Tag: grammar

Self-driving Cars and Avocado Toast: Welcome to AP Stylebook 2017

These are the days that we grammar freaks live for!* The Associated Press Stylebook 2017 is shaking things up with 200 changes, some of them major changes. The internet (lowercase i) is buzzing with venom as traditional grammarists duke it out with progressive grammarists, using well-written and carefully punctuated insults, while trolls stoke the fire with deliberate misspellings. It’s a maaaaaad house!

When and When Not to Hyphenate

Do you know why high-heeled shoes get a hyphen, but running shoes do not? Why the president-elect gets a hyphen, but the vice president elect does not? What if I told you that the white-and-gold dress was also blue and black? Some people think hyphenating is random, that whatever looks right is right. Sorry, but no. We have rules. We can’t just let people hyphenate all over the place, willy-nilly. But I’ve got your back. I’ll walk you through this.

Avoiding Bias when Writing Descriptors

One of the biggest changes to American English in recent years is an emphasis on persons first. That is, we no longer define human beings by their descriptors. I’m not talking about Political Correctness. I’m talking about grammar.

Functional Shifting in Grammar: Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Hi Writer Peeps! Today’s blog is about words and phrases that usually identify as one part of speech, but step out and play another role from time to time. I like to think of these as “transgrammars.” Other grammarians–stuffy sorts–call them functional shifts. The… Continue Reading “Functional Shifting in Grammar: Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

It’s not morality, people. It’s just grammar.

It goes like this: Grammar bully jumps on a writer who makes a grammatical error or even a simple typo. Then (and often in that very first criticism), the bully makes a mistake–because only God is perfect. That prompts other crazed grammar bullies to jump in with their clubs and torches, until the whole venomous rant culminates in the original poster apologizing, deleting, and questioning her career choice. Over a comma.

FAQs on Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction

If you write fiction, you want to bookmark this blog for reference. And if you don’t find the answers you need here, feel free to ask your questions in the comment section, and I will answer.

Open Letter to a Grammar Cop

I encountered another Grammar Cop yesterday while checking out my favorite sci-fi fan site. In typical form, the GC showed up and pointed out a failure to punctuate. When others jumped to the commenter’s defense, the GC answered, “I point out errors to help people, because I would want others to correct my mistakes. If I’m doing something incorrectly, I want to know so I can improve.”

I wrote the following letter for that person, and for all other Grammar Cops out there in Internet Land.

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