Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: 'F' It All

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 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 is one word. Never hyphenated. Never separated. 

Far, far away


But farsighted.

Why? Who knows? English is a goofy language.


In humans, fetus is the proper term from the eighth weeks of conception through birth. Those seven weeks before? The correct word is embryo.


I don't know if you know this or not, but I spent many wonderful years at a magazine called Fire Chief. I love the fire service, so don't mess this up. Please remember there are women firefighters, so the proper term for one who fights fires is firefighter, not fireman.

Flair, flare

AP states flair is a conspicuous talent or style. Flare is a noun that means a sudden bright light or burst of anger. It also can be the device used to produce such a flare, according to Webster's Dictionary.


Freelancer is always one word. So is freelance. It would be pretty embarrassing to muck these up, wouldn't it?

Tricky spellings



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.


Patricia said…
Karen, I'm terrible about commenting but enjoy these posts. Thanks
Anonymous said…
Another great one! I keep seeing freelancers stating "I am a freelance" (and then offering proofreading or writing articles).
Merriam-Webster is always open on my computer since that's what the fiction publishing world defaults to and I have to make sure my editing clients are grammatically correct. They always tell me the English language is impossible and they hate it. I love how odd it is though. ;)
Fi said…
I think it's OK for characters to swear if it fits with who they are.
Thanks, Patricia. Appreciate you stopping by.
Yikes! I've also seen it hyphenated. It's actually easier all one word.
English is definitely a quirky language. High five fellow grammar nerd!
You're right, Fi. Guess it also comes down to what makes the author more comfortable when writing. Some people bristle at even mild swearing. I don't bat an eye.
Doug said…
Still loving this series, Karen. Keep 'em comin'.
Empty Nester said…
Quirky for sure. My dearest friend is a college professor of English. I hate texting with him. He corrects EVERYTHING. LOL
Chrys Fey said…
Some of my characters have use the "f" word when the moment suited, but they don't say it too much. I don't like it when there's a ton of swearing in a book or movie.

Great tips!

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