Our resident editor Annie Tucker is solving every writer's grammergencies.
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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.
Let’s say your last name is Johnson. Lucky you—all you have to do is…Continue
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.
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…Continue
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…Continue
“As we walked past the house, neither Mr. Smith nor his daughter were in the yard”
“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…Continue
You know sometimes when moments in life just happen to turn into an impromptu life application lesson? If you don’t, ask my children. It happens a lot. The other night was no exception.
I was standing in the laundry room folding clothes when my seven-year old son walked in. Our laundry room is big, but not that big and he walked in with his Wubble Bubble BallTM. (Some of you may not know what one of these things is, but basically it is this large plastic/rubbery…
Writers hear it all the time – connect with your reader. Give the reader what he wants. Manager her expectations. Don’t confuse them. Surprise them. Keep them interested.
These are all worthy goals, but they’re after the fact. First, you write, then you get feedback. Feedback lets you gauge how well your getting your message across, and whether you can keep someone interested enough to go on turning the pages.
Like everything else in life, feedback can be good, bad,…
Posted new edition of All Art Friday.
Spotlights: Katzen Arts Center's Hiroshima-Nagasaki exhibit, Rome Prize applications, National Gallery of Canada online magazine, multidisciplinary artist Fanny Allie, 'The Artful Project' series.
The roundup highlights exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (ceramist Christine Nofchissey McHorse), The Clay Studio (summer florals), Art Institute of Chicago (sculptor Charles Ray), and Athenaeum Gallery (group…
concluded in the night
with flapping, hiding,
retreating under white.
do you remember the green house,
mostly also white, i do
that may be finished today.
there was a lull, no
steam left here after that
he had told me that
it all takes time
Ballet! Opera! Guitar?
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