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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


Polished PUGS impress publishers.

Even if you’ve already had one or more manuscripts accepted for publication, you can really impress your publisher if you “polish the PUGS” before submitting your work. Your editors will be able to focus more on content if they don’t have to worry about the mechanics. And the less time your proofreaders have to spend fixing the mistakes, the less money your publisher will have to spend on that part of the process … which will be one more advantage in your favor when you pitch your next manuscript!


Double and Single Quotation Marks

Double quotation marks are used for short quotes within the text (called a “run-in quotation).
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3 NRSV).

Single quotation marks are used to indicate quotes within quotes.
“And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19 NASB).

Note: There is no other use for a single quotation mark.



accept (always a verb) means “to receive,” “to agree with,” or “to say yes to.”
“Bethany House did not accept Carol’s proposal.”

except (verb) means “to omit,” “to exempt,” or “to exclude.”
“Joe was excepted from the list of those invited.”

except (preposition) means “other than.”
“Everyone except Nanette had the wrong answer.”


anxious vs. eager

anxious indicates fear, nervousness, extreme uneasiness, or worry (anxiety).
“Debbie was anxious about the exam.”

eager means you are enthusiastic, ready to begin.
“Brooke was eager to start writing her new novel.”


brussels sprouts (not brussel sprouts or Brussels sprouts)


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