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Grammar Quickie and Summer Break

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?




Here's a grammar quickie courtesy of The Associated Press Stylebook.

Who's, whose

Who's is a contraction for who is. It is not a possessive. Whose is the possessive. 

Examples

Who's there?
I do not know whose coat it is.



Off for the summer

This is my last Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 for a few months. I’m taking June through August off this year.

Both of my sons are headed off to university—one to undergrad in Texas and the other to graduate school in Scotland—and I'd like to spend as much time with them as I can before becoming an official empty nester. Besides, there’s a lot to do to help get them ready for these next stages in their lives. I want to ensure I don’t miss a thing. 

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 will return in October. 

I hope you all have a wonderful s…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Can or May?

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?




Do you remember being in elementary school and having to use the facilities? Making your way up to the teacher’s desk after waiting too long to begin with, crossing your legs in a futile attempt to stave off what could only be described as certain humiliation?
“Can I have the girls’ bathroom pass?”
The teacher looks up blankly at you. “I suppose you could.” And then goes back to grading papers without handing you anything.
You hop from foot to foot, pee pee dancing in utter disbelief.
The teacher sighs and puts down her red pen. “May I help you?”
Finally, the lightbulb goes on. “May I have the girls’ bathroom pass?”
“Yes, of course, dear.”
You rip the pass out of her hand and sprint down the hall.
It was an infuriating, but effective way to learn the difference between can and may.
A lot …

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Summer Fun

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER







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?


It is almost summertime in the United States, and the temperature is heating up in Chicagoland. But before it's time to hit the beach, let's talk about about some of the words associated with the season.


Summer

The word, summer, much like all of the seasonal names should not be capitalized unless the season is being personified, such as in poetry or a particularly lively piece of writing.

Examples

summer solstice
summer vacation
summer


Personification example

And Summer, with her sun beating down mercilessly and omnipresent mosquitoes...


Sunbathe

The word, sunbathe, should be one word, not split into two. This also goes for the verb forms of sunbathed and sunbathing.


Sun

When referring to the sun, keep it lowercase. The word is not a proper noun like other heavenly bodies, such a…

Who Couldn't Use a Few Laughs?

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?




I recently started a new freelance gig, and, unlike my previous two jobs, this one is solely editing. I'm still writing for Naperville magazine and a couple of other organizations, but I have to say, it feels good to be doing something a little different. Obviously editing is a large part of writing; some might say the most important part. But sometimes, it's nice to just edit someone else's words.

So, today I thought we would take a little break and have a few laughs. 

Enjoy!













I couldn't resist sneaking in this one for the classic lit bibliophile.





EFG Digest Love all the grammar tips, but don’t have time to check the blog every week? Subscribe to EFG Digest, a monthly recap of all of my Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 blog posts delivered to your inbox in one convenient…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: It's Academic

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER

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?





Graduation season is almost upon us. The first universities will bestow degrees upon their seniors this weekend and will keep going well into June.

But, how does one cite academic degrees and honors? What about the terms for academic years? Capitalized or not? And what's to be done with honorary degrees?

Before we tackle those questions, let's talk about high school.

The words for the four years of high school and college—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior—should be lowercased.

Examples

Joe Smith is a junior in high school.

Susie Jones completed her freshman year at Northwestern University.

When academic degrees are referred to in general terms, they should not be capitalized. Remember to use an apostrophe for bachelor’s and master’s.

Examples

Bob has a master’s degree i…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Subtle Differences

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



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’re going to discuss words that basically mean the same, but have subtle differences, like repellent and repulsive or contagious and infectious. These slight distinctions can elevate the quality of your writing.


Contagious, infectious

Contagious and infectious both basically describe a disease that is communicable, according to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). However, it notes that a “contagious disease spreads by direct contact with an infected person or animal,” while “an infectious disease is spread by germs on a contaminated object or element.”

Partly, partially

CMS explains that both “convey the sense ‘to some extent; in part,” such as in the phrase “partly responsible.” Partially “has the additional senses of ‘incompletely,’ as in 'partially cooked' and ‘u…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Was or Were?

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER




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?




“If I was...” or “If I were...” 

Which is correct?

After doing some research, I found it is a matter of subjunctive versus indicative mood. 

The subjunctive is used to express wishful thinking. 

The indicative should be used for statements of fact.


Example 

If I were president, I would invest in infrastructure.


If you have a hard time remembering this, think of “If I Were a Rich Man,” the famous song from the musical Fiddler on the Roof
Handy, right?


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References

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