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.

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]