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…
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]
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…
I watch CNN quite a bit . . . and now that it is election season, I also watch MSNBC. Add to that a fair amount of talk radio while I am working. Now, these people are getting paid to talk . . . although it seems as if they are really being paid for what they are saying rather than howthey are saying it (i.e., their grammar). Now, don’t get me wrong. Their grammar is pretty darn good, as is the grammar of the many political pundits and other guests they talk to (well, most of them).
However (you knew there was going to be a BUT), there are a few things I have been hearing lately that are driving me nuts. 1….