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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



PUGS errors can be embarrassing.


A friend of mine once picked up a book at a bookstore and noticed a PUGS error on the back cover. When she reported it to our critique group, she didn’t say she’d found a mistake on a book published by “XYZ Publishers.” She said she found the mistake on a “Jane Doe” novel. She didn’t connect the error to the publishing house, but to the author.


Many readers, especially avid ones, are familiar with the rules of punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. If your reader knows the rules, and you don’t, that’s going to make you look bad.





Terms of Endearment

Terms of affection (honey, dear, sweetheart) are lowercased.


(See The Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition, #8.39 and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style page 112.)





every day/everyday

every day is a combination of an adjective and a noun, synonymous with “each day.”

“Daisy wrote 2000 words every day.”


everyday is an adjective, which means it describes a noun.

“For Debbie, writing was an everyday activity.”





that vs. who

That refers to animals and things.

      “The dog that bit me chased the Frisbee that I threw.”


Who refers to people.

“The man who bought Yvonne flowers was handsome.”





grown-up (with a hyphen, both noun and adjective)



2 thoughts on “PUGS Pointers #5

Londa Hayden

December 12, 2011 - 18 : 07 : 46

I use your book all the time. I find the it invaluable and keep on the bookshelf right next to my computer at arms length. It’s a great help and I highly recommend it.



December 13, 2011 - 13 : 05 : 44

I’m so glad you’re enjoying the PUGS book! Thanks for mentioning it here.


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