"MaryHi! 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 Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors (due for release in January 2014). 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.  



Vertical Lists after Complete Sentences

The best way to introduce a vertical list is with a complete sentence, followed by a colon. Items in the list have no closing punctuation unless they are complete sentences. If items run over one line, the subsequent lines are indented.


A book proposal should include the following:


author bio and publishing credits

market comparison

title page with the byline centered under the title, and the author’s name and contact

information in the lower-left corner

three sample chapters






complementary (adjective): relating to one of a pair of contrasting items

Example: “Complementary colors appear directly across from each other on the color wheel.


complementary (adjective): mutually supplying each other’s lack

Example: “Steak and seafood are complementary dishes for the menu.”


complimentary (adjective): expressing or containing a compliment

Example: “Kathy Tyers’s latest novel received many complimentary reviews.”


complimentary (adjective): given as a courtesy or favor

Example: “A slice of pie is complimentary with your meal.”




reason, why, and because

reason (noun): explanation, justification, motive, or cause

why (noun, adverb, or conjunction): cause, reason, or purpose

because (conjunction): for the reason that


Correct examples:

“The reason Melanie writes fiction is that she loves reading it.”

“I don’t understand why more people don’t read novellas.”

“George writes nonfiction because he believes it helps people.”


The following are incorrect:

“The reason Gwen writes fiction is because she loves reading it.” (Here you’d be saying that the reason is for the reason.)


“I don’t understand the reason why more people don’t read novellas.” (You’re saying you don’t understand the cause cause.)


“The reason why Tom writes nonfiction is because he believes it helps people.” (Yikes! Here you’re saying that the cause cause is because.)




FOR BOOKS: handheld (one word, no hyphen)

FOR ARTICLES: hand-held (per AP Stylebook p. 111)



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