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.
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.