Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The Finer Things


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?

There are countless words relating to food in the English language. So many, in fact, that AP Style has an entire section devoted to it. Often, spelling is the most difficult part to remember, but I’ve also found a few issues that deal with categorizations as well.

Appetizers or hors d’oeuvres?

Although used interchangeably, there actually is a difference. Although it literally means “out of work,” hors d’oeuvres means “outside the meal” and refers to one-bite items that are served separately and before the meal, such as canapes, crudites, or bruschetta. Appetizers are served as the first course when seated at the table and are generally larger. They should also complement the entree.


Champagne is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France only. If made anywhere else, it’s called sparkling wine. If it’s made in Italy, it’s prosecco.


Notice the word is espresso, with an "s," not expresso.

Foodie, gourmand, gourmet

Foodie is a term for a person with a strong interest in good food, as opposed to a gourmand, who likes good food and tends to eat in excess. A gourmet enjoys fine food and is an excellent judge of food and drink.

Kobe beef, wagyu

Kobe beef is an exclusive, extremely expensive grade of beef from cattle raised in Kobe, Japan. Wagyu refers to several Japanese beef breeds of cattle, which also is very expensive. Only beef raised in the Kobe prefecture of Japan can be called Kobe beef.


Yes, there is an “l” in salmon. There are three types of this delicious fish: king, coho, and sockeye.

Shiraz, syrah

Shiraz and syrah are the same type of wine. It is known as syrah in France and as shiraz in the rest of the world.

Whisky, whiskey

The spelling of whisky should only be applied to whisky produced in Scotland, Canada, and Japan. All other forms of liquor distilled from grains, including bourbon, rye, and Irish whiskey is spelled whiskey, with an "e."

Source: The Associated Press Stylebook, 2016.

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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.


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