim is not really an animal, but the metaphor is used to convey that he is wild and aggressive when he is in court.
  • Molly is up to her neck in paperwork. Molly isn’t really covered in papers, but the metaphor is showing that she has a lot of work to complete.
  • The movie Wall Street is a metaphor for the extreme greed of the 1980s. This sentence is not itself a metaphor, but serves to highlight that an object, like a film or painting, can be interpreted as one.

Types of Metaphors

Language experts will often argue as to how many different types of metaphors exist, with up to 15 sometimes cited. However, we can whittle it down to three main areas – direct metaphors, implied metaphors and sustained (extended) metaphors. The first two, direct and implied, are much more common in everyday language than sustained metaphors.

Direct Metaphors

Direct metaphors are used in comparisons, basically saying that one thing is another thing. They are perhaps the easiest to spot and understand in a sentence.

  • Those children are angels. The children are well-behaved.
  • Congress is a circus show. Congress is unruly, dramatic.
  • My mother is a lioness. My mother is strong and protective.

Implied Metaphors

Implied, or indirect, metaphors do not explicitly say that one thing is another, but they hint at a connection in a subtler way than direct metaphors.

  • The witness crumbled under the pressure of giving testimony. A person wouldn’t literally crumble, but the metaphor is used to create an image of falling apart – like a cookie, something brittle – to stress the difficulty of the situation and how the witness fell apart.
  • The sergeant barked orders at the troops. A person wouldn’t literally bark like a dog, but the metaphor indirectly compares the sergeant to a dog to create an image of sharp, abrupt commands.
  • Julie sailed confidently across the dancefloor. The implied metaphor uses the verb sail to give the subject smooth, boat-like qualities, hinting at grace, speed and poise.

Extended Metaphors

Extended metaphors are more common in poetry and literature than everyday speech. As you might expect, they are often comprised of more than one sentence, perhaps encompassing an entire paragraph or passage. One of the most famous extended metaphors is Shakespeare’s ‘world’s a stage’ metaphor at the end of The Tempest. In the metaphor, Shakespeare makes several metaphorical references to life being a play, and thus the passage itself becomes an extended or sustained metaphor.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”

Dead Metaphors

Dead metaphors are phrases that have become so commonplace that the imagery they used to create no longer has any impact. In fact, some academics claim dead metaphors are not metaphors at all, such is the loss of their imagery and visual impact.

  • It’s raining cats and dogs. A common phrase meaning it’s raining heavily. It’s been so frequently used that the imagery of falling animals is no longer important.
  • He has kicked the bucket. A once gruesome metaphor to convey that someone had died, with the bucket falling over referencing hanging. Now the phrase has become so commonplace, although it’s still a crude reference to death, that we no longer think of the imagery of its origins.

Mixed Metaphors

Special mention should be made of mixed metaphors, which aren’t really metaphors, but linguistic errors made by confusing and combining more than one metaphor. Mixed metaphors are often comprised of dead metaphors, and can be, somewhat ironically, celebrated in modern pop culture.

  • “Labour are fighting like rats in a barrel”. Spoken by a UK member of Parliment in 2014, it seems to confuse the metaphors of rats fleeing a sinking ship and shooting fish in a barrel and comes up with a sentence with an unclear meaning.

Simile vs. Metaphor

There is often some confusion over the difference between similes and metaphors. In short, a simile is a type of metaphor that uses the words like or as to compare things. Metaphors, as we have seen above, can directly state a comparison or imply a comparison, but similes use like or as to compare two or more things.

Examples of similes:

  • He is as strong as an ox.
  • Jamie ran, swift like the wind, across the field.
  • Your words cut like a knife.
  • The boys laughed like hyenas.

Examples of Metaphors

The beauty of metaphors is that they are limitless in number. Indeed, it’s important to understand that metaphors are not just established sayings or idioms. New metaphors are created all the time and those created by you or I are just as valid as those created in established literature and linguistics, and maybe even Shakespeare! However, here are some more examples of metaphors:

Direct metaphors

  • Those boys are little imps.
  • My brain is a computer.
  • She is a delicate flower.
  • This job is a prison.
  • He is a monster.

Implied metaphors

  • The cogs whirred in her mind until she found the answer.
  • The defense crouched behind the quarterback, snarling and bearing their fangs.
  • Mom buzzed around the kitchen getting things ready for the party.
  • The kids chirped in delight.
  • The flowers danced in the wind.

The Cost of Poor Writing in Business (and What Management Can Do About It)

Jul 25th 2019

Guest post written by Carol Duke.


Let’s face it: Poor writing is costing your business BIG time.

 Writing is a vital skill that can be applied to many areas in our life. But how exactly does it impact the success of your business?

In this day and age, where most people are communicating in 140 characters or less, you tend to become counter-culture if you can actually write, which, by the way,  is a great advantage. But this lack of formality can come at a heavy price. With frequent use of emojis and text-speak, writing skills are declining at an incredibly fast pace.

Businesses aren’t immune to this trend. Bad writing – one that’s exceedingly informal, vague, or riddled with meaningless jargon, has made its way into the workforce as well. In a business context, it’s essential to have a firm control of the way we express our message.

What is the cost of poor writing in your business?

According to an article published by the Harvard Business Review, bad business writing is “a hidden source of friction that is slowing your company down”.

For the first three months of 2016, the survey targeted businesspersons who wrote at least 2 hours per week, including writing emails. These individuals spent an average of 25.5 hours a week reading for work – about a third of which was email.

Of the 547 businesspersons surveyed, 81% agreed that poorly written content wastes a lot of their time. Many admit that what they read is often ineffective because it’s too long, very poorly organized, unclear and imprecise, and filled with technical jargon.

Instead of speeding up communication, a poorly written email, business proposal or instruction memo slows down productivity, and confuses the content of the message. In turn, the time spent to work out the true meaning of a badly written message means:

  • Additional expenses
  • Unfinished/incomplete work
  • Missed due dates
  • Additional costs that are mostly avoidable

Poor Business Writing: What You Can Do About It

Write Clearly and Accurately

 Fuzzy writing leads to fuzzy thinking. Inaccurate and passive language facilitates gaps in thinking. On the other hand, clear writing makes use of organized, active-voice sentences that effectively explain what’s happening, what’s about to happen, and what the team needs to do.

There are two advantages to using clear, direct, and active language. Firstly, it forces writers to carefully think through the message they want to convey and the arguments they can use to support it. Secondly, it makes the smart writers stand out. If you value clarity in writing, clear thinkers will surely rise to the top!

The good news is that you and your employees can learn better writing strategies in less time. For example, if you’re planning to create a website or a brochure for your business, you may want to use the service of a consultant or copywriter to work on your written material. You can check out various top writing service reviews for expert help.

Make a Good First-Impression

 Falling victim to spelling and grammatical errors is an easy way for customers to discount the credibility of your business. You can’t always rely on built-in spell check features as a lot of companies don’t have an in-house editor. This makes it all the more important to proofread your content at all times.

In business, first impressions always matters. You need to make sure you come across as a professional. Yes, you need to grab their attention, but you’ll also want to earn their respect. The use of correct grammar, appropriate spelling, and proper use of punctuation goes a long way in boosting the confidence of a person (and the company itself).

Increase Productivity Through Better Writing

As mentioned earlier, it takes employers more time to read through and understand poor business writing – about 25.5 hours weekly on average. Just imagine what your company could do if you reclaim even just 2% of that lost time.

For example, if you have 500 people on your team, they would have over 250 hours free every week to dedicate to more productive activities.

A lot of businesses rely heavily on written materials (i.e. memos, emails, proposals) among employees. With proper grammar and spelling usage, your workforce will understand instructions better. This avoids any unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding about what’s expected of them.

The result? Less time wasted trying to figure out poorly written content and more time spent doing their job. What’s more, better writing can help establish harmonious relationships between colleagues, thanks to better communication!

Good writing means a writer is able to craft a message that’s not just attention-grabbing, but clear and interesting, as well. A well-written message stands out, boosts the company’s productivity, and establishes a trustworthy reputation. With good writing, customers and prospects are more likely to trust a business that’s able to communicate clearly and correctly.


Equally so, employees in-charge of communications are expected to be proficient in their job. Therefore, it makes sense for them to be provided with proper training and support.

About author:
A lecturer for over a decade, Carol Duke continues to find modern ways of learning for her tech-savvy students. When not teaching, she shares her knowledge and expertise on education-related matters by freelancing and blogging. She is also working as a blog writer at IHateWritingEssays writing service review blog. Carol loves to travel and explore new places, and her favorite destination is Southeast Asia.