Ever wonder why the dictionary shows different spellings or treatments of words? As an FYI, it’s not because you can just pick whichever you like the best. 🙂 Often a word or phrase will be treated different depending on how it’s used in a sentence–in other words, what its part of speech is. Some examples […]Read More »
Category: Grammar & Style
Grammar: Is Air-Conditioning Hyphenated, Unhyphenated, or Open?
According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary: Air-conditioning, when used as a noun, is hyphenated. The house has air-conditioning. Air conditioner, a noun, is open. The air conditioner is on the fritz. Air-conditioned: Both as an adjective and a verb is hyphenated. The air-conditioned room. Air-condition a building. The above article is an update. Back when I originally wrote this article (June 14, 2013), […]Read More »
Grammar: Thank You. No, Thank You!
Should you write thank-you (hyphenated) or thank you (open)? Well, that depends on your meaning. There are actually two ways to write thank you. No, seriously. I promise. Thank you, when used as a phrase, is two words. By phrase, I mean a spoken or written expression of gratitude. For example: “Thank you so much […]Read More »
Grammar: Daresay or Dare Say?
Daresay—is it one word or two? Here’s a crazy little thing that you might not know: it’s one word. Yes, that’s right. It’s one of those words you don’t hear all that often anymore, but it’s a lot of fun. I always picture myself saying it with a very proper British accent, and it makes […]Read More »
Grammar: Past Perfect Tense Is Perfectly Okay (do NOT delete all your hads)
I had a question from a friend tonight about the had in past perfect tense. She was wondering if she should remove the hads as she “dislikes unnecessary words.” This is the sound of tires squealing and my jaw hitting my desk. Had is not an unnecessary word. Not to pick on my friend Betty (not her […]Read More »
Grammar: Pronoun Antecedents—Make Sure Your Readers Aren’t Confused
Pronouns are wonderful tools—they keep our sentences from being repetitive and are super versatile. In a way, they’re like a shortcut on a computer. You know those little icons on your desktop that point to an application but aren’t the program itself? Likewise, pronouns are stand-ins for a noun. But in order for a pronoun […]Read More »
Grammar: Verb Tenses and Sequencing of Action
Verb tenses can be tricky when you’re trying to sequence action in your manuscript. Depending on how you phrase a sentence, the actions can be simultaneous rather than sequential. Consider the following example. She finished cleaning the kitchen when the doorbell rang. That reads that she finished cleaning the kitchen at the same time that the doorbell […]Read More »
Style Choice for Writers: Should You Capitalize or Lowercase Names of Dances?
Characters dancing comes up pretty often in fiction. There are nights out clubbing with friends, weddings, heck, sometimes characters just start doing the Macarena in their kitchen. And that inevitably leads to the question of how that should be written. Capitalized? In quotes? Italics? All lowercase? That last option definitely doesn’t seem right. This question […]Read More »
Grammar: Collective Nouns—Singular or Plural?
Grammar Question Are group nouns treated as singular or plural? That depends on a couple of things. First is whether you’re using American or British grammar rules. And then the next question is whether or not the group is acting as a unit. I’ll never forget when I was a kid and first realized that […]Read More »
Grammar: Commas with Dependent Phrases and Clauses
Dependent phrases and clauses usually take a comma when they’re at the beginning of a sentence but not when they’re at the end, especially if they’re adverbial (describing when, how, or where). For example: If I go to the store, I need to take my wallet.BUTI need to take my wallet if I go to […]Read More »