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Blog Posts

Grammergency #2: Apostrophes Gone Wild!

Posted by Annie Tucker on December 19, 2014 at 5:30pm 0 Comments

The holidays are upon us once again. If you’ve already sent out your annual greeting cards, congratulations for being so organized. If you haven’t, well, neither have I. Either way, ’tis the season for punctuation anxiety, because this is one of the only times of year when people are forced to ponder the correct way to form the plural of their last name (and then mail out three hundred printed versions of it). More often than not, the confusion surrounding this subject results in a sea of incorrect apostrophes just begging to be put out of their misery. And that’s why I’m here: to ensure that whether you’re a Johnson, a Jones, or a Jiménez, you know how to put your family’s best grammatical face forward.

The Basics

Let’s say your last name is Johnson. Lucky you—all you have to do is…

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Grammergency #6: Help! I Need an Editor

Posted by Annie Tucker on February 17, 2015 at 10:30am 8 Comments

Last week, I spent four days at the San Francisco Writers Conference, meeting with fiction and nonfiction authors in various stages of the writing and publishing process. One of the most frequent questions people asked me was, “What does an editor do, and what kind of editor do I need?” So I thought I’d dedicate this week’s Grammergency post not to a specific grammatical issue but to breaking down the general title of editor into three distinct roles.

Developmental Editor

Whether you are in the midst of writing a book or have a complete first draft, a developmental editor is the first kind of professional editor you should consult. Developmental editors help authors address all of the big-picture aspects of good storytelling, including structure, sequencing, pacing, scene and…

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Grammergency #10: Who’s Zoomin’ Whom?

Posted by Annie Tucker on April 13, 2015 at 11:00am 1 Comment

Virtually every time I log on to my Twitter page, I try to avoid looking at the upper-right-hand corner, where the words “Who to follow” appear. Is there no one at this multibillion-dollar company, I wonder, who can add one little “m” to turn this grammatical error into the correct version of the phrase: “Whom to follow”? I guess not. That’s why I want to give you a quick tip this week on when to use “who” and when to use “whom”—so that if you ever found your own tech start-up, you can help teach your users good language skills while you make your millions.

“Who” Versus “Whom”: The Breakdown

“Who” is a nominative form, used as a subject—e.g., “Who are you?” and “Who’s calling?” and “The boy who cried wolf.” “Whom” is…

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Grammergency #15: The Pronoun Predicament

Posted by Annie Tucker on June 23, 2015 at 10:30am 1 Comment

I recently got an email asking me which of the following sentences is grammatically correct:

“As we walked past the house, neither Mr. Smith nor his daughter were in the yard”

or:

“As we walked past the house, neither Mr. Smith nor his daughter was in the yard.”

The second sentence, which uses “was,” is the correct one, but beyond that, this exchange got me thinking about a larger pattern I’ve been noticing: the pairing of singular antecedents with plural modifiers. These erroneous combinations are everywhere, from TV shows to advertisements to books, and today I’m going to talk about why they don’t work.

Either, Neither, and None

“Either,” “neither,” and “none” are all singular pronouns, meaning “the one or the other,” “not the one or the…

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Community Blog

Rachel Dolezal and Satan. What fascinates me about her story.

The story of Rachel Dolezal fascinated me. I'm not interested in delving into the ethical questions. I'm more interested in the story,--capitol Story-- and where researching it has taken me.

Most of us know the outline of Dolezal's story: she seems to have painted herself black (literally) but only after her parents adopted four younger children of color, after she attended a predominantly African-American college for grad school, after she married a Black man, gave birth to a…

My Friends the Beta Readers

As a former writer of screenplays, and a standup comic, I'm not afraid of feedback. One of my screenplays improved when a reader at a major Hollywood studio lambasted it. Her complaint was that a major character had done a very bad thing and the one he did it to didn't exact any revenge. I'd briefly thought about that when I was writing but decided it would result in a bitter ending. She further explained, "If it's funny, the audience will forget it's mean." She was right and I changed the…

An Encounter with Yeshua, by Isabelle Esling

When Isabelle Esling met Yeshua, He tremendously changed her life.

Here is her story of the life-changing encounter. "Yeshua is a very special person. In fact, there is nobody like Him. Yeshua’s heart loves unconditionally. He doesn’t care about your…

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