Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Halloween Edition





Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



Boo! With Halloween right around the corner, today's Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 takes a decidedly dastardly turn to discuss spooky words and how to spell them. Happy Halloween, my friends.

Apparition


An apparition is an unusual or unexpected sight. It also can mean a ghostly figure. 

Bloodcurdling


Notice there is no hyphen for the word that means arousing fright. 

Cemetery


For years, I thought cemetery was spelled cemetary. Oh, the horror!

Frightening


With an "en" in the middle. I say "fright-ten-ing" when I'm typing it, so I don't forget.


Mausoleum


A mausoleum is a large, above-ground tomb. It also can be used to describe a large gloomy room or building. 

Here are some other Halloween posts you might enjoy.



















Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: 'F' It All






Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?


Today, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 deals with words starting with the letter "F." If you like to swear, raise your hand. Me, too, now that the kids are grown. It feels great. But not everyone shares my affinity. Whether you use profanity in your writing or not is a choice you have to make. It's probably not a good idea to use it in the business world, but for fiction writers, it's your call. 

Here are some other words that begin with "F."

Fallout


Fallout is one word. Never hyphenated. Never separated. 

Far, far away


Far-flung

Far-off
But farsighted.

Why? Who knows? English is a goofy language.

Fetus


In humans, fetus is the proper term from the eighth weeks of conception through birth. Those seven weeks before? The correct word is embryo.

Firefighter


I don't know if you know this or not, but I spent many wonderful years at a magazine called Fire Chief. I love the fire service, so don't mess this up. Please remember there are women firefighters, so the proper term for one who fights fires is firefighter, not fireman.

Flair, flare


AP states flair is a conspicuous talent or style. Flare is a noun that means a sudden bright light or burst of anger. It also can be the device used to produce such a flare, according to Webster's Dictionary.

Freelancer


Freelancer is always one word. So is freelance. It would be pretty embarrassing to muck these up, wouldn't it?

Tricky spellings


Fluorescent
Furlough
Fuselage



















Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: E is for Efficient





Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



Today's post deals with interesting grammar rules for words beginning with the letter "E."  For example, did you know that escalator used to be a trademarked word, but now is a generic term? Neither did I. 

Embarrass


I'm embarrassed at how many times I have to look this word up. It always appears on those "Top 25 Toughest Words to Spell" lists, and it's true. Every time I type it, it looks wrong. Same goes for embarrassing and embarrassment.

E-stuff


The AP Stylebook states no hyphen for email, but uses the hyphen for other "e" words, such as e-book, e-business, e-commerce, and e-reader.

Emigrate, immigrate


A person who leaves a country emigrates from it. One who comes into a country immigrates. Same goes for emigrant and immigrant

End user or end-user?


End user is a noun technology developers use to describe who is the audience for their products. The hyphenated end-user is the adjective form, like with end-user experience, according to AP.


Epidemic, pandemic


Every once in awhile, we hear about an epidemic, a rapidly spreading disease that affects a certain population or region. A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread worldwide.


References


These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2016 edition
The Chicago Manual of Style
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition
The Bugaboo Review: A lighthearted guide to exterminating confusion about words, spelling, and grammar






Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Birthday Edition




Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?


Since Friday is my birthday, this week's Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 is all about me—my biggest grammar pet peeves. I know I'm not perfect, something my old bones remind me of daily, but there are just some issues that drive me insane. You know. You feel the same way. So here are my Top Five Grammar Pet Peeves.

Unwittingly making plural things possessives

No matter how many times I rant about this, I still see people using an apostrophe "s" when all they want to do is make the word plural. A plain, old "s" is just fine and grammatically correct.

Example: 
Happy Holidays from the Smith's

From the Smith's WHAT? Using an apostrophe s connotes possession. It does not make a word plural. 

Graphic courtesy of See Furthest

Not using the Oxford comma

Sorry, AP Stylebook, but I LOVE my Oxford comma and cringe every time I have to leave it out. The Oxford comma (or serial comma) comes before the conjunction in a series. Using it makes the sentence more clear. This graphic from The Gloss shows why.




Adding an "s" to reindeer

The plural of reindeer is reindeer. I don't know why. It just is. Same goes for fish, moose, sheep, bison, buffalo, and plain, old deer. When I hear "All of the other reindeers..." in the Rudolph song, this is how I feel. 

Photo by Maks Karochkin on Flickr.

Irregardless

I hear it's actually in some dictionaries, but I don't care. Irregardless is still not a legit word because it's a double negative. Regardless is correct.



Socialism and communism

Despite what certain members of the press and various politicians have said for the last eight years, socialism and communism are not the same. 

Socialism is “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective governmental ownership and administration of these means of production and distribution of goods” by the community as a whole.

Communism is “the governmental system which advocates the elimination of private property and in which all good are common and available as needed.”





Thank you. The rant is now over. Please continue with your regular activities. Enjoy your day.