Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The Heat is On

POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER

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Ah, summer, the season I eagerly anticipate, then complain incessantly about. The temperatures are rising in Chicagoland, and, unfortunately, so is the humidity level, condemning me to countless days of unreliable, frizzy hair and a perpetual state of sticky malaise.

But, what about the words associated with the season?

Summer

The word, summer, much like all of the seasonal names should not be capitalized unless the season is being personified, such as in poetry or a particularly lively piece of writing.

Examples

summer solstice
summer vacation
summer

Personification Example

And Summer, with her sun beating down mercilessly and omnipresent mosquitoes...


Sunbathe

Sunbathe should be one word, not split into two. This also goes for the verb forms of sunbathed and sunbathing.


Sun

When referring to the sun, keep it lowercase. The word is not a proper noun like other heavenly bodies, such as Venus or Saturn. The only time it should be capitalized is when referred to in its Greek (Helios) or Latin (Sol) name, but who really does that nowadays?


Summertime

As you can see, summertime is one word.


Sun Belt

This refers to America’s states in the South and West, from Florida and Georgia through the Gulf states and on into California. This geographical reference should be capitalized.


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References

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


Bio

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.

Comments

R. Doug Wicker said…
Thanks again, Karen. Entertaining and informative, as always.
Thanks, R. Doug. I really appreciate your comments.

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