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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. 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.

PUNCTUATION TIP

For . . . sake Expressions

“For . . . sake”
expressions usually leave off the s when the noun ends in an s or an s sound.
Examples:

for righteousness’ sake

for goodness’ sake

for heaven’s sake

 

USAGE TIP

altar/alter

altar (noun): a table or platform used in a church service

“The new bride and groom prayed together at the altar.”

 

alter (verb): to change

“Roxanne hoped his outburst wouldn’t alter their friendship in any way.”

 

GRAMMAR TIP

Make sure the pronoun and its antecedent agree in number.

“Trevor’s two sons are sloppy.” (plural)

“Neither one of them combs his hair.” (singular)

“Portia’s two daughters are neat; they both clean up after themselves.” (plural)

NOTE: In an effort to avoid gender bias (using he to refer to both sexes) and the annoying repetition of him/her, he or she, and the like, some writers use “they” as a singular pronoun when referring to someone whose gender is unknown or irrelevant.
Example: “If an editor (singular) likes your query, they (plural) will request a proposal.”

However, using the plural pronoun they to refer to a singular antecedent presents a problem in agreement. This style is acceptable in verbal speech, but not in writing.

There are many ways you could reword the above sentence to make it grammatically correct. Here are two examples:

“If an editor likes your query, he or she will request a proposal.”

“If the editors like your query, they will request a proposal.”

 

SPELLING TIP

brainpower (one word, not two)

 

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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 (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com). For more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

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