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. (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 through the contact page of my website. Or go to the Christian Editor
Network 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 The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network.
Commas should be used to set off interjections. Examples:
“Well, I don’t like to brag, but my last book sold twenty copies.”
“Why, I can’t even imagine that kind of success.”
“Hey, I meant twenty thousand copies.”
car pool (noun): an arrangement in which a group of people commute together by car, or the group entering into such an arrangement
carpool (verb): to participate in a car pool
Don’t confuse the reader with pronouns that are unclear or ambiguous. Example:
“When Lori and Jan entered the room, Gayle noticed her right away.”
Which woman did Gayle notice?
Avoid using the pronoun it in confusing contexts. Example:
“As Allison drove her car up to the service window, it made a rattling sound.”
Does it refer to the car or the window? Rewrite to something like:
“As Allison drove up to the service window, her car made a rattling sound.”
“Audrey reached for her glass and drank it in one gulp.”
In this sentence, the it refers to the glass, and she didn’t drink the glass in one gulp.
bookstore (one word)