Contractions Have Their Place

2015.09.20 quotescover-JPG-17 contractions

Grammar Girl has an amazing article describing the history, use, and suggestions regarding contractions: “Use contractions in formal writing if it will sound stranger to avoid them than to use them.”

The Chicago Manual of Style says, “Most types of writing benefit from the use of contractions. If used thoughtfully, contractions in prose sound natural and relaxed and make reading more enjoyable.”

Do you remember the character Data from Star Trek? He could not use any form of contraction. Ever. And it set him apart as a non-human. Don’t do that to your writing. Make sure your reader knows there is a human behind the words. Don’t overdo it. There ain’t no reason to sound uneducated in your struggle of pen and paper.

Updated: Grammar Suppliers Page — Tools for Authors & Writers


















Market the Author

[by Billi Joy Carson, Senior Editor/ Editing Addict]

Editor Tip: Market the Author

If you are an author, a blogger, or a copywriter…then correct spelling, punctuation, word use, and grammar is a necessity in all areas of your writing…books, blogs, marketing, advertisements, social media, queries, submissions, letters, and emails.


I can hear the horrified gasps, feel the eyes rolling—doubt and fear from writers everywhere. Panic in the streets.

Before you throw your hands up, and stop reading, let’s look at the WHY behind this necessity.


You are always marketing YOU.


Your books come and go, but you, the author, remain constant. You are the first line of defense when it comes to marketing yourself—which you are doing every day, every time you write…anything.

You are marketing not only to readers, but to publishers, agents, editors, and your fellow authors who would network with you. You are marketing your writing ability—yes—but you are ALSO marketing your organization capabilities, your attention to details, your desire for accuracy….

What if you don’t care about details and accuracy? Publishers do.

Publishers, editors, and agents notice. In this world of instant access, through social media and blogs, your everyday comments and posts are seen.

If an author can’t be trusted to use the right word in 140 characters, why would they trust the author with a 300-page book?


Agents, editors, and publishers (oh my!) have deadlines. Organization is a big part of that. Make it appear you are organized—even if you have to fake it.

Here are some excellent tools to keep close to you, always. I suggest bookmarking them, as well as storing them on your smart phones and tablets—wherever you write, post, and email.

  • Dictionary compilation of over 1000 dictionaries
  • Correct spelling not needed
    • It offers options for word spelling
    • Shows several dictionaries, with links.
  • Breaks search answers into four categories
    • General
    • Business (language)
    • Computing (language)
    • Slang*
      • *Words that haven’t made it into traditional dictionaries will show up here.
      • *Caution: When writing items for publishing (versus informal social media, emails…), only use a Chicago Manual of Style approved dictionary, like Merriam-Webster.

Other dictionaries:



  • (not CMS approved, but still a great tool)
    • Copy/paste text in box—it shows grammar errors and weaknesses
  • Guide to Grammar & Writing
    • Quick lookup for parts of speech, word use, and grammar rules

Style Guides:


Questions for the editor to answer next time:

[by Billi Joy Carson, Senior Editor / Editing Addict


Punctuate That Title

[found on]

“Titles of works

The titles of certain works are indicated with quotation marks, others with italics, and yet others with regular type.

The style presented here is consistent with The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.) and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.), and is appropriate for most academic and professional writing. Newspapers tend to favor quotation marks in place of italics for most titles.”

Click image:

1)   To see entire list

2)   To read more important tools from


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[found on]


A Proposition for Prepositions

Which prepositions  go with which words? This is what the CMS has to say:

“You fill A with B but instill B into A; you replace A with B but substitute B for A; you prefix A to B but preface B with A; you force A into B but enforce B on A; finally, A implies B, so you infer B from A. And that’s only the beginning of it.”    
Chicago Manual of Style [regarding idiomatic uses of prepositions]


List of prepositions


A through D

  1. aboard
  2. about
  3. above
  4. absent
  5. across
  6. after
  7. against
  8. along
  9. alongside
  10. amid
  11. amidst
  12. among
  13. anti
  14. around
  15. as
  16. at
  17. atop
  18. before
  19. behind
  20. below
  21. beneath
  22. beside
  23. besides
  24. between
  25. beyond
  26. but
  27. by
  28. concerning
  29. considering
  30. despite
  31. down
  32. during


E through M

    1. except
    2. excepting
    3. excluding
    4. following
    5. for
    6. from
    7. in
    8. in front of
    9. inside
    10. instead of
    11. into
    12. like
    13. mid
    14. minus

N through R

    1. near
    2. next
    3. of
    4. off
    5. on
    6. on top of
    7. onto
    8. opposite
    9. out of
    10. outside
    11. over
    12. past
    13. per
    14. plus
    15. regarding
    16. round

S through W

  1. save
  2. since
  3. than
  4. through
  5. till
  6. times
  7. to
  8. toward
  9. towards
  10. under
  11. underneath
  12. unlike
  13. until
  14. up
  15. upon
  16. versus
  17. via
  18. with
  19. within
  20. without



Why Can’t I Italicize My Punctuation?

[found on; by Heather]

“The Rule (According to CMS 6.3): Punctuation should appear in the same font or typeface as the general body text of a document. So if you have a roman sentence that contains an italicized word followed by a comma, the comma should appear in roman.”

To read Heather explain about the exceptions to this rule, click HERE.


[Found on]

The War of the Spaces

[found on; by ]

From elementary school, all the way through college, we are drilled by teachers and professors to type with TWO spaces between our sentences. BUT THAT IS WRONG. The publishing world will beat you soundly about the head and shoulders for using two spaces (not really, but we surely would like to). Take a look at Farhad Manjoo’s article on the subject:

“…What galls me about two-spacers isn’t just their numbers. It’s their certainty that they’re right. Over Thanksgiving dinner last year, I asked people what they considered to be the “correct” number of spaces between sentences. The diners included doctors, computer programmers, and other highly accomplished professionals. Everyone—everyone!—said it was proper to use two spaces. Some people admitted to slipping sometimes and using a single space—but when writing something formal, they were always careful to use two. Others explained they mostly used a single space but felt guilty for violating the two-space “rule.” Still others said they used two spaces all the time, and they were thrilled to be so proper. When I pointed out that they were doing it wrong—that, in fact, the correct way to end a sentence is with a period followed by a single, proud, beautiful space—the table balked. “Who says two spaces is wrong?” they wanted to know.

Typographers, that’s who. The people who study and design the typewritten word decided long ago that we should use one space, not two, between sentences. That convention was not arrived at casually. James Felici, author of the The Complete Manual of Typography, points out that the early history of type is one of inconsistent spacing. Hundreds of years ago, some typesetters would end sentences with a double space, others would use a single space, and a few renegades would use three or four spaces. Inconsistency reigned in all facets of written communication; there were few conventions regarding spelling, punctuation, character design, and ways to add emphasis to type. But as typesetting became more widespread, its practitioners began to adopt best practices. Felici writes that typesetters in Europe began to settle on a single space around the early 20th century. America followed soon after.

Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It’s one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men’s shirt buttons on the right and women’s on the left. Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, used widely in the social sciences, allows for two spaces in draft manuscripts but recommends one space in published work.) Most ordinary people would know the one-space rule, too, if it weren’t for a quirk of history. In the middle of the last century, a now-outmoded technology—the manual typewriter—invaded the American workplace. To accommodate that machine’s shortcomings, everyone began to type wrong. And even though we no longer use typewriters, we all still type like we do. (Also see the persistence of the dreaded Caps Lock key.)

The problem with typewriters was that they used monospaced type—that is, every character occupied an equal amount of horizontal space. This bucked a long tradition of proportional typesetting, in which skinny characters (like I or 1) were given less space than fat ones (like W or M). Monospaced type gives you text that looks “loose” and uneven; there’s a lot of white space between characters and words, so it’s more difficult to spot the spaces between sentences immediately. Hence the adoption of the two-space rule—on a typewriter, an extra space after a sentence makes text easier to read. Here’s the thing, though: Monospaced fonts went out in the 1970s. First electric typewriters and then computers began to offer people ways to create text using proportional fonts. Today nearly every font on your PC is proportional. (Courier is the one major exception.) Because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it….”

To read the complete article, and to read more helpful articles from, click HERE.

[found on]

Style Manual Wars

[found on]
“NEW YORK—Law enforcement officials confirmed Friday that four more copy editors were killed this week amid ongoing violence between two rival gangs divided by their loyalties to the The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual Of Style.
“At this time we have reason to believe the killings were gang-related and carried out by adherents of both the AP and Chicago styles, part of a vicious, bloody feud to establish control over the grammar and usage guidelines governing American English,” said FBI spokesman Paul Holstein, showing reporters graffiti tags in which the word “anti-social” had been corrected to read “antisocial.”
“The deadly territory dispute between these two organizations, as well as the notorious MLA Handbook gang, has claimed the lives of more than 63 publishing professionals this year alone.” Officials also stated that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
[found on,30806]