Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: E is for Efficient

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 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. 


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.


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 user or end-user?

End user is a noun technology developers use to describe who is the audience for their products. The hyphenated end-user is the adjective form, like with end-user experience, according to AP.

Epidemic, pandemic

Every once in awhile, we hear about an epidemic, a rapidly spreading disease that affects a certain population or region. A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread worldwide.


These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2016 edition
The Chicago Manual of Style
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition
The Bugaboo Review: A lighthearted guide to exterminating confusion about words, spelling, and grammar


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.


I used to quiz my students on the top 100 misspelled words. I remember embarrass was on it.
Yes, always a word I double check. It never hurts to look something up, that's for sure.
Doug said…
Another great article, Karen. Where the heck have you been with these wonderful gems these past few years? I really missed them!
Thanks, Doug. I had to take some time off to help my ailing father. Before that, I was focused on getting the third book out. But I'm back now and glad to be posting again.
Anonymous said…
I always, always have to check "embarrass". If I'm feeling particularly lazy, I write "embaras" and right-click on it to see how it's spelled. And then I remember it... Until I have to write it the next time.

Truly embarrassing.
It's impossible to remember them all, that's for sure.

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