On Style Guides and Dictionaries

Today’s “Grammar Bite” is going to be more of a meal, so I hope you’ll forgive me, but this topic is pretty important and there’s not a short answer here, so grab a drink and then we’ll dive in. It’s not uncommon for friends who don’t write or edit to ask me how I decide […]

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Passive Voice and the Word Was

I had a friend email me a sample edit today that she’d gotten from another editor. She was a bit confused because the editor had flagged every instance of the word “was” as “passive voice.” I actually run across this from time to time, so I thought I’d post here. If you already know this, […]

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The Ellipsis

Ah, the ellipsis. The ellipsis can be a bit of a pain, but once mastered, it’s a great tool. For the purpose of this post, I’m only talking about using the ellipsis in fiction, not as it is applied to journalism, nonfiction, or academic texts. First, what are ellipses used for? They are used to […]

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Phone Convos

Phone conversations where you show both sides of the conversation are fairly easy—you just handle them like regular dialog for the most part. But what about one-sided convos? A convention I really like is to use an ellipsis to indicate the unheard speaker’s dialog. For example: “Hey, girl! It’s Anne. … Nothing much, what are […]

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