Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Grammar Girl-The Queen on of this month's A to Z.
Chomp Chomp-interactive learning, lots of pictures, fun, quizzes, and even a YouTube channel
Purdue Owl-dry, but loaded with information and examples
Humorous Grammar Rules-for a good laugh. ex. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary. & One-word sentences? Eliminate. & Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
Margo Kelly-I found her through the A to Z challenge. She did grammar as well:)
Z is also for a zelebration...
Congrats to all who finished the challenge and to all that attempted it. What a ride April has been. I've met new friends, spent way too much time blogging, and wished I had even more time to visit all the blogs in the challenge. Thanks to all the commenters who kept me writing. I <3<3<3 the writing community.
What's your favorite grammar site? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the list.
Monday, April 29, 2013
For the record:
Your = possessive pronoun
You're = contraction for you are
Your're (yes, I've seen this variety) is never correct.
When I was dating Stan, I invited him to Preference (it's a girls' choice dance). In answer, he made me something like this*:
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Please, whatever you do, avoid exclamation points in your writing! They are so annoying and the words should be strong enough to stand without them! And above all else, resist the temptation to use multiple exclamation points to really bring a point home!!!!
That is all.
Friday, April 26, 2013
You know the socket wrench, it's the one who is red.
If you're like me, you read the first sentence and didn't think anything was wrong with it. Hopefully the second sentence drew some red flags. Even my "polished" MS was peppered with thats, that should have been whos, two months ago, but not anymore.
Use who when talking about a person and that when you're talking about an object.
You know the socket wrench, it's the one that is red.
Does who vs. that ever confuse you?
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Very: an adverb (boo) used for emphasis (double boo)
So: an adverb (boo) used for emphasis (double boo)
Like Nancy E. Turner's just, very and so are words to avoid. Search them out in revisions, remove them ,and replace the verb they modified with a more specific, effective verb.
"I am thrilled I'm doing A to Z challenge."
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
There, they're, and their may sound the same, but we shouldn't use them interchangeably.
- There can be a noun, pronoun, adjective, or adverb. It means "that location."
- They're is a contraction for they are. They is a pronoun and are is a linking verb.
- Their is a possessive pronoun (also an adjective).
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
- My favorite writing conference is WIFYR. I wish I could go this June.
- My favorite writing conference is WIFYR; I wish I could go this June.
I'd never thought much about the semicolon, one way or the other until readingTrent Reedy's bio before attending Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers last June. It stated that Trent was for the eradication of all semicolons.
Really, someone against a punctuation mark? I was surprised; I asked a writing friend if it was a joke. Apparently, it is not. Many people petition for the eradication of semicolons and there is also a Semicolon Appreciate Society.
That opened a whole can of worms, or should I say colons. What say you? I rarely use them, but I don't see a point in eradicating. I'm curious, does this little punctuation mark have you in a dither? Are you Team Semicolon? Or Team Not Semicolon? (Or should that be Team Two Periods?)
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Q is for Duck as Q is for Dialogue.
Ducks quack and for us to have dialogue, we need (double) quotation marks.
As my five-year-old understands, if there are quotations, then somebody is talking. She also knows that if the word before the quotation mark is said, it is followed by a comma.
Julia said, "Quack."
But what if the word isn't said? Then what happens?
I have a trusty notebook given to my be the incredible Ilima K Todd. It's battered and worn and my kiddos have pulled out a few pages. It's a little like Kristin Cashore's fireproof safes full of her notebooks.
One page of my notebook is devoted to dialogue.
It looks like this:
And yes, although it is hard to tell in my writing, the comma and period (full stop) are inside the quotation marks:)
I wrote it last summer. While I know these by heart now, I still turn to this page from time to time and smile.
Do you have notes like this that keep dialogue (or something else) straight in your mind so you don't have to google it every time?
Said is the tag of choice. No need to scream, cry, berate, yell, explain, etc.
If you smile, laugh, grimace, make a face, stick out your tongue, etc. you cannot do them as you speak, so instead of a comma, use a period.
Wrong: I smiled, "You are the sexiest man this side of that cactus."
Right: I smiled. "You are the sexiest man this side of that cactus."
Tim Wynn-Jones is the master of dialogue. I was lucky enough to be in his class during WIFYR last summer.
- Dialogue REVEALS character. If it's not doing that, it isn't doing it's job.
- Dialogue is not the time to tell backstory. (two best friends discussing something they both know)
- In dialogue, no hitting the pause button, it's like pausing a movie to explain a scene to someone who hasn't seen the movie.
- Beats should not be an arbitrary observation: it is part of the conversation. (think of the beat as a third character in your dialogue)
- Dialogue can't be too witty--the joke can't be from the author, but from the character.
- Even funny dialogue must further the story
- Reflection must happen in real time. Ex: While Tim gets his coat Rebecca can think about their argument. If only three seconds pass in "real time" only three words can pass on the page.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
E.M. Caines is my newest agency sister and as I type this post I'm beta-ing her fairytale retelling. When I posted a hyphen question on twitter last month, she swooped in and set me straight--and with so much know how I knew I had to have her for A to Z.
Take it away E. M. Caines.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Get your feet off of the couch.
I jumped off of the trampoline.
Jim fell off of the toilet again.
O is also for Omitting Of. Shocking, but true: the of after off is unnecessary.
Read the sentences again without of:
Get your feet off the couch.
I jumped off the trampoline.
Jim fell off the toilet again.
That's it for today guys. But tomorrow my agent sister E.M. Caines is here with a hilarious bit on pronouns, possessives, and possessive pronouns. Say that five times fast.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Here's the breakdown:
Write out numbers less than 10: nine, eight, . . . two, one.
Don't start a sentence with a numeral: 12 hairless moles should be twelve hairless moles
Spell out (and lowercase) centuries and decades: In the eighties I watched more Dirty Dancing than the average single-digit kid.
Write out ordinal numbers: first, not 1st
If two numbers are next to each other it can be weird. 12 10-year-old girls, for instance, should be written twelve 10-year-
On hyphenation of ages I went for the big guys:
"Hyphenate ages when they are adjective phrases involving a unit of measurement: “Her ten-year-old car is beginning to give her trouble.” A girl can be a “ten-year-old” (“child” is implied). But there are no hyphens in such an adjectival phrase as “Her car is ten years old.”" Chicago Manual of Style
"When the age is an adjective that comes before the noun and modifies the noun, or when the age is a noun, hyphenate." Grammar Girl
If I got anything wrong, please correct me in the comments. Please let me know if you're doing A to Z and I'll come and say hello.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Me is an object pronoun while I is the subject pronoun. I read a great tip on Literary Rambles last week for how to remember I vs. me using math. Read Dale's tip here.
The Cliff's Note version:
- Subtraction: I or me can be confusing if the subject or object is more than one thing. Subtract the additional person to find the answer.
"Joe and me ate pretzels until my belt buckle burst." "Joe and I ate pretzels until my belt buckle burst."
Take out Joe and it's easy to recognize that I is the correct choice because I is the subject of the sentence.
- Addition: Add in the assumed portion of the sentence to find the correct pronoun.
Add what they're doing. "He and I are going to a party." "He and me are going to a party."
The first one is correct.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I've enlisted Grammar Girl and Grammar Cat to help us keep it straight and not have to think about creative ways to say that Edward laid a blanket on Bella and then lay down next to her, but even with the blanket she was too cold, so he had to let Jacob lay down instead.
Main thing to remember-Lay (laid laid) is a transitive verb, so it needs an object. Lie (lay lain) is an intransitive verb, so it does not need an object. Am I the only one that gets confused that the past of lie is lay? Yikes! Does anyone have a tip to help me remember the difference without needing my cheat sheet?
Friday, April 12, 2013
Take it away, Janeal.
Thank you for having me here today, Robin!
Today we're talking about Keepin' it Real. Even though I'm an author, the biggest reality is that I'm a terrible speller. When I was in elementary school spelling was my least favorite subject. I hated it with a passion. I could never get the right letters in the right places. And practicing—please smash my fingers in the door instead of making me relive those memories. Then there were kids in my class who'd get 100% without even trying. Disgustingly good spellers. Over the years, I've come to not only accept my poor spelling, but try and find the good in it. One of my favorite misspelled words that I'm forever typing is: Rommance. (and yes, I know that's probably bad grammar from Robin's awesome Colon Post, but I'm going for dramatic effect here). Any guesses why it's my favorite? I'll give you a hint, it has to do with how I feel about the word. Figured it out? Rommance is just so mmmmm, yummy! Which is why I always write rommances into my books. Sometimes I read a book without a love interest, but the only books I have a true passion for are rommances. This misspelling is one I think should become the correct spelling. Since it never will be, thankfully it's easily caught by spell checker. But I'm forever turning cheek into check and except into expect. Lame word issues that can't be caught by the computer. Two things really help me to catch these.
- Search specifically for tricky spellings and nothing else. Looking for nothing but tricky words makes them a little easier to find. Notice I didn't say easy, but easier. And the more you do this, the better you'll get at it.
- Help from others. Because I can't always see what my crazy fingers are typing in my own writing, I rely on others to help me find those sneaky hiders. Once I know what they are, I keep and extra close eye out for that problem and am able to find and correct them more often that not.
Janeal Falor lives in Utah where she’s finally managed to live in the same house for more than five years. In her spare time she reads books like they’re nuts covered in caramel and chocolate, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and enjoys the outdoors. Her husband and three children try to keep up with her overactive imagination. Usually they settle for having dinner on the table, even if she’s still going on about the voices in her head. Her debut YA Fantasy, YOU ARE MINE comes out May 6, 2013.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
When I lived in Provo I went to a Storytellers' Conference at the beautiful Provo Library. (Man, how I miss that place. But I get to see it next month when I go to LDStorymakers-Woo-hoo. Do you think my library card still works after 4 years?)
Nancy E. Turner was the keynote speaker and she was so cute and fun.
She just had so many stories and just her smile made just about everyone in the entire room just light up. She just had to tell us how her editor just had to make her cut out every single just in THESE IS MY WORDS and how it cut the WC in half. (If you haven't read THESE IS MY WORDS, I highly recommend it. I'm a rereader, so I recommend it even to anyone who's already read it:)
Just is one of those pesky adverbs we writers just can't help trying and failing to avoid. (Me especially. Apologies to all writers who even in the first draft are trained to just avoid just). Until I get that cool, I will continue to use the find function in Word and delete just about every single one.
So, how about you? Do you just find yourself dropping just all the time like it's the new like, or the awesome from the early '90's when I was in Middle School?
|Forgive me if you're appalled, but this Nike parody reminded me of my travels in Egypt and I got the giggles. So, I just had to share it with you.|
Tomorrow we have our second guess post from Janeal Falor. She's a writing, homeschooling mama like myself. I'm so excited. You're just going to love her.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
First: what is an infinitive?
According to Grammar Girl, the goddess for this month's A to Z challenge, it is technically okay to split an infinitive by putting and adverb in between the to and the verb, but we should still avoid it as long as it doesn't change the meaning of the sentence.
To jauntily shake it is now approved. (As is to merrily dance, to snottily snort, and to speedily drive) But I'll continue to play it safe and to shake jauntily (to dance merrily, to snort snottily, and to drive speedily). What's your opinion on the split infinitive? To read Grammar Girl's detailed explanation, click here.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
I met Liesl at my first writing conference (WIFYR) back in 201l. I've blogged about her here. RUMP is a MG retelling that is funny, sweet, and perfect for my third grader (and for me).
She was nice enough to guest blog about hyphens and share the amazing Hogwarts gingerbread house she made last Christmas.
Take it away, Liesl.
|Liesl's amazing Hogwarts gingerbread creation|
Monday, April 8, 2013
The first time I heard the word gerunds was when I read my feedback from the amazing Pk Hrezo. She told me that I really liked using gerunds.
Gerunds, I thought, what the heck is a gerund? So I googled it.
A gerund is a noun made from a verb + ing.
I found this amazing chart to explain the whole thing:
|used with permission of aldhafra6english.blogspot.com.|
Are you doing the A to Z challenge? Let me know and I'll come check it out.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
I'd tried plenty of grammar books, but it wasn't until the amazing Lynne Truss--and her Apostrophe Protection Society--that my desire to improve my grammar came full force.
Lynn is funny, she's smart, and she's the one that introduced me to the full stop. It sounds so much nicer than a period: something that instead reminds me of my menstrual cycle. (sorry male visitors, if that made you uncomfortable).
Friday, April 5, 2013
Ellipsis point .
Ellipsis . . .
Ellipses . . . . . . . . .
For examples I'm using POISON by Bridget Zinn (my favorite 2013 published read).
On the first page I opened to (90-91) I found 3 uses of ellipses.
1. Ellipses can also show hesitation
"The witch squinted at Kyra's midsection. 'Well . . . what a nice surprise: a spark.'" (I love this one because it also uses a colon *happy dance*)
Not in dialogue:
"It smelled like . . . herbs, fresh-picked, but with an undertone of something else, something powerful and scary."
2. Ellipses can show trailing off in dialogue (leaving something unsaid).
"'And finally . . .' Out came a flat glass disk." (no space between last ellipsis point and quotation marks)
3. Ellipsis show omission, such as to shorten a quotation.
"Kyra followed, considering her options. She had no idea how to unfreeze her upper body. . . . Possibly the witch would either have to lose interest or die before the spell would evaporate."
"She spied Fred . . . sitting at a rough-hewn table . . ."
Do you use ellipses in writing? Did Grammar Girl get it right? Have you read POISON?
Thursday, April 4, 2013
I spent an embarrassing amount of time attempting to find the video for this post, but could only find it on one site and it wouldn't let me import it. Click here for Dr. Poole and Connie. It's worth it. Then come back:D
Connie thinks his zipper is down, but the problem is the ing word at the end of his sentence.
So what is a participle, you ask? (now that we've established it's not anything on or inside Connie's pants)
When you add ing to a verb and use that word as an adjective (describes a noun), it's called a participle.
A dangling participle describes something that isn't in the sentence. In Connie's case he's missing the word wedding.
Have you seen Oscar? Do you love Mr. Poole and Sylvester Stallone as a gangster as much as I do? Do you find yourself dangling participles?