Tag Archives: grammar

Apostrophe Atrocities Appall Aware Authors!

If you’re sick and tired of blog posts about apostrophes, well too bad…here’s another one! Until we learn our lesson and stop making the same mistakes over and over again (we all make ’em), we’re doomed to endure constant lecturing. Even I make mistakes sometimes (I know…shocking!), so please tell me if you spot an error, ’cause — damn it, I have to learn!

don’t know about you, but I am constantly amazed at the amount of apostrophe errors out there. Why is it we, as an English-speaking and -writing culture, can’t get it right? I see mistakes painted on the sides of vehicles, plastered on signs, emblazoned on book covers and sprinkled through articles. Some examples:

images (3)

Do NOT get a tattoo here unless the owner’s name is Tattoo. Even then, bad idea!

20

This person sadly ignored the blatant signs that Tattoo, though a business owner, did not possess the necessary English skills to craft an eloquent indelible message. I say tattoo artists should stick to images.

Dont Look Back Bob Dylan

This may have been a design choice…I get it, but I don’t have to like it!

Ribs Ontario

Oooh, wait a minute…I think they’re telling us the Best Rib is actually in town. Well, I’d like to meat him (see what I did there?)

images (2)

This is completely understandable — the sign printer obviously ran out of apostrophes.

download (2)

Their price for perfection is having to fire the proofreader.

download (1)

At least they reword the invitation underneath as they know something is wrong in the first sentence but aren’t sure what it is, so they kindly clarify things for the reader. And what’s with the time? Another pet peeve — there should be a colon between 9 and 30 and a space before am!!!! I also hate overuse of exclamation marks…but sometimes…I tell ya!

So, I have some questions for you. Should we point out these egregious errors to the perpetrator? Or, is it not our place to be the punctuation police? And who is to blame: the business owner, the copy writer, the proofreader, the printer, the sign installer, the first person to see the printed copy? I imagine the text passes through multiple stages and past several people before being presented to the public. Just carelessness then, I suppose.

The only way we will learn as a society is to keep reminding people the correct way to punctuate, and point out the errors so they aren’t made again. Ask someone else to proofread, or at least double-check your work. Appalling apostrophe application should not be tolerated. So let’s go over the rules again…

Only use apostrophes for:

  1. Contractions. When squishing two words together, the apostrophe is like a bookmark for the missing letters. For example:  “I’d (I would) love to attend the party, but I don’t (do not) like boring conversation or frozen sausage rolls passed off as hors d’oevres.” ( I had to look up how to spell hors d’oevres — French: outside of the main course).
  2. Possessives. To show who or what owns something. For example: “My parents do not make a habit of throwing boring parties. Mother’s quiche is often spoken of the next day and her guests’ palates are discerning, I assure you. I insist you attend Thursday’s party.”
  3. Abbreviations. For example: “Well, excuse me! I would hate to upset you ’cause your parents are terrible hosts! They haven’t thrown a good party since the ’70s!” (note there is NO apostrophe required after ’70 as it is a plural word — 1970s, nineteen seventies).

* TIP: When typing an apostrophe, make sure it is the apostrophe– the curly quote mark or straight quote mark ( ’ or ‘ ), and try and pay attention to the way the apostrophe faces. It is NOT an opening quote, but an END quote  not ‘.

Apostrophe use

Now there are odd rules, and exceptions, and even preferential treatment for apostrophes. E.g. an apostrophe can help clarify things as in: Mind you P’s and Q’s — it just looks better with apostrophes, though they are not needed.

It is interesting to note that the creator of Mother’s Day wanted the apostrophe inserted before the ‘r’ although there are three usage camps (Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day and Mothers Day). So, my final piece of advice is to look it up if in doubt, or ask a superlative editor like me…or is it myself?

Leave your comments or questions below, and PLEASE point out any errors, because we all need reminding sometimes!

Lay Vs. Lie: Let’s Lay This Matter to Rest!

Re-blogged from ESL Library.com –>> http://bit.ly/1jFmnrQ
By Tanya Trusler

You may want to lie down to read this @lancearmstrong!

All languages have their confusing words…words that sound the same, look the same, or have the same meaning. Especially confusing are words that have similar forms (for example, in different verb tenses) but are not used in exactly the same way (the present and past tense of “read,” with two different pronunciations, comes to mind). In my opinion, the irregular verbs “lay” and “lie” rank at the top of the list in terms of confusing forms and usage.These words are a particular pet peeve of mine…because I can never keep them straight! I have probably looked these two words up more often while teaching and editing than any other words in the English language. I hope that by writing out the rules here that we will sort them out, together, once and for all! Continue reading Lay Vs. Lie: Let’s Lay This Matter to Rest!

Apostrophe (’) Atrocities Appall Aware Authors

If you’re sick and tired of blog posts about apostrophes, well too bad…here’s another one! Until we learn our lesson and stop making the same mistakes over and over again, we’re doomed to endure constant lecturing. Even I make mistakes sometimes (I know…shocking!), so please tell me if you spot an error, ’cause — damn it, I have to learn!

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly amazed at the amount of apostrophe errors out there. Why is it we, as an English-speaking and writing culture, can’t get it right? I see mistakes painted on the sides of vehicles, plastered on signs, emblazoned on book covers and sprinkled through articles. Some examples:

images (3)

Do NOT get a tattoo here unless the owner’s name is Tattoo. Even then, bad idea!

20

This person sadly ignored the blatant signs that Tattoo, though a business owner, did not possess the necessary English skills to craft an eloquent indelible message. I say tattoo artists should stick to images.

Dont Look Back Bob Dylan

This may have been a design choice…but it was a bad one!

Ribs Ontario

Oooh, wait a minute…I think they’re telling us the Best Rib is actually in town. Well, I’d like to meat him (see what I did there?)

images (2)

This is completely understandable — the sign printer obviously ran out of apostrophes.

download (2)

Their price for perfection is having to fire the proofreader.

download (1)

At least they reword the invitation underneath as they know something is wrong in the first sentence but aren’t sure what it is, so they kindly clarify things for the reader. And what’s with the time? Another pet peeve — there should be a colon between 9 and 30 and a space before am!!!! I also hate overuse of exclamation marks, but sometimes…I tell ya!

So, I have some questions for you. Should we point out these egregious errors to the perpetrator? Or, is it not our place to be the punctuation police? And who is to blame: the business owner, the copy writer, the proofreader, the printer, the sign installer, the first person to see the printed copy? I imagine the text passes through multiple stages and past several people before being presented to the public. Just carelessness then, I suppose.

The only way we will learn as a society is to keep reminding people the correct way to punctuate, and point out the errors so they aren’t made again. Appalling apostrophe application should not be tolerated. So let’s go over the rules again…

Only use apostrophes for:

  1. Contractions. When squishing two words together, the apostrophe is like a bookmark for the missing letters. For example:  “I’d (I would) love to attend the party, but I don’t (do not ) like boring conversation or frozen sausage rolls passed off as hors d’oevres.” ( I had to look up hors d’oevres French: outside of the main course).
  2. Possessives. To show who owns what. For example: “My parents do not make a habit of throwing boring parties. Mother’s quiche is often spoken of the next day and her guests’ palates are discerning, I assure you. I insist you attend Thursday’s party.”
  3. Abbreviations. For example: “Well, excuse me! I would hate to upset you ’cause your parents are terrible hosts! They haven’t thrown a good party since the ’70s!” (note there is NO apostrophe required after ’70 as it is a plural word — 1970s, nineteen seventies).

Now there are odd rules, and exceptions, and even preferential treatment for apostrophes. It is interesting to note that the creator of Mother’s Day wanted the apostrophe inserted before the ‘r’ although there are three usage camps (Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day and Mothers Day). So, my final piece of advice is to look it up if in doubt, or ask a superlative editor like me…or is it myself?

Leave your comments or questions below, and PLEASE point out any errors, because we all need reminding sometimes!

Before You Publish, Edit That Shit!

Image

Self-publishing is an incredible adventure filled with pitfalls, mountains and shit storms. So, when my first book is eventually published, I will pat myself on the back and thank those who helped, and forgive any errors I may have made. Because, with each book, I will learn from my mistakes and sneak up on that elusive noun called perfection.

Along the way I have found blogs that unraveled the mysteries of the internet, and tweets and posts that supported me through digital trials and tribulations. I am not too techy — but eager to learn — and sometimes I feel like a over-excited puppy tripping over its own feet and rolling in its own pee.

I want to share one website with all you writers out there who need reminding of the simple, but beautiful, art of editing when buried under mounds of programming issues, formatting errors and online horrors. I found heaps of helpful advice from Write Into Print. Click below for a series of tips on self-editing that are a pleasure to read as much as they are a gentle reminder to get your shit together before you ask people to read your book! And, as always, it is a good idea to let someone else edit your creation before launching it into the ether.

Write Into Print —> http://bit.ly/1dtAwQp