Editing for Grammarphobes: Getting the Bugs Out of Your Writing


I was reading the November issue of The Writer, a wonderful publication I have subscribed to ever since I decided to have a go at this profession, some three thousand years ago. There is a great article by Sue Sommer on pages 26 and 27 called “Don’t Let Tricky Word Pairs Bug You.”

Sue’s book, The Bugaboo Review, is a lighthearted examination of usage, grammar and spelling mistakes compiled during her years as an English and creative writing teacher.

We have covered some of her word pairs already in past posts, but here are a few new ones.

all ready/already

All ready means “completely prepared” (all is ready); already means “previously.”


Lila was all ready to go, but her friends had already left.


Discreet means “judicious or prudent”; discrete means “distinct, separate, diverse.”


Be discreet when you meet your boyfriend.

Each cow has its own discrete markings.


Veracious means “truthful, honest”; voracious means “starving, hungry, insatiable.”


Matt has always been veracious.

After a marathon, runners are voracious, eating everything in sight!

Up Next

Another great microfiction piece is up on Flash Fiction Fridays as Nightmare Month continues with “Too Big to Kill” by Leah Griffith.


Kelly Hashway said…
Have I mentioned how much I love your grammar posts? They make the teacher in me smile.
angel011 said…
Nice one... Have you covered all right/alright somewhere?
Thanks, Kelly. :)

angel011: Yes, somewhere in the back posts of 2010, I believe.
Beverly Diehl said…
As I read this, I felt my IQ go up a point or five. Fab post!

Also for peeps to remember:
Discrete and excrete - not the same thing. I have seen some hilarious writing where the second word was used instead of the first.
Beverly, you are always hilarious. Thanks for stopping by.
Never heard of this publication. I am going to subscribe. I am so happy to get my dose of good grammar from your posts. I am working on mine and I always learn something or find something I can pass along.
Janel said…
This looks like a great book to keep beside me as I write!
R. Doug Wicker said…
Oh, MAN, am I embarrassed! I've always used "discrete," and I'd never before even seen the spelling "discreet."

Hangs head in shame. Skulks off totally disillusioned.
Leah Griffith said…
I had a grammarphone experience on my blog this week with palate and palette...made me think of you!
Lena and Janel: I ordered "The Bugaboo Review" for myself today, actually. I think it would be good for all of us.

R. Doug: It happens. Nobody's perfect.

Leah: :)
Claudine Gueh said…
Very clearly explained. Thanks, Karen! I think I'd like to subscribe to the publication, too.
Claudine, I really have been reading "The Writer" magazine for more than twenty years. It is a great publication and benefits many different styles of writing, from fiction to essays to poetry to journalism.
Trev said…
Nice and amusing post :) New follower via bookblogs: Trev @ trevsliteraryreview.blogspot.com
Hi, Trev. Thanks for stopping by.
Anonymous said…
Another awesome post on how to be our own best editors :) I've always struggled with "all right" and "alright." I understand that most people would say the latter is never right, but I'm of the growing school of thought that there should be a version of "alright." There really is different usage, in my humble opinion.

Paul D. Dail
www.pauldail.com- A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog
If there's only professionals like us to solve these bugs:-)

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