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You Mean It's Not...?

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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?


Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Language is fluid. It evolves and changes as generations add their own words to the mix. Many people write like they speak, which causes trouble when certain statements have been uttered incorrectly. A word I have heard many people mispronounce is “acrost.” There is no such word as “acrost.” It is always across.




Watch out for these words or phrases in your writing.


Incorrect: Chester drawers.

Correct: Chest of drawers.


Chester drawers? Is he any relation to Chester Cheetah?


Incorrect: For all intensive purposes.

Correct: For all intents and purposes.


Incorrect: I could care less.

Correct: I couldn’t care less.

I bet if you tried hard enough, you could care less. Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference reminds us to be sure to make it negative for it to be correct.



Incorrect: That’s a mute…

'Q' is for Quickie

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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?


Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER




This week is all about the quickie, which is spelled with “ie,” not a “y.” Quickie can be a noun for "fast sex with little foreplay," or an adjective, as in “a quickie divorce.”

Here are some other words that begin with the letter “Q.”


Q&A

It’s okay to use Q&A (ampersand and no spaces) to describe a question-and-answer piece.


Queen

Only capitalize queen when it comes before the name of royalty, the Associated Press Stylebook states. Use the monarch’s full title on first reference, like Queen Elizabeth II. Use Queen Elizabeththe rest of the time.

The word should be lowercase when it stands alone.

When referring to two monarchs, capitalize and make it plural, as in Queens Elizabeth and Victoria.


Question whether; question of whether; question as to whether

The Chica…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Graduation Words

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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?


Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER







With so many graduations taking place in May and early June, I thought we should discuss some of the words (and their difficult spellings!) associated with this rite of passage seeing as I won’t be in any emotional state to do it next year, when my youngest graduates high school. Just the thought of him walking across the stage to get his diploma brings a lump to my throat. 
Anyhow...
Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Commencement, graduation
We often hear commencement and graduation used as synonyms, so what’s the difference? Well, technically, graduation is the act of receiving a diploma or degree from a school, college, or university, while commencement is the ceremony during which degrees or diplomas are given to students who have graduated from school or college. 

Alumnus, alu…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Did You Know...?

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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?

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER




Today’s topic can trip up even the most learned of the grammar lovers. Here are some troublesome word pairings I’ve collected throughout the years. 


Aggravate, irritate

Strunk and White's The Elements of Style states aggravate means “to add to an already troublesome or vexing matter or condition.”
Irritate is to annoy or chafe.


Allusion, illusion

An allusion is an indirect reference.

An illusion is an unreal image or false impression, according to Strunk and White.


Critical, crucial

According to Webster, crucial is “important or essential as resolving a crisis, decisive.”
Critical means “being at a turning point or specially important juncture” or “relating to an illness or condition involving danger of death.”
They are not synonyms. Critical bumps it up a notch. The something y…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Phlox, Peonies, and other 'P' Words

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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?


Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER






Spring is in full bloom in Chicagoland. After a few days in a row of blue skies and temperatures in the 70s, I must admit, I’m almost giddy. My husband and I have frozen at every lacrosse game, save one, thus far, so this is a welcome reprieve.

All of this lovely weather has me thinking about flowers. Last week, we tackled peak, peek, and pique, among other things, so I thought before launching in on the rest of the words that begin with the letter ‘P,’ I’d mention a couple of flower names that can be tricky sometimes with their unusual spellings. Phlox begins with “ph,” not “f,” and peony has an “o” in the middle, even though it’s usually pronounced “pee-knee,” which is incorrect.

Here are some other tricky words that start with “P.”


Penultimate

Penultimate means “the next to la…

Quite a Literary Day

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

Organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Book Day began as a day to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. It was first celebrated on April 23, 1995.

Many events are taking place today, including Amazon’s celebration of reading. It’s also a good day to donate to your favorite literacy organization or just to curl up in your favorite reading chair with a good book.

There also is a Twitter hashtag — #LoveToRead —where social media bibliophiles can share their passions.

Coincidentally, April 23 is both William Shakespeare’s birthday and death day. If you’ve been a long-time reader of Bibliophilic Blather, you know how much I love Shakespeare. I’ve written about the Ten Things I Love About Shakespeare, wished him a happy 450th birthday, gone to him when I was weary, literally visited him in Stratford, and discussed how novelists can learn from playwrights. So, c…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The Letter 'P'

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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?


Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



We resume our alphabetical study this week with words that begin with the letter “P.” Surprisingly, there are quite a few important spellings and clarifications in this category, so I’ll do a second part next week.

Pair

Pair is the singular form of the word, despite, as the Chicago Manual of Style notes, “the inherent sense of twoness.” The plural is pairs.

Example

Joe bought three pairs of shoes at the outlet mall. 


Parallel, paralleled, paralleling

All three have a double “l” in the middle, something I seldom remember and constantly have to look up.


Peacemaker, peacemaking

One word for both peacemaker and peacemaking.


Peak, peek, pique

A peak is an apex, according to CMS. The word for a quick or illicit glance is peek. Pique has two meanings, the first being to annoy or arouse, as i…