Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Miscellany

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 focuses on various handy bits of information, all of which have to do with the letter "D."


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." 


The 1980s had some great music, especially the post-punk, alternative bands.
She loved '80s music.
World War II ended in the mid-1940s.


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 with means to disagree.

Discreet, discrete

Discreet, according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, means having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech.

Discrete is having a separate entity or individually distinct.

Dyeing, dying

Dyeing is the spelling for coloring something. Dying, obviously then, refers to death. Don't forget the "e," or pretty soon, you're readers will wonder if a dyeing aunt suddenly developed a great passion for tie-dye.



A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.

Grammar Nerd Question of the Week:

What's the difference between disinterested and uninterested?


brenda said…
Differ from vs, Differ with, was a good reminder. One of the ones I have to look when I am writing to ensure I have it right.
Me, too, Brenda. Thank goodness for all of the reference books!
Anonymous said…
I always remember "I beg to differ!", though I can't remember where I've heard it. Some gentleman said it, I'm sure. Or a lady? :)
Stephanie Faris said…
Misplaced apostrophes: my pet peeve! I see people miswrite the decade thing all the time. Not sure why they can't get it! Everyone needs Grammarly, I swear!
Oh, the decade apostrophe drives me crazy. I'm constantly fixing this for editing clients.
In a period drama, no doubt!
Absolutely, Stephanie. It's pretty simple, if you just memorize the rule.
I see it everywhere, Kelly. Even in ads, which you would think copywriters should know better.

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