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You Mean It's Not...?

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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


Language is fluid. It evolves and changes as generations add their own words to the mix. Many people write like they speak, which causes trouble when certain statements have been uttered incorrectly. A word I have heard many people mispronounce is “acrost.” There is no such word as “acrost.” It is always across.




Watch out for these words or phrases in your writing.


Incorrect: Chester drawers.

Correct: Chest of drawers.


Chester drawers? Is he any relation to Chester Cheetah?


Incorrect: For all intensive purposes.

Correct: For all intents and purposes.


Incorrect: I could care less.

Correct: I couldn’t care less.

I bet if you tried hard enough, you could care less. Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference reminds us to be sure to make it negative for it to be correct.



Incorrect: That’s a mute…

'Q' is for Quickie

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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 is all about the quickie, which is spelled with “ie,” not a “y.” Quickie can be a noun for "fast sex with little foreplay," or an adjective, as in “a quickie divorce.”

Here are some other words that begin with the letter “Q.”


Q&A

It’s okay to use Q&A (ampersand and no spaces) to describe a question-and-answer piece.


Queen

Only capitalize queen when it comes before the name of royalty, the Associated Press Stylebook states. Use the monarch’s full title on first reference, like Queen Elizabeth II. Use Queen Elizabeththe rest of the time.

The word should be lowercase when it stands alone.

When referring to two monarchs, capitalize and make it plural, as in Queens Elizabeth and Victoria.


Question whether; question of whether; question as to whether

The Chica…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Graduation Words

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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







With so many graduations taking place in May and early June, I thought we should discuss some of the words (and their difficult spellings!) associated with this rite of passage seeing as I won’t be in any emotional state to do it next year, when my youngest graduates high school. Just the thought of him walking across the stage to get his diploma brings a lump to my throat. 
Anyhow...
Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Commencement, graduation
We often hear commencement and graduation used as synonyms, so what’s the difference? Well, technically, graduation is the act of receiving a diploma or degree from a school, college, or university, while commencement is the ceremony during which degrees or diplomas are given to students who have graduated from school or college. 

Alumnus, alu…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Did You Know...?

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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 topic can trip up even the most learned of the grammar lovers. Here are some troublesome word pairings I’ve collected throughout the years. 


Aggravate, irritate

Strunk and White's The Elements of Style states aggravate means “to add to an already troublesome or vexing matter or condition.”
Irritate is to annoy or chafe.


Allusion, illusion

An allusion is an indirect reference.

An illusion is an unreal image or false impression, according to Strunk and White.


Critical, crucial

According to Webster, crucial is “important or essential as resolving a crisis, decisive.”
Critical means “being at a turning point or specially important juncture” or “relating to an illness or condition involving danger of death.”
They are not synonyms. Critical bumps it up a notch. The something y…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Phlox, Peonies, and other 'P' Words

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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






Spring is in full bloom in Chicagoland. After a few days in a row of blue skies and temperatures in the 70s, I must admit, I’m almost giddy. My husband and I have frozen at every lacrosse game, save one, thus far, so this is a welcome reprieve.

All of this lovely weather has me thinking about flowers. Last week, we tackled peak, peek, and pique, among other things, so I thought before launching in on the rest of the words that begin with the letter ‘P,’ I’d mention a couple of flower names that can be tricky sometimes with their unusual spellings. Phlox begins with “ph,” not “f,” and peony has an “o” in the middle, even though it’s usually pronounced “pee-knee,” which is incorrect.

Here are some other tricky words that start with “P.”


Penultimate

Penultimate means “the next to la…

Quite a Literary Day

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

Organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Book Day began as a day to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. It was first celebrated on April 23, 1995.

Many events are taking place today, including Amazon’s celebration of reading. It’s also a good day to donate to your favorite literacy organization or just to curl up in your favorite reading chair with a good book.

There also is a Twitter hashtag — #LoveToRead —where social media bibliophiles can share their passions.

Coincidentally, April 23 is both William Shakespeare’s birthday and death day. If you’ve been a long-time reader of Bibliophilic Blather, you know how much I love Shakespeare. I’ve written about the Ten Things I Love About Shakespeare, wished him a happy 450th birthday, gone to him when I was weary, literally visited him in Stratford, and discussed how novelists can learn from playwrights. So, c…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The Letter 'P'

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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



We resume our alphabetical study this week with words that begin with the letter “P.” Surprisingly, there are quite a few important spellings and clarifications in this category, so I’ll do a second part next week.

Pair

Pair is the singular form of the word, despite, as the Chicago Manual of Style notes, “the inherent sense of twoness.” The plural is pairs.

Example

Joe bought three pairs of shoes at the outlet mall. 


Parallel, paralleled, paralleling

All three have a double “l” in the middle, something I seldom remember and constantly have to look up.


Peacemaker, peacemaking

One word for both peacemaker and peacemaking.


Peak, peek, pique

A peak is an apex, according to CMS. The word for a quick or illicit glance is peek. Pique has two meanings, the first being to annoy or arouse, as i…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Can and May

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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




Do you remember being in elementary school and having to use the facilities? Making your way up to the teacher’s desk after waiting too long to begin with, crossing your legs in a futile attempt to stave off what could only be described as certain humiliation?

“Can I have the girls’ bathroom pass?”

The teacher looks up blankly at you. “I suppose you could.” And then goes back to grading papers without handing you anything.

You hop from foot to foot, pee pee dancing in utter disbelief.

The teacher sighs and puts down her red pen. “May I help you?”

Finally, the lightbulb goes on. “May I have the girls’ bathroom pass?”

“Yes, of course, dear.”

You rip the pass out of her hand and sprint down the hall.

It was an infuriating, but effective way to learn the difference between “can” an…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Spring Sports Words

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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


With the baseball season beginning this week, the Masters Tournament this upcoming weekend, and my son’s high school lacrosse game tonight (Go Huskies!), I thought I’d cover some basic spring sports words today. Regardless of if you are into sports or not, everyone should have at least a basic understanding and know some of the terms.




Baseball

Ballclub, ballpark, ballplayer 

These are all one word. The exception is ball game, which is two words according to Merriam-Webster.com. The Associated Press Stylebook 2016 has it as one word, ballgame, so make a note of that depending for what or where you are writing.

Baseline

Baseline (one word, no hyphen) is the term for the lines on a baseball field (or diamond) that lead from home plate to first base and third base and are extended int…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Oh, I See

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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



Before we get started with our usual Wednesday post, have you heard the news?

Using they as a singular pronoun or gender-neutral pronoun will be added to the updated Associated Press Stylebook coming out at the end of May. AP representatives announced the new rule last week during a session at the 21st national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing in St. Petersburg, Fla. Click here to read the entire story.

Today, let’s talk about words that begin with the letter “O,” which includes both an adjective I tend to associate with Jane Austen’s characterization of Mr. Collins, odious, as well as a phrase basketball fans are sure to be familiar with since March Madness is wrapping up in a few days, out of bounds.

Also, the March issue of EFG Digest, a monthly recap of all of m…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Weather Words

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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 I live in Chicagoland, a place that can experience all four seasons in one week, I thought these first few days of spring in the northern hemisphere would be a perfect time to discuss weather words. I kid you not. Today's temperature is 38°. Friday, it's supposed to be in the low-70s.
The Associated Press Stylebook 2016 has an excellent section that bases its definitions on those used by the National Weather Service. Here’s a sampling of some weather words, what they mean, and when to use them.

Blizzard
A snowstorm is officially a blizzard if it has wind speeds of 35 mph or more, plus considerable falling and/or blowing snow with visibility of less than one-quarter mile for three or more hours. 

Cyclone, funnel cloud, tornado, water spout
A cyclone is a storm that ha…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The Letter 'N'

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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

The letter “N” has some definite quirks. For example, did you know there’s an “e” in noticeable? And that’s just the beginning. Here are some interesting things about words that begin with “N.”

Naturalist, naturist

A naturalist is one who studies natural history or an amateur who observes, photographs, draws, or writes about nature. 
A naturist is a nature worshipper or a nudist. 
Nauseous, nauseated

People often say something made them nauseous. Technically, that’s incorrect. Whatever is nauseous induces the feeling is nausea, according to The Chicago Manual of Style. The actual act of feeling sick to one’s stomach is to be nauseated. 
CMS recommends skipping nauseous altogether and sticking to nauseated and its adjective form of nauseating. I think that’s a pretty safe bet. 
Nav…

International Women's Day Strike

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In solidarity with my sisters participating in the A Day Without a Woman Strike, Editing for Grammarphobes will not be posted today. Please stop back next week for our usual blog discussing grammar hints and tips.

Thank you.



It's Read an E-book Week

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER

As part of "Read an E-book Week," all three of my novels, as well as my Christmas digital short story, are FREE on Smashwords from today until March 11.

A ton of Smashwords authors, publishers, and readers are participating in this week-long celebration that offers thousands of free and deeply discounted e-books of all genres. It's a reader's paradise! Learn more about "Read an E-book Week" here and here
You'll need the Smashwords coupon codes to get the Bibliophiles books for free, so here you go. 



If you're on Twitter, the hashtags to follow are #ebookweek and #Smashwords. While you're there, feel free to visit me, too.

Happy Reading!

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Mmm Mmm Good

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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
Can you believe it’s March already? The first part of the year just flies by. Before you know it, it will be Tax Day. Ugh. 
Well, since this is the first day of March, let’s talk about some words that begin with the letter “M.”
Mantle, mantel
A mantle is a cloak or, as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary states, “a figurative cloak symbolizing preeminence or authority,” as in the mantle of leadership.
A mantel is a shelf above a fireplace.  Mashup or mash-up?
There is conflicting advice on whether or not this word should be hyphenated. The Associated Press Stylebook states it is one word, while Merriam-Webster states it’s hyphenated. 
In this case, I would go with the dictionary, since a lot of AP Style deals with saving space and column inches. I’d use mash-up to describe a blendin…

Introducing Editing for Grammarphobes Digest

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Love all of the grammar hints of Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0, but don't have time to check the blog every week?
Sign up for EFG Digest, a monthly recap of all Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 blog posts in one convenient newsletter! 
EFG Digest will be delivered on the last day of each month starting with February. After you sign up, please add my email address, karen@karenberner.com, to your list of contacts, so your monthly EFG Digest doesn't end up in your spam folder.