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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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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 – 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.


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To Sit or to Set. (This one’s easy!)

If you were able to conquer ‘lie’ and ‘lay’, then the verbs ‘to sit’ and ‘to set’ are fairly simple to use.

The intransitive verb sit means to assume or be in a position. It never takes an object to complete the meaning. So: “Today I sit; yesterday I sat; I have sat; I am sitting.”

The transitive verb set means to place or put. It needs an object to complete the sentence. “Today I set the book on the table; yesterday I’m sure I set the paper there too; I have set my pens on the table many times; I am setting the ink there now.”

Just like with lie and lay, you can use the same test word ‘place’ to see if you need to use sit or set. You can’t say, “My dog placed on his bed all morning.” So, the proper sentence would be, “My dog sat on his bed all morning.” You would say though, “I set his water bowl next to him.”

      TO SIT
      present tense ~ sit
      past tense ~ sat
      past participle ~ sat
      present participle ~ sitting
      TO SET
      present tense ~ set
      past tense ~ set
      past participle ~ set
      present participle ~ setting

See? I told you that was easy!


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To lie or to lay? That is the (confusing) question.

The verb ‘to lie’ means to assume a position or to be in a position. It takes no object in the sentence. “Today I lie down; yesterday I lay down, I have lain down; I am lying down.”

The transitive verb ‘to lay’ means to place or put, and requires an object to complete the sentence. “Today I lay the book on the table; yesterday I laid it there; I have laid it there frequently; I am laying it there.”

An easy test when deciding which verb to use is to replace lie or lay with place or put. You can’t say “I place in the hammock.” So, it would be “I lie in the hammock”. But “I placed my book on the side table” is correct. So you could say, “I laid my book on the side table.”

      TO LIE
      present tense ~ lie
      past tense ~ lay
      past participle ~ lain
      present participle ~ lying
      TO LAY
      present tense ~ lay
      past tense ~ laid
      past participle ~ laid
      present participle ~ laying

Hope that little reminder helps. Next time we’ll decipher ‘sit’ and ‘set’!