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Kathy IdeHi! 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.

WHY PUNCTUATION IS IMPORTANT
My older son, Tom, is a very busy professional, so a lot of our communication takes place via e-mail. Back when he was living at home, I e-mailed him one day to ask what he wanted me to make for dinner that evening. His response was:
When you decide what you can say I decided this and if it’s not OK that’s OK.

It took me a little while to decipher that. And when I asked my son for permission to quote it, he replied, “Did I write that? What on earth does it mean?” Even he didn’t know!

Well, after reading that line several times, I came up with this:

When you decide what, you can say, “I decided this,” and if it’s not OK, that’s OK.
Pretty confusing without the punctuation, is it?

PUNCTUATION TIP: Spacing between Sentences
One space, not two, follows a period (or any other punctuation mark) at the end of a sentence. (To get rid of extra spaces, do a Find & Replace, with two spaces in the first box and one space in the second box, and click “Replace All” until the count gets down to zero.)

USAGE TIP: back door/backdoor
back door (noun)
“Randy pounded on Jim’s back door.”

backdoor (adjective) means “indirect” or “devious”
“She suspected the men were involved in some kind of backdoor operation.”

GRAMMAR TIP: fewer vs. less
Fewer refers to quantities/numbers.
“If you proofread your work carefully, you will get fewer rejections.”

Less refers to amounts.
“First drafts require less work than rewrites.”

SPELLING TIP: harebrained
NOTE: not hairbrained
Origin: “with no more brains than a hare”

These are all excerpts from my new book, Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, which reveal how multi-published authors proofread their manuscripts to avoid typos, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and PUGS errors. 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 Connection 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.

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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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