The Editor's Manual
Grammar, usage, punctuation, and style resource for editors, writers, and learners of the English language.
Use “who” as a relative pronoun to link a description to the person it describes. “Who” is used not just for people but also animals with names. “Who” can replace “whom” in informal usage.
Use “a” or “an” before an abbreviation depending on how it is pronounced, not written. If it starts with a consonant sound, use a; if it starts with a vowel sound, use an (“a NATO member” but “an NFT”).
Use “which” to introduce a description. As a relative pronoun, “which” connects a relative clause to the noun it describes. Differences exist between American and British usage.
Use “that” as a relative pronoun in restrictive or defining clauses, which present information essential to meaning. Don’t use a comma before “that.”
Use “both” to refer to two people or things. “Both” and “both of” can sometimes be used interchangeably, but not always. Use parallel structure with “both–and.” No commas are needed around “both.”
A simple subject is the main word or phrase that a sentence is about. A complete subject is the simple subject and any words that modify or describe it.
Various grammatical forms can function as the subject in a sentence. The subject can be a noun phrase, a noun clause, or a prepositional phrase.
Use the correct form of the verb with singular and plural subjects. To ensure subject-verb agreement, identify the subject and check whether it is singular or plural. Some subjects may appear plural but be singular.
A compound subject is made up of two or more subjects that share the same predicate (“The dog and the cat sat on the rug”). Use pronouns and verbs correctly with compound subjects.
In a cleft sentence, a single thought is split into two parts to emphasize a specific element by moving it from its normal position into a position of focus (e.g., “It was in 2002 I graduated”).