Editor Afloat

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Fast Grammar – try…

Here’s another quickie reminder for you! It’s a phrase that seems to be tripping up many of us in our writing lately. Once again, it’s not that we don’t know this, but rather, we’re just a bit lazy and perhaps not paying perfect attention to our sentence structure.

Consider this sentence: “Tomorrow, the boys are going to try and move the fallen tree.” The word and is a conjunction, which simply means it joins two thoughts, actions, or phrases together. Split in half, we have, “Tomorrow, the boys are going to try.” AND, “Tomorrow the boys are going to move the fallen tree.” Two separate and complete actions. The correct sentence should be, “Tomorrow, the boys are going to try to move the fallen tree.” All focus is on the effort of cleaning up the apparent mess.

Simple and fast! – get your Fast Grammar here. 🙂 Don’t forget to follow The Editor Afloat on Facebook too!


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One Word? Compound Word? Hyphen? ACK!

Choosing the correct word for the situation can sometimes be confusing. Hint: your dictionary makes a great source of reference here. 🙂

Let’s take a couple of farmers for example. Farmer John is out standing in his field. Sadly, the weather is extreme and he is about to keel over from exposure to the elements. Farmer Mary, on the other hand, is outstanding in her field. She is very proud of the fact that her favorite pig just won the title of Grand Champion at the local fair. Ah, the power of a keystroke.

One of the cool tools a WordPress blogger can access is the ability to take reader polls. One might wish to query a cross section of readers if you are receiving lots of unhappy mail. Responses from a cross-section of readers, however, just might be helpful on an important topic.

How do you know when to use two ordinary words, when to turn them into a compound word or hyphenate? The easiest method is to read the sentence and think about the meaning of it each way. If it is awkward as two words or paints a completely different picture, then maybe you need to put the two words together. Some words just don’t go well together; it’s called “letter collision”. In that case you will most likely want to use a hyphen. You might wonder what the heck a “deice” was. But, “de-ice”, makes perfect sense.

Don’t forget to follow Author Kristen Hope Mazzola’s publishing adventure as she is about to unveil her debut novel, “Crashing Back Down”. Currently being edited is Anna Ellis’ first romance novel, “Husbands and Wives”. Check out both of these talented writers and don’t forget editing services are available from The Editor Afloat for anything from one-page rĂ©sumĂ©s to full-length novels.

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Fast Grammar – “I” vs. “me”

Just a quickie here folks! Sometimes all we need is a short reminder to jar a memory loose, especially when it’s something we already know.

Here we go: “Paul and I went to the rodeo.”

The test: “Paul went to the rodeo.” Yes, that works. “I went to the rodeo.” That works as well so the statement, “Paul and I went to the rodeo”, is correct.

Now: “Sharon went to the rodeo with Paul and I.” No.

The test: “Sharon went to the rodeo with Paul.” That works fine. But, “Sharon went to the rodeo with I.” No, sorry, my teeth just fell out. LOL

So, that means that the correct statement would be: “Sharon went to the rodeo with Paul and me.” Because you can say, “Sharon went to the rodeo with me.”

Wasn’t that painless?

Look for more Fast Grammar sessions in the future and don’t forget to follow The Editor Afloat on Facebook or find me on Twitter and check out Author Kristen Hope Mazzola too! Her debut novel is in the process of its final edit. 🙂


A Conversation with Author Kristen Hope Mazzola

Kristen Hope Mazzola is a fellow WordPress blogger. She and I follow one another’s adventures here and on Facebook. I admire the enthusiasm behind  her posts. When she wrote she didn’t know “weather” or not to use an editor, I stepped up and created my current special – free final edit for first-time authors. She signed up and now is about to release her debut novel, “Crashing Back Down”. The final edit is one of the very last steps before publication. We spent a little time talking about the process. Here is our conversation:

Editor Afloat: We’ve edited the first few chapters of your novel so far. Have there been any surprises for you?

Kristen Mazzola: Yes! Actually, I was surprised at how many small mistakes I was making! I’m thrilled with the amazing edits/feedback so far.

Editor Afloat: Is it what you were expecting in general?

Kristen Mazzola: A clean polished manuscript by the end, which I’m very confident that will happen 🙂

Editor Afloat: Do you feel the final editing process is important?

Kristen Mazzola: At first I was not too sure if I needed an editor, thinking I might be able to take care of it. Boy, was I wrong! A professional editor is necessary  for all authors. I’m thankful The Editor Afloat found me through Facebook!

Kristen Mazzola: I actually am curious about how you got into editing?

Editor Afloat: I’ve been addicted to words since grade school where I earned a 100% on all my spelling quizzes. My academic background is Communications so I decided to turn my annoying habit of proofreading everything I see into a useful tool.

Kristen Mazzola: Being on a boat and having horses seems to lead to an already busy life! Where do you find your time?

Editor Afloat: Yes, I do keep busy! I am a widow, so my time is my own. I prefer to work rather than sit around.

Kristen Mazzola: Have you enjoyed my story so far and is it what you expected?

Editor Afloat: When I am editing I read word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence. It isn’t until my final read-through that I actually get the sense of the whole story. 15 chapters edited at this point, I can tell you that I can’t wait to find out what happens to your characters Mags and Walker. You are a very talented young lady Kristen. 🙂

You can follow Kristen here on WordPress and also on Facebook. We will both be announcing the release of her novel, “Crashing Back Down”, very soon. Stay tuned!

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The Hyphen Mystery

President Woodrow Wilson said the hyphen was “the most un-American thing in the world”. How ironic. It sounded rather prestigious when spoken but when some historian attempted to scribe those words; he had to use a hyphen.

There are at least 10 rules for the proper use of hyphens. I get lax on many occasions and probably don’t use them every time I should. They are useful, as in the case of continuing a word from one line to the next. As long as the writer remembers where to make the split, that application works quite nicely. Hyphens are used to show that letters should be spelled out: “J-O-N-E-S”. They are also used for numbers, such as forty-two, linking nouns to nouns: Dallas-Chicago flight, and adjectives to adjectives: short-timer syndrome.

Here are a few examples that may help illustrate using hyphens.

  • I bought a sink made of stainless steel. It was my first purchase for my all stainless-steel kitchen.
  • I need to leave by three o’clock. I am catching the five-o’clock flight to Denver.
  • The first-half excitement in that game was so intense that all the players were happy for a quiet second half.

So, what’s the big deal? What if I leave out a hyphen or two? In many cases, nothing really but word meanings are often changed with the use of a hyphen. Consider: reformed and re-formed. The difference there could be very important. Are you buying a little, used car or a little-used car? Does your club have a hundred odd members or a hundred-odd members?

You get the idea. But, wait, there’s more! We’ll look at choosing a compound word, a hyphen or using two words in our next visit. 🙂