Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jumping Back In



Photo courtesy of Danny Schreiner.

Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?


My husband’s birthday last week signaled the official end of the holidays in the Berner home. Time to get back into our regular schedules and that means Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 every Wednesday. 

We ended our alphabet series in 2016 with the letter “I,” so let’s jump back in with “J.”


Jealousy, envy


More often than not, jealousy and envy are used synonymously, but according to The Chicago Manual of Style, that’s not correct. 

Jealousy, it states, “connotes feelings of resentment toward another, particularly in matters relating to intimate relationships.” On the other hand, envy, CMS notes, “refers to covetousness of another’s advantages, possessions, or abilities. 

Jibe, jive


Jibe means to shift direction in nautical terms, but it also is the colloquial word for “to agree,” such as in the following example sentence from The Associated Press Stylebook 2016.

Their stories didn’t jibe.

Not their stories didn’t jive, which I’ve heard many times. 

Jive is a jazz and swing music term. It also can mean “deceptive or phony talk,” according to The Bugaboo Review

JPEG, JPG


AP states these common image formats and acronyms for Joint Photographic Experts Group can be used alone with no parenthetical explanation. 

Did you know that is what JPEG stood for? Me either. See? You can learn so much on Editing for Grammarphobes day. 

Judge, judgment


Although judge ends with an “e,” it is not present in judgment. 


Juvenile


Note there is only one “l” in juvenile, not two. 


Happy New Year, my friends. I hope it brings you peace, love, and a whole lot of laughs. Join me next week for some kick-ass “K” words. 




Bio

A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association.



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Christmas Edition




Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



Ho, ho, ho. Today’s Editing for Grammarphobes deals with commonly misspelled or generally confusing words that we hear a lot this time of year. So grab your favorite holiday beverage—peppermint mocha, eggnog, or mulled wine will do just fine—and join me for an Editing for Grammarphobes Christmas.


Is it Season’s Greetings or Seasons Greetings?


This phrase is in the genitive case, which means it is a possessive, so the correct expression is season’s greetings.


‘Tis or t’is?


‘Tis is a contraction of it is. The apostrophe takes the place of the missing letters, so the correct form is ‘tis.


How do you spell the name of the red-flowered seasonal plant?


The traditional Christmas plant is called a poinsettia. Yes, there is an "i" near the end, which is seldom pronounced. I try to remember, but always end up saying “poinsetta” anyhow. Everyone does.


What is upsot?


The second verse of “Jingle Bells” is as follows.

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

What the heck does that mean?

Upsot is an alternate form of upset. It means to tip or overturn something. Wow! That Jingle Bells ride is crazier than I thought.


Happy New Year’s or Happy New Year?


The correct greeting is Happy New Year. The possessive should only be used when referring to New Year’s Eve.


Closing out 2016


This will be my last blog of the year. I’m going to take time off to hang out with my family.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. I wish you joy, peace, and love in the new year. xx






References


These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The 'I's Have It




Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



Today, we continue our alphabet series with grammar issues and words that begin with the letter "I." 


In, into


In indicates location, according to the Associated Press Stylebook 2016, whereas into indicates motion. 

Examples

The bear was in the forest.
The bear walked into the cave. 


Incredible, incredulous


Incredible means unbelievable. The Chicago Manual of Style notes it used to colloquially mean astonishing, but I guess not anymore. 

Example

Brownie the bear caught a jumping fish mid-air in his mouth. Incredible!

How many of you learned what incredulous meant by reading any of  Harry Potter series? I sure did. Incredulous means disbelieving or skeptical and was often applied to Hermione Granger, one of my favorite characters. 

Example

Mama bear eyed Brownie incredulously after he told her his story.


Ingenious, ingenuous


CMS notes that while these words are similar in form, they are not in definition. "Ingenious describes what is intelligent, clever, and original." On the other hand, "ingenuous describes what is candid, naive, and without dissimulation," according to the manual.

Examples

The hunter set up his ingenious trap near the tree.
Brownie the bear chuckled at this ingenuous attempt and sauntered away unscathed.


In vitro fertilization


Notice there is no hyphen between in and vitro. This was something I had to be very aware of while writing my first novel, A Whisper to a Scream, when Annie and John decided to try a round of in vitro fertilization to see if they could conceive.


It's, its


It's is the contraction for it is. Its is the possessive form of it. 

Example

It's a well-known fact bears are intelligent, except for a professional football team that insists on keeping Jay Cutler on its roster.



References


These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Which, What, Who?





Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



Today, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 takes on the questions from Fi and angel011 from my previous blog. 


Fi wrote: 

Here's a question for you. I tend to use dashes (-) in my blog posts to link ideas. Is this correct or should I be using something else?


Hi, Fi. 

I consulted three sources for your answer.  

The Associated Press Stylebook 2016 states dashes are used “to signal an abrupt change in thought” and sudden breaks in a sentence, along with formulating a series within a phrase. It cautions against “overusing dashes to set off phrases when commas would suffice.”

Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition dictates dashes should be used “to separate a dependent clause from an independent clause.” 

Strunk and White’s Elements of Style advises the following. “Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption, and to announce a long appositive summary.”

It sounds like commas would be your best bet to link ideas. 


angel011 wrote:

"Which" vs. "That" and "Which" vs. "What". When to use each one?

Hi, angel011.

“Which” or “that” is a tricky situation that confounds everyone. I learned they are interchangeable, except “which” must be preceded by a comma, while “that” doesn’t need one. Here are the experts' opinions.

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, “In polished American prose, ‘that’ is used restrictively to narrow a category or identify a particular item being talked about; ‘which’ is used nonrestrictively — not to narrow a class or identify a particular item, but to add something to an item already identified.”

CMS provides the following examples.

Any building that is taller must be outside the state.
Alongside the officer trotted a toy poodle, which is hardly a typical police dog. 

Strunk and White offers these sentences to illustrate the distinction.

“The lawn mower that is broken is in the garage. (Tells which one)”
“The lawn mower, which is broken, is in the garage. (Adds a fact about the only mower in question)”

Interestingly, CMS adds a caveat. “In British English, writers and editors seldom observe the distinction between the two words.” Readers from the UK, is this true?

I found a great explanation from Mignon Fogarty a.k.a. Grammar Girl on the “what” vs. “which” issue . Click here to read the full article what she has to say. (It’s near the bottom.) Here’s an excerpt from “Bring it or take it?” in the Chicago Tribune online,  December 15, 2010.

"'Which' is generally the best choice when the list of possible answers is limited, and 'what' is generally the best choice for open-ended questions," Fogarty says. "But many questions don't neatly fall into one of these two categories. For example, the 'What actor ... ?' question in Charley's trivia game has so many possible answers that some people may not consider it limited in the same way as a question asking 'Which of these three colors do you like best?'

"Also, the rule is not widely known or followed. Seven out of nine style guides I checked didn't mention it, and although the Chicago Manual of Style states that 'which is usually selective or limited,' the authors also note that either 'which or 'what' is fine when you're referring to a person, animal, or thing."

Sorry, but “what” versus “which” is a little fuzzy at best, angel011.

Hope this helps. If you have other questions, please put them in the comments below or email me at karen@karenberner.com. 







Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Thanksgiving Edition





Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



I tried to find grammar issues with Thanksgiving words, but there are very few besides cornucopia, which is spelled with a surprising “u,” and that the plural of potato takes an “e,” so it is potatoes

When I was young, I loved the story of Thanksgiving. Our teachers omitted many crucial details about the zealousness and cruelty of the Pilgrims, and I was led to believe everything was lovely as the pilgrims and Native Americans came together for a unity meal. It’s irresponsible to whitewash history, so click here to read what really happened.

Ugh.

As an adult, I’ve come to fashion the holiday as a time to give thanks for what we have. 

Being a writer and editor means I get to work from home, which is pretty great most of the time. The one drawback is that it can be a little lonely with no lunches with co-workers or morning conversations while pouring coffee.

That’s where you come in, dear readers. I’m so grateful for you.

The response to my resurrecting Editing for Grammarphobes has been wonderful. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series and am very happy to be once again spreading correct grammar around the Internet. 

Reading your comments is like stopping by your office desk for a quick chat. 

I’ve received a few grammar questions and am delighted to have helped. Please keep them coming!

Hope you have a wonderful long holiday weekend. Next week, our alphabet series continues with the letter “I.” 

All the best,

Karen








Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: What the H...?



Graphic courtesy of Irregular Webcomic.



Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?


This week, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 explores various grammar and word issues that begin with the letter “H.” And please remember "an" before the word historic. It's not a historic (fill in the rest of the sentence), it's an historic (fill in the rest of the sentence). Grammar lovers everywhere thank you.

Hangar/hanger


Hangar refers to airplane hangars, while hanger spelled with an “e” is the word for clothes hangers.

Hanged/hung


Always a tricky one, hanged is the “past participle of hang only in its transitive form when referring to the killing of a human being by suspending the person by the neck,” according to the Chicago Manual of Style. However, if the death is not intended or likely, or if the person is suspended by a body part other than the neck, CMS goes on to state, hung is correct. One thing is definitely clear, though. CMS states all inanimate objects are hung, such as pictures or Christmas stockings. 

Home in


Yes, that is the correct phrase. Although frequently mistaken as “hone in,” home in refers to what homing pigeons do, getting closer to the target, CMS notes. Besides, hone means to sharpen, so it doesn’t really work in this circumstance.

Hoard/horde


CMS states a hoard is a “supply, usually secret and often valuable.” It can also be a verb meaning “to amass.” Horde is a large crowd, although you might be familiar with the word from its historical reference of The Golden Horde, the western part of the Mongol empire, which flourished from the mid-13th century to the end of the 14th century.

Hopefully


Literally means “in a hopeful manner,” but that archaic definition seems long gone, as more and more the newer meaning of “I hope” is used, much to the bane of many a grammar nazi.





Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Questions?





Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



I recently received an email from a writer friend of mine. I thought it could be something you might run into with your own writing, so I'm sharing it here today.


Question



Hi Karen,

I'm really enjoying your Grammarphobe posts, but wondered whether you could help me out in advance with a "W" problem! 

I'm getting mixed opinions on whether it is Wi-Fi, WiFi or wifi. Maybe all three are correct in the right place, but this if for a novel. Can you help?

Many thanks in advance.

Mel 

Mel Parish


Answer



It's Wi-Fi. Always, no matter what you are writing.

Hope that helps.


If you have any questions, drop me an email at karen@karenberner.com.