Editor Afloat

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Fast Grammar: Most Perfect? No.

An adjective, remember, is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. “His new car is blue.” “She’s a happy baby.” An absolute adjective is an adjective with a meaning that is generally not capable of being intensified or compared. Also known as a non-gradable adjective, these words convey their own limits. Words such as “perfect” or “dead” are absolute adjectives. Although “most perfect” is often heard in today’s conversational English, it is not technically correct. You cannot be “less dead” or “slightly married”. Your test answers are either “true” or “false”. Here is a list of words that generally stand as non-gradable adjectives:

  • absolute
  • adequate
  • alive
  • complete
  • dead
  • divorced
  • empty
  • entire
  • equal
  • essential
  • eternal
  • extraneous
  • false
  • fatal
  • final
  • finite
  • first
  • full
  • ideal
  • imperfect
  • impossible
  • incomplete
  • inevitable
  • infinite
  • known
  • last
  • main
  • married
  • minor
  • non-essential
  • not fatal
  • not ideal
  • not pregnant
  • not unique
  • not universal
  • perfect
  • possible
  • preferable
  • pregnant
  • principal
  • round (or other shape)
  • separated (marital status)
  • single (marital status)
  • sufficient
  • true
  • unanimous
  • unavoidable
  • unequal
  • unique
  • universal
  • unknown
  • whole
  • widowed

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you the idea. Exception: Some adjectives such as “nearly” and “almost” can sometimes be used to demonstrate attainment of a near-absolute state.

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Holly Kerr Interviews The Editor Afloat!

Many thanks to author Holly Kerr for posting an interview she and I did. Thanks also to Anna Ellis for introducing us, and to Kristen Hope Mazzola for her interview that both Holly and Anna read. Small world – see how that goes ’round? Check out Holly here (she’s Canadian, don’t pick on her spelling)  http://hollykerr.ca/karen/ She is the author of Baby? Baby! Baby!?

Anna has released the first two parts of her trilogy, Husbands and Wives. This is a quick read about the friendliest of neighbors – great fantasy stuff!

Kristen, by the way, is giving away some signed copies of her new paperback, Crashing Back Down. Be sure to visit her page to get entered into that drawing.


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Crazy Days!

The last two weeks have been a little wild and close to overwhelming here on the peaceful river. First, my allergies got out of control, making me wheeze for days. Then my birthday rolled around and I added to my troubles by eating “treats”. My food allergies are worse than the reactions I have to the environment. Add to that, three days of overtime between the barn and the store. Then, out of the blue, I come back to the boat and there is absolutely no Internet! ACK! I wandered down the dock to ask the young man who provides the Internet service out here what may have happened. I didn’t have to inquire. There, on the finger next to his boat, is a new contraption for gold mining: A dredge for sucking sand up off the bottom of the Columbia River and a sluice box to ‘capture’ the gold dust. Hey kid! This isn’t California, how ’bout it? The equipment has  the same value roughly as servers for broadcasting Wi-Fi to your neighbors. I can only guess that this is the latest in his long list of get-rich-quick schemes. Sigh… I spent the next two days trying to find a replacement service. Easier said than done out here on the water. I am (obviously) back online, but it is sooooooo slow compared to what I did have. I’ll have to keep looking.

Tonight I added a new page – Current Projects – to my web site. This is a list of WIPs, that is, Works in Progress. Also, recent jobs and I included a short list of my own ambitions. There are links to most of the works I mention; please take a look at these authors’ pages, you may find something you really like. 🙂

Finally, and perhaps the most significant reason for this post, is to apologize to S.C. Rhyne, Lynne Taylor, and Anna Ellis for falling so far behind in my work on their projects. I should have had all three of them done by last weekend. It is tough for me to work when I fall asleep every time I sit down. That is one of the sad side effects of my food allergies. (OK ladies, I am trying to behave now!) I have also added a third editing program to my arsenal. It is more thorough than my others, but I still find myself eye-balling the majority of the errors. Artificial Intelligence is fine, but it still isn’t the greatest.

I did finish the final edit of The Reporter and The Girl by S.C. Rhyne. This will be released as an e-book very soon.  You will find links to her Facebook page and blog too, on my new Current Projects page.


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Fast Grammar – Then and Than

Here’s another situation that is changed mightily by one letter. I not only see this error often in manuscripts but I hear it in the spoken word as well. There is a difference!

Then – used to indicate what happened, happens next, or what should be done next.

Than –  can be either a conjunction or a preposition. Most commonly used with comparative adjectives and comparative adverbs.

Examples: If the puppy grows bigger than her cage, then you’ll need to buy her a new one. (In the first half of the sentence, we are comparing the size of the pup versus her cage. In the second half of the sentence, an action will take place if the condition exists.) Another: We can move the table over there and then put the couch here, but that will only work if the couch is shorter than the windowsill. (Again, the couch will only be moved after the first action is completed and in the second part of the sentence, we are comparing the height of the couch relative to the windowsill.)

It’s easy to figure out whether to use then or than just by thinking (ahead) how the word will be used in your sentence.

Get your Fast Grammar fix here! Don’t forget the Editor Afloat also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.


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One letter is all it takes…

I saw a message on a social media site today that made me stop what I was doing and create this little message. We all know (or hope we know) what she meant to say to her BFF but the missing letter turned the meaning quite upside down! Just a reminder that even if your spell-checker isn’t telling you anything is wrong, you’d better read your letter one more time.

Friend vs. Fiend

Be careful what you write!


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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 résumés to full-length novels.