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Showing posts from 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Christmas Edition

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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

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…

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

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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, 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…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Which, What, Who?

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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, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 takes on the questions from Fi and angel011 from my previous blog. 

Fi wrote: 
Here's a question for you. I tend to use dashes (-) in my blog posts to link ideas. Is this correct or should I be using something else?

Hi, Fi. 
I consulted three sources for your answer.  
The Associated Press Stylebook 2016 states dashes are used “to signal an abrupt change in thought” and sudden breaks in a sentence, along with formulating a series within a phrase. It cautions against “overusing dashes to set off phrases when commas would suffice.”
Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition dictates dashes should be used “to separate a dependent clause from an independent clause.” 
Strunk and White’s Elements of Style advises the following. “Use a dash to set off …

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Thanksgiving Edition

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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


I tried to find grammar issues with Thanksgiving words, but there are very few besides cornucopia, which is spelled with a surprising “u,” and that the plural of potato takes an “e,” so it is potatoes. 
When I was young, I loved the story of Thanksgiving. Our teachers omitted many crucial details about the zealousness and cruelty of the Pilgrims, and I was led to believe everything was lovely as the pilgrims and Native Americans came together for a unity meal. It’s irresponsible to whitewash history, so click here to read what really happened.
Ugh.
As an adult, I’ve come to fashion the holiday as a time to give thanks for what we have. 
Being a writer and editor means I get to work from home, which is pretty great most of the time. The one drawback is that it can be a little l…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: What the H...?

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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, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 explores various grammar and word issues that begin with the letter “H.” And please remember "an" before the word historic. It's not a historic (fill in the rest of the sentence), it's an historic (fill in the rest of the sentence). Grammar lovers everywhere thank you.
Hangar/hanger
Hangar refers to airplane hangars, while hanger spelled with an “e” is the word for clothes hangers.
Hanged/hung
Always a tricky one, hanged is the “past participle of hang only in its transitive form when referring to the killing of a human being by suspending the person by the neck,” according to the Chicago Manual of Style. However, if the death is not intended or likely, or if the person is suspended by a body part other than the neck, C…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Questions?

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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

I recently received an email from a writer friend of mine. I thought it could be something you might run into with your own writing, so I'm sharing it here today.
Question

Hi Karen,
I'm really enjoying your Grammarphobe posts, but wondered whether you could help me out in advance with a "W" problem! 
I'm getting mixed opinions on whether it is Wi-Fi, WiFi or wifi. Maybe all three are correct in the right place, but this if for a novel. Can you help?
Many thanks in advance.
Mel 
Mel Parish Food for the author: Books and Travel
Answer
Mel, I double checked with both the Associated Press Stylebook 2016 and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
It's Wi-Fi. Always, no matter what you are writing.
Hope that helps.

If you have any questions, drop me an email…

I'm on Location

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER

Author Lidy Wilks invited me to guest blog at her wonderful site "Paving My Author's Road...One Writing Step at a Time" today. I'm discussing five grammar mistakes and how to fix them.

Click here to read.

We met through the awesome SheWrites website that brings women writers together to share ideas and network.

Lidy's participating in NaNoWriMo, so wish her good luck! She's the author of the chapbook, Can You Catch My Flow?, but poetry is not her only genre. She is currently writing a contemporary romance, as well as a young adult supernatural book. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children.


Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Oh, Gee!

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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, Editing for Grammarphobes tackles issues with words that begin with the letter "G," not anything glamorous or grandiloquent, but good to know nonetheless. See what I did there? *wink*

Gatsbyesque
Did you know that was a real word? I thought it was a colloquialism bandied about in English class, but no, it was added to the dictionary in 1977. The official definition is "resembling or characteristic of the title character or world of the novel The Great Gatsby." Yet another way classic literature affects our language.

Grisly, grizzly
Grisly means horrifying and repugnant, according to The Associated Press Stylebook 2016. It does not have an extra "s," like some think. 
Grizzly is a bear. AP states it can also be a word for grayish. 

Group
Even …

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Halloween Edition

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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


Boo! With Halloween right around the corner, today's Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 takes a decidedly dastardly turn to discuss spooky words and how to spell them. Happy Halloween, my friends.
Apparition
An apparition is an unusual or unexpected sight. It also can mean a ghostly figure. 
Bloodcurdling
Notice there is no hyphen for the word that means arousing fright. 
Cemetery
For years, I thought cemetery was spelled cemetary. Oh, the horror!
Frightening
With an "en" in the middle. I say "fright-ten-ing" when I'm typing it, so I don't forget.
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is a large, above-ground tomb. It also can be used to describe a large gloomy room or building. 
Here are some other Halloween posts you might enjoy.
All Hallow's Eve with the Bibli…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: 'F' It All

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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, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 deals with words starting with the letter "F." If you like to swear, raise your hand. Me, too, now that the kids are grown. It feels great. But not everyone shares my affinity. Whether you use profanity in your writing or not is a choice you have to make. It's probably not a good idea to use it in the business world, but for fiction writers, it's your call. 
Here are some other words that begin with "F."
Fallout
Fallout is one word. Never hyphenated. Never separated. 
Far, far away
Far-flungFar-off But farsighted.
Why? Who knows? English is a goofy language.
Fetus
In humans, fetus is the proper term from the eighth weeks of conception through birth. Those seven weeks before? The correct word is embryo.
Firefighter

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: E is for Efficient

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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 post deals with interesting grammar rules for words beginning with the letter "E."  For example, did you know that escalator used to be a trademarked word, but now is a generic term? Neither did I. 
Embarrass
I'm embarrassed at how many times I have to look this word up. It always appears on those "Top 25 Toughest Words to Spell" lists, and it's true. Every time I type it, it looks wrong. Same goes for embarrassing and embarrassment.
E-stuff
The AP Stylebook states no hyphen for email, but uses the hyphen for other "e" words, such as e-book, e-business, e-commerce, and e-reader.
Emigrate, immigrate
A person who leaves a country emigrates from it. One who comes into a country immigrates. Same goes for emigrant and immigrant. 
End…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Birthday Edition

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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


Since Friday is my birthday, this week's Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 is all about me—my biggest grammar pet peeves. I know I'm not perfect, something my old bones remind me of daily, but there are just some issues that drive me insane. You know. You feel the same way. So here are my Top Five Grammar Pet Peeves.
Unwittingly making plural things possessives No matter how many times I rant about this, I still see people using an apostrophe "s" when all they want to do is make the word plural. A plain, old "s" is just fine and grammatically correct.
Example:  Happy Holidays from the Smith's
From the Smith's WHAT? Using an apostrophe s connotes possession. It does not make a word plural. 

Not using the Oxford comma Sorry, AP Stylebook, but I LO…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Miscellany

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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, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 focuses on various handy bits of information, all of which have to do with the letter "D."
Decades
This is something people get wrong constantly and probably ranks in the top five grammar nerd pet peeves. When punctuating decades, use an apostrophe to indicate the numerals that are left out. Add an "s" to pluralize. No, I repeat no apostrophe before the "s." 
Examples
The 1980s had some great music, especially the post-punk, alternative bands. She loved '80s music. World War II ended in the mid-1940s.
Denali
Did you know the tallest peak in North America used to be called Mount McKinley? It measures 20,310 feet.
Differ from, differ with
The AP Stylebook states that to differ from means to be unlike. To differ wi…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: I 'C' U

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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, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 focuses on word groups that begin with the letter "C". Some are homophones, and some have tricky spelling, but all of them can cause writers and editors headaches. 

Cancel, canceled, canceling, but cancellation


Why? Who knows, but that's how it is. Best to just memorize it or at least remember it's something you need to look up before you press send.
Carat, caret, karat

Not to be confused with carrot of the eating kind, these three words mean completely different things despite sounding alike.

A carat is the weight of diamonds. It equals up to 200 milligrams or about 3 grains, according to AP Style. A caret is a proofreader's mark that looks like this ^ and is used to insert a word or phrase into a sentence. Jewelry love…

A Groovy Kind of Sale

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Just wanted to let you know A Groovy Kind of Love e-books are on sale for just 99¢ from now until Thursday, Sept. 22 on all platforms—Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. That's a 75% savings!

Paperbacks are also only $11.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Did you know? A Groovy Kind of Love received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Chicago Writers' Association Book of the Year awards and was a 2015 Big Al's Books & Pals Readers' Choice Award Nominee. Right now, it has 4.5 stars on Amazon.



Here's what some reviewers have said.

"A Groovy Kind of Love was JUST what I needed…hippies, unrequited love, crazy/high families,  mysterious exes from the past, foreign travel, tragedy. Really, what more could a reader ask for? This book is The Odd Couple meets Beauty and the Beast with a touch of Nicholas Sparks tragedy thrown in for good measure."   — The Republican Herald book blog

"...you realize this is about true love. Not teen love. Not young love…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Muslim Edition

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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, Muslims all over the world celebratedEid-al-Adha, one of two official holidays. Eid-al-Adha, known as “Sacrifice Feast,” is the most important Islamic holiday and recalls the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham to Christians and Jews) to sacrifice his son. Some people slaughter sheep or cattle, then distribute part of the meat to the poor and eat the rest. 
There is so much misinformation about Islam and Muslims floating around, I thought today would be a good day to set the record straight and feature terms that we have all heard, but might not know exactly what they mean or how to spell them. 
First off, Islam is the religion of more than one billion people. The followers of Islam are called Muslims. Their holy book is the Quran. The place of worship is a …

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: To B or Not to B

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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


Is there anything more embarrassing than using the wrong word? It happens to us all, of course, but it's also a surefire way for you and your writing to lose credibility. Today, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 focuses on some tricky word pairings, which start with the letter "B," that can trip up even the best of us.
Baloney, bologna
Baloney is ridiculous or foolish talk, nonsense.
And although the dictionary lists bologna as a variation of baloney, AP Style states bologna is the word for sausage or lunchmeat. 
Beside, besides
Beside means at the side of. 
Besides means as well or in addition to.
Biannual, biennial
Biannual is twice a year.
Biennial is every two years. 
Boats, ships
Boat refers to any small watercraft. Ship means a large, seagoing vessel, with the …

Fighting for Your Writing

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER

Last Friday, I was a guest blogger over at Wow! Women on Writing's blog, The Muffin. I discussed the issue of fighting for your writing time and space, something that isn't always easy with a family.

Here's the link.

Friday Speak Out!: You will do anything to save your kids or your partner, but what about your writing?


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

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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?
Today, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 tackles word pairings that often cause confusion, such as adverse and averse, accept and except, and arbitrate and mediate, as well as the nagging question of when to use awhile versus a while.


Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER Which is correct?
Accept or except? 

Accept is a verb that means to receive.

Example:
John accepted the cake from Susan, despite its unusual smell.

Except means to leave out of or exclude.

Example:
All of the guests except Susan became ill after eating the cake. 

Adverse or averse?

Adverse is an adjective that means unfavorable or harmful.

Example:
The cake had an adverse effect on the party guests.

Averse is an adjective that means reluctant or disinclined.

Example:
Susan is averse to answering questions about the cake.

Allude, elude, or refer?

Allude is to use…

Introducing Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Hello!

I’ve missed all of you lovely Bibliophiles.

I’ve been dealing with my father’s declining health and all that entails, including several hospital stays and moving him twice, the second time to a senior care facility where I know he receives excellent care. I have one piece of advice about dealing with aging parents — don’t be an only child! Oy!

Anyhow, I just landed a new freelance assignment that uses AP style guidelines, so I bought a new copy of TheAssociated Press Stylebookto brush up after years of using the Chicago Manual of Style for the books and fiction in general. The 2016 AP Stylebook is filled with so many updates, my little grammar nerd self can’t resist sharing with you that I am bringing back Editing for Grammarphobes.

Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 will feature a ton a great information on proper usage, homophones, updates, and general word nerd heaven.

I’m not going to cover any specific style items, in case you use…