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Common Abbreviations and What They Mean

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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?




Remember bibliographies? Every research paper requires a bibliography, whether you’re writing a junior high theme or a master’s thesis, to show what material the author read for background knowledge or where the quotations used in said document first appeared.

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) states that “outside the area of science and technology, abbreviations are most appropriate in tabular matter, notes, bibliographies, and parenthetical references.”

But some of the abbreviations used in standard bibliographies for scholarly writing also can be used in technical writing. A long time ago, I was the editor of a magazine called Paint and Coatings Industry, which often dealt with chemical formulas for several products, including pearlescent pigments, water-repellant coatings, an…

Do 'However' and 'So' Need Commas?

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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’s topic comes from an email I received from a reader.

Hello Karen,

I have some questions about comma usage that I was hoping you could answer in one of your posts. How should we use commas for the following?

* Single and multiple, sentence-leading, prepositional phrases.

* Comma usage when “so” is anywhere within a sentence.

* Comma usage when “however” is anywhere within a sentence.

Thanks for your help.

David

Let’s answer these one at a time.

Prepositional Phrases

First, commas should be used after a prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence, such as in the example below.

Example

By the time I arrived, all the guests were gone.

Grammar Girl suggests “the longer the prepositional phrase, the more you need the comma.” Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) agrees, noting that introd…

One Word or Two? Or Is It Hyphenated?

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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’m back, grammar lovers!

I don’t know if you remember or not, but I took the summer off to spend more time with my sons before they left for college and grad school. There were travel plans to help coordinate, moving lists to prepare, graduation parties to attend and one to throw, and moments to be captured in our memories before life would change forever for the four of us.

Before each of them left—the younger to Texas and the eldest to Scotland—my husband and I asked what they wanted to do for their last nights at home. It touched my heart that they didn’t want to go out for big celebratory dinners, but instead wanted a regular night with the family and some take out.

I guess our “every day” was special enough and for that I am truly grateful.

The tears have been shed, the b…

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 in the fall. 

I hope you all have a wonderf…

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.





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