Macmillan Library Presents: Tips from Grammar Girl #2

grammar girl cartoonGrammar goddess Mignon Fogarty (a.k.a. Grammar Girl) has agreed to teach us the proper way to talk to librarians about the books and genres we love. We'll be posting her monthly tips here on the blog. Take it away, Grammar Girl!

Ali, a sci-fi nerd from planet 645 asked, "I have trouble with verb tense in our present timeline, but when I time travel, I get especially confused. Can you help?"

Ah, the complexities of time travel. If you think the hazards of disrupting the space-time continuum are daunting, consider the grammar. Time travel requires some of the trickier tenses:

Simple Future

Tomorrow, I am going to be born. [going to + verb]

Future Progressive

The robots will already be waiting to kill me. [will be + present participle]

Past Perfect Progressive

Ali had been lying unconscious for three days before she was able to locate herself and surreptitiously attach the  beacon that would send her home. [had been + present participle]

Past Perfect

She had made this trip before, so she knew how it would work out. [had + past participle]

I hope that helps, Ali, and stay safe in the future. It can be a dangerous place.

Thank you, Grammar Girl! Unfortunately in my time traveling experience there's no such thing as a simple future or a perfect past, but one can always hope! 

See Grammar Girl's previous column in which she taught Talia how to talk about her favorite gory mysteries! Look for 101 TROUBLESOME WORDS YOU'LL MASTER IN NO TIME available now from St. Martin's Griffin. Visit her at

Also, we're giving away one full set of her latest Quick and Dirty Tips books (this set includes four signed(!) books and one unsigned audiobook). 


UPDATE: This contest is now closed.
The winner is Ramona L. Grimsley of the Berkeley County Library System!

Enter to win these signed books by sending your name, your library, and your full mailing address to (subject: Grammar Girl) by Monday, July 23rd.

This sweepstakes is open to librarians in the United States. More eligibility details below.

Entrants must be age 18 or older. No purchase necessary.

Entries must be received by Monday, July 23rd 2012 to be eligible. We will select the potential prize winner at random from among all eligible entries received. If a potential prize winner cannot be reached after three (3) business days, we will select an alternate winner, so check your email!

The winners grant Macmillan Library the right to announce their names on Twitter,, and any other platform we want to congratulate them on.

Please note: we can't guarantee that the books will all arrive in mint condition, but we will pack them with care!

10 thoughts on “Macmillan Library Presents: Tips from Grammar Girl #2

  1. And the winner is… Ramona L. Grimsley of the Berkeley County Library System!

    Congratulations to Ramona and thanks to everyone who entered!


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