Editor Afloat

Dedicated to Sticklers everywhere!


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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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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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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’!