Category Archives: Editing Facts
In today’s post, we are going to talk about two sets of gender-specific words… Words that mean the same dang thing, but have different spellings for male and female. It is just one more thing that grammar does to try and trip us up. This one is for you, Michael.
The first words are Blond and Blonde.
Traditionally, blond is used for male and blonde is used for female. However, in the US, blond is more gender neutral and can be used for both. Blonde, however, is only used for female.
The second words are Fiancé and Fiancée.
Until I started editing, I had no idea about this. I would swear up and down that I never saw it in a book, and I have been voraciously reading since I was 5. I was sucking down Harlequin romance at ten years old. I had no idea that there was any other way to spell fiancé, except the way I just spelled it. Imagine my surprise to learn that there was. 😀
A fiancé is a man engaged to be married.
A fiancée is a woman engaged to be married.
And that is all there is to it. If you can remember it, that is. Sometimes, I truly believe they make grammar hard just to mess with people. If you are in need of an editor to help you with your current grammar woes, you can find my packages, references, and prices HERE.
Today we are going to talk about something that makes me…
Laugh every single time I see it. Not because I am laughing at the person who wrote it… Nope! It is because I am so guilty of shuddering when I see it, but saying it when I am talking. I blame it on being southern. Actually, I blame a lot of what comes out of my mouth on living in Alabama. Not that it is actually Alabama’s fault.
Seriously, if you could hear me talk sometimes, you might wonder why in the world you would put your manuscript in my hands. I admit it. However, talking is nothing like editing. It is not throwing your hands up in frustration and telling your kids, “You are acting like you ain’t got no sense!” (I’m so guilty of that one.) Editing is work, just like any other. Talking is just words that come out of your mouth. Sometimes you think about them, and sometimes you don’t. Regardless, I am getting off subject.
Ok, back to the topic at hand.
I will make this easy on you with pictures and everything.
DRAG is the present tense. It means to pull something, as well as a lot of other stuff that we don’t really care about right now. For this Random Editing Fact, to pull something is all we need to know.
First off, this picture made me laugh out loud.
The caveman drags the girl from the cave.
The caveman is dragging the girl from the cave.
The caveman dragged the girl from the cave.
The caveman drug the girl from the cave.
This picture made me laugh even harder…
And that’s it, people. Always dragged and never drug. It is as easy as that.
Well, at least one pet peeve. It is mine, and to me, it is a big one.
You ready for those words yet? I can hear you saying, “Just get on with it!”
There they are. They seem so innocent.
Everyone says it. “Get your shoes off of my bed!” and “I can’t get you off of my mind!”
Today, I am here to tell you that the OF is unnecessary. You don’t need it, I don’t like it, so let’s all just get along. You can still even enjoy The Rolling Stones “Get Off Of My Cloud” and Lauryn Hill’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”. You will just know that the OF does not need to be there, and that somewhere, I am shuddering over the lyrics.
Let’s just give a few examples:
Can you see how much smoother it is without the unnecessary OF?
There really isn’t anything to be said about the OF rule.
Just that it is overused in grammar, and that off of makes this editor cringe.
Tell me… these make you shudder just a little bit now, don’t they?
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Random Editing Facts are short snippets I will place on the blog every now and then. Nothing big or fancy. Enjoy!
When writing, try to always remember this simple rule, and to implement it for every action.
(Yes, I’m pretty sure that ^^^ is a bodybuilder saying, but it works!)
You cannot pick something up, without eventually putting it down. You cannot walk through a locked door, without unlocking it. You cannot take a drink of something, unless you have a drink in your hand. You cannot walk outside, and then magically be back in your house, without the act of coming inside. You cannot walk up steps, without walking back down, unless you take an elevator. It goes for other things as well. Your character cannot be looking out the window at the wet, rainy day and walk outside right after the rain has stopped, sit on the grass, and not get her butt wet. That is unrealistic. Make that scene shine for you, or don’t use it. Don’t just choose to leave out the details that are getting in the way.
Also, another thing that people need to watch out for. If you have both hands full, say your character has a book in one hand and a toddler in the other arm, that character cannot grab a cup of hot coffee. What is the character going to grab it with? That elusive third arm? We all sometimes wished we had one, but unless it is an alien book, it just doesn’t work.
Your character needs to put something down, before they can pick something else up.
Do you get my drift? Order of events, even the smallest of details, are important. Readers notice these things. They leave negative reviews because of them. They want things to make sense. Even if it is a fantasy land, readers want the smaller things acknowledged. In Harry Potter, even he still had to say Lumos to make the light on his wand come on, and Alohomora to unlock a door.
Hope this helps someone, somewhere!