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.
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?
Try Grammarly’s plagiarism checker free of charge, because to be original is to show the world that you are capable of greatness.
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!
Putting your manuscript into someone else’s hands is a scary task. With two years’ experience, a BA in English/Literature, and over one hundred edited books, this is where I can help. My pledge is to treat your book with the respect it deserves, working with you to polish your dream into a reality. Everything from proofreads to detailed copy edits, and even money-saving packages, I can give you the best service possible at an affordable price.
Prices & Packages:
.0040 a word for Proofreading
Proofreading is done on a final draft and includes line-by-line correction of spelling, grammar, and minor sentence structure issues. Each proofread receives at least two read throughs before being sent back to the author. This package does not include second edit after author reviews changes.
Anything under 20,000 words is automatically $80.
.0055 a word for Detailed Copy Editing
Copy Editing is done on a final draft and includes detailed, line-by-line editing for sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and, if needed, other issues that do not require major changes, such as plot consistency, character analysis, and style. Each detailed copy edit receives at least two read throughs before being sent back to the author. This package does not include second edit after author reviews changes.
Anything under 20,000 words is automatically $110.
.0075 a word for Detailed Copy Editing & Proofread Package (Recommended)
This is the package I recommend most for every author, as well as my best-selling and best-value package. It also includes a free blurb edit ($25 value). The Detailed Copy Editing and Proofread Package combines both services. This package has two different steps. First, Detailed Copy Editing will be done to a manuscript and sent back to the author. The author will then make all the changes they need to based on offered suggestions. Once the author has finished this stage and sent it back, a thorough Proofread will be done on the finished product. Please refer to the above explanations for each service to see what they entail. This is the most cost-effective package if you desire both a detailed copy edit as well as a final proofread after suggested changes have been made. This package gives the most-polished end product. It is the author’s responsibility to supply the blurb at the time of the edit.
Anything under 20,000 words is automatically $150.
$25 Flat Rate for Blurb Editing & Critique
Need help making your blurb great? Need a fresh pair of eyes to check for errors and readability? This is your option. This is a flat-rate service with a two-day turnaround.
$25 Flat Rate for Small Jobs
Almost anything under 1000 words, such as query letters. (Query letter format)
BA from Grand Canyon University in English/Literature.
Graduated with Honors: Cum Laude.
Two+ Years’ Experience.
I have edited, compiled, and published four anthologies through Indie Style Press, which is a compilation of Editing Services by Cynthia Shepp & Phycel Designs by Rene Folsom, Author.
Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors & Readers, Paranormal Anthology with a TWIST, Stalkers: A Collection of Thriller Stories, and Stardust: A Futuristic Romance Collection. You can find these on Amazon.
Terms and Conditions:
I occasionally update my Terms and Conditions. It is a client’s responsibility to occasionally glance at it to see if anything has changed.
MANUSCRIPTS must be submitted in Times New Roman, size 12 font, and double spaced. If they are not, I will change them. It makes the editing process cleaner and easier.
I DO NOT edit non-fiction books. However, I will edit non-fiction articles, website material, press releases, and other such subject matter. I am also not familiar with UK grammar. I will edit UK books, but only if they are being completely Americanized. If you want to keep some UK tone, (colour instead of color, sayings, etc) that is fine. You just have to make sure to tell me. However, any and all grammar related issues I do recognize will be Americanized.
GRAPHIC and/or gratuitous rape scenes are not accepted. Books containing them are subject to IMMEDIATE return without refund or completion.
HOWEVER, books that contain rape are not an automatic no. A girl trying to get over being raped, a fade-to-black rape scene that is integral to the story, a book about rape that inspires hope in victims, a crime book that manages to impress the violence without making it graphic and pleasingly sexual, etc… would all be considered and most likely accepted. Please just explain the scenes to me. Erotica books that use rape as something pleasingly sexual, or any book that does, or any book that describes rape in graphic, violent, sexual, scene-by-scene detail, will not be accepted and if in a book I accepted without my knowledge, will be returned with NO REFUND OR COMPLETION.
AUTHORS are responsible for getting their books to me by the date agreed upon. If I have not received it within two days of the agreed upon date, I will move on to the next in line, unless I have an email from the author and we agree on other terms.
RUSH jobs, which I very rarely take, will incur a fee. It will depend on length and time given to finish. The start amount is $100, and it goes up from there.
PLEASE be aware that books that need excessive editing outside of the package picked may lead to extra fees. The fees will be discussed with the author before any work is done. If while editing the book, excessive editing outside the package becomes a problem, progress will halt while the author is contacted. This rarely happens. However, I have had a book for proofread that the sample was great, but when I received the book, only the first two chapters were acceptable. The rest needed more of a developmental edit. This is the reason I ask for middle-of-the-book samples, although that is not always a foolproof method.
PAYMENT is accepted up front. An invoice is sent through PayPal when I receive the manuscript. No work will be done until invoice is paid in full. PayPal fees are calculated and added to final bill. A $100 cancellation fee will be charged if the client cancels their time slot less than a week before their date. A $50 cancellation fee will be charged if the client cancels their time slot less than two weeks before their date. This fee is strictly enforced. *If an author contacts me and makes other arrangements to reschedule or cancel before the two-week mark, there is no fee. Be respectful of time and let me know two weeks in advance if you cannot keep your spot.
HOLIDAYS and holiday weekends DO NOT count toward the estimated amount of time given to edit your manuscript. Those times are spent with my family. We always take a vacation during the week of Thanksgiving. Please be respectful of that time. If any of those fall during your time period, please be aware of this. Example: If you are given a time period over Christmas, please be aware the holidays will interfere with the edit time. Times given are estimates unless completely firmed up by way of a pre-order publication date. Sometimes, life happens. Manuscripts are given my complete attention and are turned over in as timely a manner as possible. Please be patient.
***I am NOT a developmental editor. I am a final-draft editor. If you are a FIRST-TIME author who needs extensive help with plot, character development, and flow, I would recommend that you hire a developmental editor to work with you through the different stages of editing.***
I reserve the right to refuse any and all manuscripts at my discretion.
To contact me about availability, questions, or to submit your manuscript, please email me at email@example.com. Please be aware that my schedule fills up quickly. For assurance of a spot, a 4-6 week pre-schedule is necessary.
(Many are not listed due to privacy)
Jason Brant: The Gate, Tartarus, Sheol, The Dark, Devoured, Consumed, Ravaged, Ash, Madness, The Perfect Crime
Marquita Valentine: (NYT and USA Today Best-selling Author) Twice Tempted, Just Desserts, Only For You , True For You, Not Over You, Wish For You, Burn For You, The Request, Be Mine, All the Right Moves, The Deception, Need You Tonight, Love So Hot, Dare Me Once, Love So True, Love So Irrestible, The Forgotten Bride, The Temporary Bride, The Billionaire Bride, Seducing the Billionaire’s Wife
Sawyer Bennett: (USA Today Best-selling Author) Off Course, If I Return, Forever Young, Off Chance, Legal Affairs 1-6, On the Rocks, Make it a Double, Confessions of a Litigation God, Sugar on the Edge, Uncivilized, Off Season, With a Twist, Off Duty, Shaken Not Stirred, Wicked Fall, Clash, Crash, Grind, Yield, Love Uncivilized,
Rene Folsom: Heart You, Voices of the Soul, Eyes of the Soul, Truths of the Soul, Blood of the Soul, Secrets of the Soul, Bind Me, Hearts of the Soul, Shuttered Affections, Exposed Affections, Flatter Me, For Liberty, Adventurous, Tempt, The Wager, Game Changer, Trust, Trapt, The Break, Game On
Shelly Crane: (NYT Best-selling Author) Smash Into You
Tabatha Vargo: (NYT Best-Selling Author) On The Plus Side
Tabatha Vargo & Melissa Andrea: (NYT Best-Selling Authors) The Procedure
Jon Messenger: The Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Card Tricks, Rage
T.L. Frye: The Secret of Magik and Dragons
Rebecca Gober & Courtney Nuckels: Exposing Ele, Surviving Ele, Ending Ele
Magen McMinimy: Blood Claim, Resurrection Stone, Shadowed Memories, Primal Hunger, Immortal Craving, Primal Calling, Immortal Promise, Immortal Blood, Immortal Rapture, Immortal Rising, Wicked Perfection
Tanith Morse: Super Dark 2 and Super Dark 3
Rene Folson & Juli Valenti: Adventurous, Bound, Charming
Hans Cummings: Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy, Zack Jackson & The Hives of Valtra
Rachael James: Hook, Line, and Garter, Crazy B*tch, Baby B*tch
Erika Kathryn: Audie the Angel and the Angel Army, Audie the Angel: Plague
Phil Taylor: White Picket Prisons, 50 Shades of Phil, The Sneaker Tree
Nicholas Andrews: Festival of the Saints, Babyface Fire
Cheyanne Young: Powered
Shelby Fallon: Stealing Grace, Taking Faith
Ryan Casey: The Painting, The Disappearing
Jennifer Foor: Hustle Him
Andris Bear: Angel Unleashed, Demon Undamned, All Wicked’s Eve, Lover’s Lane, Memory Lane, Dead End Lane, Inked
M.L. Ryan: Special Offers, Special Attraction, Special Passage
Nicki Scalise: Prayer for the Dead
Jennifer Clay: The Other Side of Normal
Bart Hopkins: Dead Ends
Michael Loring: Number Eighteen, Say My Name
Dawn Husted: Safe
E.G. Gaddess: Dhampyr Journey
Jim Proctor: Made in the Stars, Veronica Phoenix
G.E. Saturley: The Real Deal
Toni Aleo: (NYT and USA Today Best-Selling Author) Breaking Away, Tangled in the Laces, The Whiskey Prince
Shaun Dowdall: Rebirth (A Thousand Hearts), Second Chance, From Beyond
Sonya Loveday: The Summer I Fell, End Note, If Ever I Fall
Candace Knoebel: Evernight, Everlost
Sonya Loveday & Candace Knoebel: Love Always
Stephanie Summers: Haunting, Awakening
Stephanie Erickson: Unseen, The Dead Room, Unforgiven, Undivided, The Fate
Kyan Yauchler: Homeostasis Lost, Autumn Nation
Katie French: The Brothers, Clay: A Breeder’s Story
Marta Brown: Sun-Kissed Summer
Shelbi Wescott: Virulent Stories
Peter Boland: The Spiral Arm Episodes 2-4
Pete Bauer: Kneel and Pray, Lost and Found
Anthologies: Apocalypse, Twist, Stalkers, and Stardust
Clean Teen Publishing:
Rebecca Gober & Courtney Nuckels: Exposing Ele, Surviving Ele, Ending Ele
Gabrielle Arrowsmith: Concealed in the Shadows, Released from the Darkness, Reduced to Dust
Cindy Saunders: Double Star
Wonderstruck: Various Authors
B.T. Lyons: Heartkeeper, Heartbound
Jon Messenger: Wind Warrior, Flame Caller, Water Shaper, Earth God
Lauren Nicolle Taylor: The Woodlands, The Wall, The Wounded, The Wanted, The Willful (Woodlands Novella), Nora and Kettle
Jennifer Anne Davis: The Key, Red, War, Cage of Deceit
Holly Kelly: Rising, Descending, Avenging
Melissa J. Cunningham: Reluctant Guardian, The Elementalist, The Celestine Sword
Erica Kiefer: Lingering Echoes, Rumors, Vanishing Act
Kelly Risser: Never Forgotten, Current Impressions, Always Remembered, Sea of Memories
Sherry Ficklin: Haunting Zoe, Queen of Someday, Queen of Tomorrow, Queen of Always, Playing With Fire, In Too Deep
Delsheree Gladden: Wicked Power, Wicked Glory
Neil Harris: The Last Orphan, The Harvest, Enslaved
Amanda Strong: The Awakener, Hidden Monster, Holy and the Fallen
Michelle K. Pickett: Finding Willow, Unspeakable, Milayna, Milayna’s Angel, The Innocent
K.C. Finn: A Place Halfway
Sandy Goldsworthy: Aftermath, Aftershock
Renee Shearer: The Hunted, The Forsaken
Shannon Maynard: Wicked Luck, Wicked Fate
Tyler Jolley and Sherry D. Ficklin: Prodigal, Riven
Audrey Greathouse: The Neverland Wars
Jennifer Derrick: Broken Fate
Crimson Tree Publishing:
Alicia Michaels: Secrets (Bionics 3), Spark (Bionics 4), Flame (Bionics 5), Revolt (Bionics 6), The Resistance
Jon Messenger: Brink of Distinction series, Wolves of the Northern Rift, The Blood Thief of Whitten Hall, The Golem of Solomon’s Way
Peggy Martinez: Sweet Contradiction, Perfect Contradiction, Contradiction Cookbook
Julie Wetzel: Kindling Flames 1, 2, 3, 4 (With Chelsea Brimer)
Ranae Glass: Chasing Daybreak, Chasing Midnight
June Stevens: Voodoo Moon
Clean Teen and Crimson Tree Publishing:
We have worked with numerous other editors in the past. There hasn’t been one that has stood out from the crowd for us like Cynthia Shepp has. Cynthia’s edits are not only thorough and accurate, but she offers a personal touch by adding simplified grammar lessons along with her edits to help our authors grow. Her professionalism and desire to go the extra mile make her a notch above the rest. We will continue to use Cynthia for our editing services for many years to come!
I highly recommend working with Cynthia for all of your editing needs. She always goes the extra mile, and catches things that most others wouldn’t in a manuscript. I find her prices reasonable and her work exceptional. I plan to continue to work with Cynthia on future projects. (New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling Author)
For anyone reading this and thinking about hiring Cynthia Shepp, let me tell you to stop waffling around and do it. That’s a decision you won’t regret. Her quality of work is so spectacular that she is now my full time editor. My prose is stronger, my characters more believable, and my stories more plausible because of the fantastic work she has done.
Timely, accurate, professional, and affordable – what more could you ask for?
Like most independent authors, I spent a significant amount of time looking for a quality editor. I tried companies that didn’t live up to my expectation. I found numerous editors who charged far more than Cynthia did but, when compared side-by-side, Cynthia’s editing work was of a far higher quality.
If you’re looking for an editor, you won’t find a better quality for a better price and a quicker turn around. Cynthia is absolutely dedicated to providing the highest quality editorial services. Her editing was so impressive that I’ve even hired her to re-edit novels that I’ve already published, just because she makes my work that much better.
If you’re still on the fence or searching for an editor, hire Cynthia. You won’t be disappointed.
Cynthia just finished a manuscript for me and I cannot even begin to describe how thrilled I am by her work. It was thorough and professionally executed. Her insight into my work was invaluable. I will be using Cynthia for all of my future editing work. I cannot sing her praises loud enough. (USA Today Best-Selling Author)
Let me start by saying that I have worked with a LOT of editors and Cynthia is hands down the best ever. Not only is she first rate at spotting all those little typos and continuity errors that all authors dread but her turn around time is nothing short of miraculous. Throughout working with Cynthia she was always a consummate professional, always keeping me up to date with her progress and, wait for it … she actually delivered the project THREE days earlier than agreed. Cynthia is a truly marvelous editor and I cannot recommend her highly enough. If you are an Indie author concerned about finding a diamond in all the murky waters of sub par editors I can wholeheartedly say that Cynthia is the real deal. A truly first rate editor that I will be recommending to all my friends.
I recently received my first manuscript edited by Cynthia Shepp. I was blown away by the quality of her work. Her editing increased the quality of my writing immeasurably. Her rates gave me an incredible return on my investment and she was fast as well. I could not be more satisfied. I plan to use her again and have no hesitation at all recommending her to others. Thank you, Cynthia!
I’ve worked with other editors before Cynthia, but she is the one I will be going back to. Her feedback was extremely helpful and her communication was great. There are many comments already left here which sum up my feelings for working with her, so I’ll just say: they’re right!
Cynthia is a fabulous editor with a really quick turnaround time. She promised dates to me and they were met with no problem. One thing I really liked about her editing was that she would include the reason why she changed some of my grammar errors, thus enabling me to learn from my mistakes and not make them again. I found that super helpful and it was a way of going above and beyond when editing my novel. I can’t wait to have her edit all of my future novels.
Cynthia was recommended to myself by my cover designer and I must say I was more than impressed by the quality and efficiency of her work! I would definitely recommend her services for editing and I hope to work with her again once my second draft is complete! Wonderful job on my blurb. Thank you very much.
I recently hired Cynthia Shepp to edit my manuscript and to critique my blurb. I was positively thrilled with the results. Not only is Cynthia professional, timely, and affordable, she was also very much committed to bringing out the best in both. I have learned so much from the experience, and I truly believe she has helped me become a better writer. For anyone looking for an editor, I cannot recommend her strongly enough. We have already begun discussing my next project, and I am very much looking forward to working with her in the future. Cynthia, you are fabulous!
Cynthia is fabulous–efficient, professional, and affordable. She met my high expectations on a tight schedule and was delightful to work with. She explains her reasons behind every suggestion (which is a big value to the flighty, anal retentive, worrywarts such as myself). I cannot recommend her enough and will definitely hire her again!
I have been fortunate enough to have three of my short stories chosen to be in Cynthia’s Anthologies and through the course of being chosen I have also had the opportunity to be exposed to her editing abilities. She is exactly what a writer is looking for in an editor! She is thorough, detailed, knowledgeable and interactive. She is looking to make your manuscript the best it can be not only when it comes to correcting the grammar and punctuation, but also the flow and content. She is definitely my first choice when my next novel is finished and I have complete confidence in her ability to make me shine!
Best. Editor. Ever. Seriously. She is fast, good, and friendly. She does an excellent job, without taking your voice out of your work.
If you are thinking of hiring an editor, you can’t do better than Cynthia. A consummate professional, she is thorough, prompt, and a joy to work with. I can’t envision trusting my future manuscripts to anyone else, and you shouldn’t either!
Cynthia edited a short story for me, and I was thrilled with the results. I had thought that the story was well written, having carefully gone over it numerous times. Cynthia’s edits amazed me. She made my work shine. She made rough sections flow beautifully. She suggested changes that made the story better without changing my meaning. Her comments explaining various issues throughout the story were very clear and extremely helpful. I was blown away. Her work is impeccable and her prices are very reasonable. I will never publish another book or story without hiring Cynthia to edit it.
Carrie Avery Moriarty:
Cynthia was great in editing my short story. She was concise in her changes, never making the story deviate from the original, and helped me present a better finished project. If she was unsure of my intentions, she asked for clarification. This was helpful because I was able to see where a reader would question what I had written. I couldn’t ask for a better editor for my work.
When it comes to editing, Cynthia Shepp is one of the best. I’m first and foremost a storyteller, and I’ll admit my weakness is grammar and its plethora of rules. However, with Cynthia on the job, I can rest easy knowing that her attention to detail will give my manuscript that professional touch it needs. (Bestselling author of The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters.)
Cynthia Shepp’s skills are top-notch. She has an extensive knowledge about the genre and age range for which my book was intended and gave clear, concise guidance on areas of concern. She has an eagle eye when it comes to finding punctuation, spelling or grammatical mistakes. No matter how many times I’ve read my book or had it read by others, Cynthia was able to spot the places we missed.
Best of all, Cynthia is a dream to work with. She was clear in her communication and remained true to her word on expectations and process, delivering her services in a timely manner. I spent a lot of time researching editors and her previous/current clients were all unified in their satisfaction. Like them, I couldn’t be happier.
I cannot thank Cynthia enough! She is an amazing editor who goes above and beyond for her clients. She is a real find. Quick, kind, and a consummate professional. You will not be disappointed!
I have worked with Cynthia Shepp on my last four books, and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. As a perfectionist, I require two things from my editorial team: Accuracy and reliability.
Cynthia does an amazing job editing. One of the most consistent compliments my books get is that they are well edited. That is thanks to Cynthia’s critical eye and firm grasp of grammatical rules. Not only will she make a change, but she cites why the change was made, and even includes online links so you can see—and understand—for yourself.
Second, with such a tight publishing schedule, I have to have someone reliable, and Cynthia is just that. She tells you upfront when she can have your project done, and then she delivers on or before that date. That quality is priceless to me, and it helps me meet all my deadlines.
I highly recommend Cynthia for all your editing needs. Seriously, she’s amazing. Stop reading this now and get in touch with her. I mean it.
Cynthia did an excellent job proofreading my novel, The Fire Sisters. She was timely, professional, detailed, and always available for questions. She even taught me a few tips and tricks to make my next manuscript better. I highly recommend her! (author of The Scourge, a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist)
(No Refunds… No Exceptions.)
I always recommend that authors send the manuscript to betas after editing. No manuscript will ever be 100% perfect. Betas can help find those stray errors before publication. They are a valuable asset.
Just a quick post with a few grammar tips…
The first one is my number-one pet peeve lol.
1) Never off of. Always just off.
I took my shoes off my feet. (NOT) I took my shoes off of my feet.
The baby took the toy off the table. (NOT) The baby took the toy off of the table.
2) An easy way to remember the difference between bear and bear, as taught to me. Mothers BEAR children, and Strippers BARE their bodies. You can’t BEAR the pain, but you can BARE your soul. Bare means to expose.
3) AM and PM (or am and pm) are preferable in writing because it does not interfere with end of sentence punctuation like a.m. and p.m. do.
4) If you are using mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, etc… in the place of a name, it should be capitalized. If you are just using it generally, it shouldn’t be. Words used in place of a name, except endearments and generalized terms (like punk or man), should be capitalized.
Do you think you could take me there, Grandma?
He took my toy, Mom!
Troy, Mom said you had to clean your room.
My mom is at my grandmother’s.
Come here, baby.
I’ll get right to that, Captain.
5) Everyday and every day have two different meanings.
Everyday means normal or ordinary. (This is an everyday affair.)
Every day means it happens every day. (I go to school every day.)
6) All honorific titles are capitalized, including Your Honor, Your Royal Highness, Her Royal Highness, Your Majesty, Your Grace, My Lord, and His Lordship.”
7) Titles before names are capitalized.
I went in search of Nurse Michelle. I waved hello to Officer Robinson. I am not a fan of President Obama.
8) Well-being is always hyphenated.
9) The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., states that, “items in a series are normally separated by commas. When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma—known as the serial or series comma or the Oxford comma—should appear before the conjunction. Chicago strongly recommends this widely practiced usage.” (In easier terms, there should be a comma before the last item in a list. I went to the store to get eggs, bread, and milk.)
10) Just for reference, CMOS recommends using the dictionary (Miriam-Webster) to determine hyphenated words. This is also a good website to check out. CMOS HYPHENATION TABLE
11) Compound adjectives and/or compound modifiers need to be hyphenated when preceding the word it modifies, unless one of the modifiers is an adverb ending in –ly. They don’t if after the noun. There are, of course, other exceptions, but that’s a whole other grammar lesson.
He has shoulder-length hair.
Her hair is shoulder length.
They go to a widely known college.
The girl wore rose-colored glasses.
Her glasses were rose colored.
The black-suited man took my seat.
The man in the black suit took my seat.
The best rule is to see if they could be used alone with the sentence and still make sense and keep the same meaning. If not, hyphenate.
12) Quotes should stay open if the same speaker is speaking in the next paragraph.
“I went to the store to get some cheese and bread. I am going to make sandwiches for the picnic. We are all going to the park today. It will just be family and friends.
“Did you pick up those shirts from the dry cleaner that I asked you to? I want to wear the white one today. I think it is just casual enough for the picnic.”
13) There is often confusion over all and all of. As a very general guideline, use all of when the next word is a pronoun (e.g., us, you, it, him, her).
All of us…
All of you…
All of it…
Do not use all of for normal nouns – just use all.
All the soldiers…
All the nurses…
All the food…
14) “A while” is a time, a noun. The article “a” before “while” is a sure sign that you’re dealing with a noun. Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “a while” with another article-noun combination such as “a year”.
It’s been a while since Squiggly tried marmite.
“Awhile” means “for a time,” and it’s an adverb. Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “awhile” with another adverb such as “quietly”.
Go play awhile.
15) When “and” is being used to coordinate two independent clauses, you need a comma. An independent clause—also known as a main clause—is a group of words that has a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a sentence. In the following examples, the independent clauses are in brackets:
[Miguel took piano lessons for sixteen years], and [today he is an accomplished performer].
[I went to the store to get bread], and [I saw my best friend].
[I wanted to go to the beach], but [I had to do my homework].
The use of the comma would also apply when any of the seven coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet) join two independent clauses.
That concludes the grammar lesson for today. I hope this was helpful. -Cynthia