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Showing posts from October, 2018

Headless for Halloween

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?




One of my favorite Halloween stories is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving, the 18th century tale of the lanky schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane, who competes with the beefy Bram Bones, for Katrina Van Tassel's affections. Unfortunately for the skittish and superstitious Crane, one night after a party at the Van Tassel's, he meets the Headless Horseman, rumored to be the ghost of a Hessian soldier whose head was blown off by a cannonball. The horseman hurls a flaming jack o'lantern at Crane, who gallops away never to be seen again. 
Was it an apparition or Bram Bones? 
That's for you to decide. 
As I've mentioned in previous years, Halloween is a huge day for my family. We decorate the entire house, both inside and out. My husband has become …

What To Do With 'W'

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?



We haven’t done a roundup on a specific letter lately, so let’s talk about W, the one that kept me at the back of the room in grade school despite being short thanks to the wonderful convention of alphabetical order teachers were so fond of using back then.

But I’m not bitter.

Many useful words begin with our friend, the W, including weather and weapons. Since each of those has a specific subset of their own words, we will cover them in more detail in November. Today, let’s discuss run-of-the-mill words that start with the letter, W. 


waitlist (n.) and wait-list (v.)

Words that make college seniors quake with anxiety, if you are talking about the noun, then it’s one word, waitlist. If you are wait-listed, the verb, the word is hyphenated, according to the Associated Press Styleb…

Common Abbreviations and What They Mean

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?




Remember bibliographies? Every research paper requires a bibliography, whether you’re writing a junior high theme or a master’s thesis, to show what material the author read for background knowledge or where the quotations used in said document first appeared.

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) states that “outside the area of science and technology, abbreviations are most appropriate in tabular matter, notes, bibliographies, and parenthetical references.”

But some of the abbreviations used in standard bibliographies for scholarly writing also can be used in technical writing. A long time ago, I was the editor of a magazine called Paint and Coatings Industry, which often dealt with chemical formulas for several products, including pearlescent pigments, water-repellant coatings, an…

Do 'However' and 'So' Need Commas?

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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’s topic comes from an email I received from a reader.

Hello Karen,

I have some questions about comma usage that I was hoping you could answer in one of your posts. How should we use commas for the following?

* Single and multiple, sentence-leading, prepositional phrases.

* Comma usage when “so” is anywhere within a sentence.

* Comma usage when “however” is anywhere within a sentence.

Thanks for your help.

David

Let’s answer these one at a time.

Prepositional Phrases

First, commas should be used after a prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence, such as in the example below.

Example

By the time I arrived, all the guests were gone.

Grammar Girl suggests “the longer the prepositional phrase, the more you need the comma.” Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) agrees, noting that introd…

One Word or Two? Or Is It Hyphenated?

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POSTED BY KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?





I’m back, grammar lovers!

I don’t know if you remember or not, but I took the summer off to spend more time with my sons before they left for college and grad school. There were travel plans to help coordinate, moving lists to prepare, graduation parties to attend and one to throw, and moments to be captured in our memories before life would change forever for the four of us.

Before each of them left—the younger to Texas and the eldest to Scotland—my husband and I asked what they wanted to do for their last nights at home. It touched my heart that they didn’t want to go out for big celebratory dinners, but instead wanted a regular night with the family and some take out.

I guess our “every day” was special enough and for that I am truly grateful.

The tears have been shed, the b…