The apostrophe indicates that a letter is missing – as in that’s, can’t, who’s (who is), there’s (there is), could’ve, fish'n'chips… One school of thought claims that all apostrophes indicate missing letters, and this alone should inform our use of them."But what about possessives?" I hear you protest (those of you who are still awake). Merriam-Webster puts … Continue reading Apostrophic Error’s.
Dialogue can be tricky. If you want to make your characters’ conversations sparkle, there is plenty of good advice on the internet. But first, tidy up basics, like punctuation and speech tags, that can distract from your brilliant banter. This is a checklist to help you dust off your dialogue ready for that final polish that … Continue reading Tell It Like It Is
What a comma CAN’T do ‘Not commas again’, I hear you groan. Well... yes, because I promised (or threatened) a post about semicolons. Semicolons step in where commas (should) fear to tread. Editors frown when two independent clauses (or complete sentences, if you prefer) are joined by a comma. They call this a comma splice... WRONG … Continue reading Where Commas Fear to Tread
How are you managing with my comma compilation so far? Needless to say, there is more. Some words, such as who, which, and whose, bring comma-plications of their own. Essential or nonessential information? Whether you use a comma or not often depends on whether the clause is essential to the sentence, or nonessential. For instance… … Continue reading Comma Conventions, Part 3
I started making notes about commas after a former colleague asked for help with a job application. I made notes for him on my edits and when I wasn’t sure why I wanted to change something, I checked online. That was when my investigation ran away with itself; there was much more to commas than … Continue reading Continuing Commas, Part 2: Comma Categories
Do you remember when they told you at school that commas indicate a pause in the sentence? Wrong! (Okay – maybe it was only primary school…) I have a piece of editing software. (Mine is ProWritingAid; other editing software is available.) I use it for a final check, and its reports regularly tell me I’ve … Continue reading Comma Conundrums, Part 1: Rotating Sentences and the Oxford Comma
I once thought proofreading might be a suitable retirement occupation, and signed up for an online course. I don’t know why I thought proofreading was for me. At work, whenever I penned an instruction leaflet or drafted an all-staff email, someone would read it through and always – every time – find errors and typos. … Continue reading Absolute Beginners