More Practical Tips from a Grammar Goddess


In the past I’ve referred to myself as “Grammar Nazi” and “Grammar Police,” but I much prefer a recent moniker given to me by one of my talented authors: “guru goddess of editing and formatting,” which I’ve shortened to Grammar Goddess. This title implies benevolence and forgiveness, so it suits me quite well. (Stop laughing.)  And it flows off the tongue better than the other terms. Now I just need to create a logo. 😉

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s continue my “Mind You’re Grammar” series. Part I is HERE and Part II (Deux) is HERE. And HERE is a related post about why you shouldn’t be the only editor of your own work. If you haven’t read them already, go ahead and do so. I’ll wait for you to catch up.

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By Amador Loureiro

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Amador Loureiro

 

All finished? Ready for the next lesson? Here we go then.

  • “They both” and “We both.” When there are two people in a scene and both are doing the same thing, there’s no need to say “they both” or “we both.” There are only two people. The “both” is implied by “they/we.” Like so: “We decided to go to the movies.” Instead of: “We both decided to go to the movies.” You can USE “both” in this case, but it’s redundant, and if I’m your editor, I’m going to edit out that word. Just so you know.
  • “With his hands raised in the air…” Yes…of course…”raised” implies they’re in the air. If he’s going to hold his hands straight in front of him, you would say “With his hands held in front of him, palms facing me…” or some such. Or if his hands were hanging down by his sides, you would say, “His hands were relaxed, his arms hanging at his sides.” See the difference?
  • Awe vs Awww. I see this SO often, my fingers literally itch to edit…even Facebook posts, which is where I see it most often. Since the “e” is silent in any case, I understand how it can be confusing. That’s why I’m talking about it. 🙂 Awe is an expression of reverence. Aw (followed by how ever many ws you want to add (Awwwww) is used to express disgust or disbelief, sentiment or approval.
  • Flea vs flee. I know they sound the same and there’s only one letter difference, so it can be tricky, but a “Flee Market” is so much different than a “Flea Market.” The latter is where you purchase new and gently used goods that other people want to get rid of. The former is a market that I imagine only law enforcement would be interested in attending. (I don’t know why it’s referred to as a “flea” market, since, as far as I know, no one has ever tried to sell actual fleas at a market before.)affect
  • Affect vs Effect. Sneaky words. Only one letter different, but it can make or break the meaning of a sentence. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. Like so: “Together, we can affect the world.” And: “The law goes into effect at midnight.” And because the English language just CAN’T be that simple to understand, there are exceptions for both words. Affect can be a noun: “The suspect displayed no affect when confronted with his victims’ accusations.” And effect, when used with an object, can be a verb (this is usually political terminology): “We will effect those changes next week.”

Got all that? Are there any words and/or phrases you have difficulty with in your writing? Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. 🙂

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