Last week the Oxford comma made big news: a Maine trucking company was forced to pay overtime after the lack of a comma in a law was interpreted in favor of the truckers. Here is the blog post that talks about that article.
I researched a bit and found that there are several famous stories where punctuation has been crucial to interpretation of a law.
First, there is the “comma defense.” Was it going to be life in prison or the death penalty for Clifford L. Robinson? The federal sentencing code reads, “. . . death or life in prison, or a fine or both . . .” A fine for murder? Read more…
You see, the Oxford comma isn’t just a punctuation mark that academics, writers, and grammar trolls argue about. It’s not just something that gets you hundreds – thousands – of likes or shares on social media.
After two years and two novels published, I’d like to share my top tips for new authors, with the hope that my experiences will save you time and minimize stress! Feel free to comment and/or add your thoughts!
Good editorial advice is precious. The editorial process can be long and painful, but a good editor will skillfully fine-tune your story so it resonates with readers. When faced with… [more]
Fair use allows you to use someone’s copyrighted work without permission. However, invoking fair use is not a straightforward matter. Before you use any part of anyone else’s copyrighted material – even for quotation purposes – you have to consider the risks that are involved. After all, would YOU like someone else to use YOUR copyrighted material without asking first?
Grammar can be pretty funny. Whoever thought grammar was serious business hasn’t looked at some of the cartoons and memes on Facebook! And they obviously haven’t attended one of my workshops!
One of the more humorous gaffes that occurs in grammar (mostly in written language) is the misplaced (and sometimes dangling) modifier. These are often hard to find and easy to miss — whether you are the writer or the reader — but when you do find them . . .
I think I have always spoken with pretty good grammar. However, I do remember when I was a little kid, I thought the past tense of bring was brang, and the present perfect tense (past participle form) was have brung. My parents, who spoke fairly well, told me that it was brought and have brought.
I haven’t heard too many people say brang and brung lately, but…
Flat adverbs? Is this yet another grammatical thing we need to know about? Well, yes and no, but it isn’t difficult.
Let’s start at the beginning. Adverbs are the part of speech that “describe” verbs. They usually tell how or when or to what extent. And they can also describe adjectives or other adverbs. And to review, adjectives are the part of speech that usually describe nouns (or pronouns), tellingwhat kind. Here are some examples of adverbs:
He talks quietly. (Quietly is an adverb that tells how he talks.)
We will leave soon. (Soon is an adverb that tells when we will leave.)
He talks extremely quietly. (Extremely is an adverb describing another adverb – quietly – that tells to what extent.)
She is really pretty. (Here, really is an adverb describing the adjective pretty, telling to what extent.)
You have probably noticed that many (probably most) adverbs…
You’ve read all the great editing books, went through the manuscript at least a dozen times, fixed the largest gaping plot holes and checked your grammar (manually). The beta readers have even given their blessing. Think your epic novel is finally ready? Before you hit the send button, check out these ten pointers to ensure your novel is really ready for publication…
We released our first ebook resource today Formatting Ebook-Friendly Word Documents & Manuscripts, a handy guide which addresses the issues that can come from using Word content as a source for ebooks. MS Word is a powerful program overall and an easy to use word-processor but it wasn’t designed as a tool to prepare content for ebooks, so there’s a number of normal practices and methods authors employ using Word features which appear perfectly fine in Word, but can lead to problems down the line when the content is used as a source for ebooks. This guide helps you keep your content clean of hidden dangers! It’s aimed at both beginners and seasoned Word users.