Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: To Independence


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?

Years ago, the 4th of July holiday meant backyard barbecues with family friends who also had kids around the same ages as mine. Laughter floated above the chorus of adult conversation as the kids ran in and out of our blow-up swimming pool, filling their water guns, readying for their battles. The night ended with writing their names in the sky with sparklers and cuddling close with their mothers as fireworks burst colors across the sky.

Today, all of the kids who once frolicked in our backyard are preparing for adulthood. Some have begun their careers. Others are choosing which college to attend.

So, grab a glass of lemonade, or something stronger, and let’s toast to Independence Day.


Yes, that’s the proper spelling, according to the Associated Press Stylebook. Although Merriam-Webster has barbeque listed as a variant, I’d stick with barbecue. BBQ is colloquial, so it’s not appropriate for formal writing.


To be thorough in our beer knowledge, here is a list of as many beer categories as I could find. How many have you tried? I’ve sampled all but cream, honey, and strong.

India Pale Ale

Corn on the cob

Corn on the cob has no hyphens.


Along with burgers, hot dogs, and brats, I bet a few of you plan on serving a fillet or two, be they chicken, beef, or even fish. As a noun, fillet means a boneless cut of fish or meat. The verb form means to cut or prepare as a fillet. It’s spelled fillet, not filet.

If you are having steak, then remember rib-eye and T-bone are hyphenated.

Melon baller

A melon baller is the spoon-like utensil used for cutting watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew into ball-shaped pieces.


A s’more is a campfire dessert of toasted marshmallows and chocolate between graham crackers. Yum.

EFG Digest

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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.


R. Doug Wicker said…
I've tried the entire list of beer save for "fruit" and "lime", although I have had lime with beer; it's a Mexico thing.
I had a great raspberry beer from Revolution the other day. The raspberry wasn't too overwhelming or sweet, but just right and refreshing.
Anonymous said…
Hmm... I had to check the beer list. Ale, lager, stout, pilsner, blonde, dark, and wheat. I think. :)

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