Hi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about “PUGS”–Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling…tips for writers based on the most common mistakes I see in the manuscripts I edit. Each blog post will have one tip for each of the four categories, as well as a reason it’s important for authors to “polish their PUGS.” (For more PUGS tips, check out my website,, or get a copy of my book “Polishing the PUGS” (available through the website or at the conferences where I teach). If you’re interested in working with a freelance editor (or know someone who is), e-mail me at Or go to to get referrals to other established, professional editorial freelancers. If you’re a freelance editor yourself, or think you might be interested in that field, check out


Details are important.

How much time and effort have you put into the other aspects of your writing? Is your manuscript not worth polishing? If your craft was pottery, would you go to the effort of creating a beautiful pot and then not varnish it? If you made an afghan, would you not tie off the last row? If you sewed a garment, would you not finish the seams and hems?

And if you did create something without finishing it properly, would you put out your unfinished craft for sale to strangers, expecting people to pay you for it?


Quotation Marks with Other Punctuation

1. Closing quotation marks always come after a comma or period. Example:

ACFW held workshops on “Characterization,” “Point of View,” and “Floating Body Parts.”

2. Placement depends on whether the punctuation is part of the sentence as a whole or part of the quotation in particular. Examples:
Candy asked, “Do you know the way?”
How can we motivate teenagers who continually say, “I don’t care”?
Tiffany shouted, “Fire!”
I can’t believe he said, “Your story is boring”!



advice (noun) is a suggestion or recommendation. Example:
Cec gave me excellent advice about publishing my book.

advise (verb) means “to suggest or recommend.” Example:
Frani advised me to strengthen the conflict in my romance novel.


Misplaced Modifiers

The position of a modifier determines what thing or action is being modified.

Example #1: “Sharon sent out a proposal for her book on living with horses last week.”
Sharon’s proposal wasn’t for a book about “living with horses last week.” Reword:
“Last week Sharon sent out a proposal for her book on living with horses.”

Example #2: “The editor told me on Thursday I have a book signing.”
Did the editor say this on Thursday, or do you have a book signing on Thursday? Reword:
“On Thursday, the editor told me I have a book signing.” Or:
“The editor told me I have a book signing on Thursday.”


divorcé (a divorced man)
divorcée (a divorced woman)

fiancé (a man engaged to be married)
fiancée (a woman engaged to be married)

For Articles: The AP Stylebook does not use accent marks over the e’s in fiance and fiancee.


About Kathy Ide

Kathy Ide, author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, has written books, articles, short stories, devotionals, play scripts, and Sunday school curriculum. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series. Kathy is a full-time freelance editor/proofreader/mentor for new writers, established authors, and book publishers. She speaks at writers’ conferences across the country. Kathy is the founder and director of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Connection ( For more about Kathy, visit or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

One Thought on “PUGS Pointers #10

  1. God’s Peace is in Control
    Relax …No need to fight or be up tight
    strife and depression will shorten
    your life.
    When the worlds tribulation appears to
    aggravate your nerves then throws an unpleasant
    curve so you do not know what to do…
    Or it seems you have digested situations more than
    you can chew.
    Don’t stress nor absorb the pressures of
    life’s negative mess.
    Just embrace God’s liberty of serenity
    and calm down.
    Close your eyes to unwind then tell yourself
    not to worry but allow patience to come
    into your soul.
    Remember that God’s peace is in
    total control.
    Naomi Johnson

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