Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Christmas 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?



Ho, ho, ho. Today’s Editing for Grammarphobes deals with commonly misspelled or generally confusing words that we hear a lot this time of year. So grab your favorite holiday beverage—peppermint mocha, eggnog, or mulled wine will do just fine—and join me for an Editing for Grammarphobes Christmas.


Is it Season’s Greetings or Seasons Greetings?


This phrase is in the genitive case, which means it is a possessive, so the correct expression is season’s greetings.


‘Tis or t’is?


‘Tis is a contraction of it is. The apostrophe takes the place of the missing letters, so the correct form is ‘tis.


How do you spell the name of the red-flowered seasonal plant?


The traditional Christmas plant is called a poinsettia. Yes, there is an "i" near the end, which is seldom pronounced. I try to remember, but always end up saying “poinsetta” anyhow. Everyone does.


What is upsot?


The second verse of “Jingle Bells” is as follows.

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

What the heck does that mean?

Upsot is an alternate form of upset. It means to tip or overturn something. Wow! That Jingle Bells ride is crazier than I thought.


Happy New Year’s or Happy New Year?


The correct greeting is Happy New Year. The possessive should only be used when referring to New Year’s Eve.


Closing out 2016


This will be my last blog of the year. I’m going to take time off to hang out with my family.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. I wish you joy, peace, and love in the new year. xx






References


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




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The 'I's Have It




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, we continue our alphabet series with grammar issues and words that begin with the letter "I." 


In, into


In indicates location, according to the Associated Press Stylebook 2016, whereas into indicates motion. 

Examples

The bear was in the forest.
The bear walked into the cave. 


Incredible, incredulous


Incredible means unbelievable. The Chicago Manual of Style notes it used to colloquially mean astonishing, but I guess not anymore. 

Example

Brownie the bear caught a jumping fish mid-air in his mouth. Incredible!

How many of you learned what incredulous meant by reading any of  Harry Potter series? I sure did. Incredulous means disbelieving or skeptical and was often applied to Hermione Granger, one of my favorite characters. 

Example

Mama bear eyed Brownie incredulously after he told her his story.


Ingenious, ingenuous


CMS notes that while these words are similar in form, they are not in definition. "Ingenious describes what is intelligent, clever, and original." On the other hand, "ingenuous describes what is candid, naive, and without dissimulation," according to the manual.

Examples

The hunter set up his ingenious trap near the tree.
Brownie the bear chuckled at this ingenuous attempt and sauntered away unscathed.


In vitro fertilization


Notice there is no hyphen between in and vitro. This was something I had to be very aware of while writing my first novel, A Whisper to a Scream, when Annie and John decided to try a round of in vitro fertilization to see if they could conceive.


It's, its


It's is the contraction for it is. Its is the possessive form of it. 

Example

It's a well-known fact bears are intelligent, except for a professional football team that insists on keeping Jay Cutler on its roster.



References


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