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Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Who vs. That

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POSTED BYKAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?





Jeanette wrote:

Perhaps sometime you could tackle who vs. what. More often than not, I see sentences like the following.

"The boy that lives nearby…"

Isn’t it supposed to be this instead?

"The boy who lives nearby…"

My thought is that who should come after a person and that should come after a thing. No one seems to follow this, however. Is that becoming correct?


I’ve been hearing that used a lot more lately when referring to people as well, Jeanette, but it’s still not right.

Who is the pronoun that is supposed to be used in reference to human beings.

That may refer to people, animals, groups, or things, but who is still preferred when referring to people, according to numerous grammar sites.

While you’re on this topic, you might also like to read “That vs. Which” t…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: A Bibliophilic Valentine's Day

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POSTED BYKAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?





How did Valentine’s Day come about? No one really knows for certain.
The story I heard growing up was Valentine was a priest who served in Rome around the third century. When Emperor Claudius II decreed that single men made the best soldiers, far better than those with wives, he banned marriage among his troops. Valentine defied the decree and performed secret marriages for young lovers. When Claudius found out, Valentine was put to death. 
A riff on that story is that the imprisoned Valentine might have sent the very first valentine message to the jailor’s daughter with whom he became smitten and signed it “From your Valentine.” So much for a vow of chastity. However, this legend spread and became popular throughout England and France during the Middle Ages. 
I read a few articl…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Vocabulary Building

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?




I am a word nerd. In high school, I would memorize the vocabulary lists, making sure to incorporate at least one of those words in my writing each week. This is how insipid, plethora, and a myriad of other words entered by vocabulary, including myriad itself.

Have you ever read a dictionary? Whenever I edit, I often end up reading a few pages before or after my initial inquiry. It's fascinating.

For instance, do you know what the following five words mean?

Alacrity

Alacrity means "promptness in response, a cheerful readiness."

Didactic

Didactic is an adjective used to describe something that is "designed or intended to teach, or the intended to convey instruction and information, as well as pleasure and entertainment." It also can mean making moral observations.

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Grammar Giggles

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?





Can you believe January is over? We've covered a lot this month, from punctuation within quotation marks, to new AP and CMS rules, to an easy way to remember the I vs. Me rule, so let's wrap it up with a few grammar jokes. I think we deserve it. 














EFG Digest
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A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature,…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: A Simple Rule to Remember Me Versus I

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Posted byKAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



Here's a question I received from Jeanette.

Karen, wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog posts, especially the ones that deal with grammar. So many words can be tricky, and, as a writer, I don't want to jar my reader by using the wrong word. When I read something that isn't correct, it throws me off. I particularly liked "me versus I," which I see used incorrectly all the time. Perhaps I missed it, but do you have a simple rule we can remember to avoid using the wrong word? 

I think I have it down, but here is an example I'm not sure about. Which is correct: "He is taller than me" or "He is taller than I?" This suggests that the rest of the sentence is "am tall." It seems both are correct. Are they? 

Thank for your kind wor…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Single Quotation Marks Within Double Quotes: Where Does the Period Go?

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Posted byKAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?



I received an email from Leah Rae with a question about punctuation in relation to closing quotation marks. 
My question is punctuation. I know how to use double quotes. Period, then last quotation mark. But when you have a word or two in single quotes, does the same hold true? Looks wrong not to have period outside last single quote. Thanks.

Leah Rae, thanks for your email. It can get a little confusing, especially if you read British novels, which have their own quotation mark rules that aren’t similar to American English. We’re lucky with this one because, for once, the Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook both use the same rule.

Periods and commas should always be within quotation marks, regardless of whether they are used within single or double quotes.

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Scanning Through CMS

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?





The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) doesn’t update nearly as much as the Associated Press Stylebook (AP Style). Seven years have passed between the last edition and the most recent, which was released in September.
The new CMS features many updates, additions, and clarifications, chief among the grammar and editing rules is making the “i” in internet lowercase and dropping the hyphen from email as AP Style does. (For a full list of updates, click here.)
While I was paging through the volume, I noticed a few things in the “Word Usage” section that caught my eye. I thought I’d share them with you today.

Bombastic
Bombastic has nothing to do with temper. CMS states that “a bombastic speech or essay is pompously long-winded and self-important but essentially empty of substance.”

Between y…