Tag Archives: silly spellcheck

Exclamation Points Convey Excitement, But Use Them With Care

exclamation_point_cautionWow!!! Have you noticed how often exclamation points are overused?!! It’s over the top!!!!

A reader weighed in on exclamation points in my recent blog on pet peeves:

“The exclamation point is overused to the point it has lost its intent in the communication I read.”

What is the intent of an exclamation point? Continue

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What Do You Say: Lie Or Lay?

lie-vs-lay-on-beachDo you lie down or lay down? Do you lie the book on the table or lay the book on the table?

Lie vs. lay is one of our most confusing word choices.

You might want to lie down when you finish reading this blog, but I’m going to lay it on you anyway. I’m counting on my examples to help you make the right choices. Continue

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Grammatical Errors Sabotage Writer’s Message, Credibility

Embarrassing_Grammar_MistakesWhen this headline written by a member of one of my LinkedIn groups hit my inbox, I did a double take:
Is you Networking, Notworking?

Although it’s catchy, I clicked on the link to see if the errors — you instead of your, no capital Y, and a comma where none is needed — were intentional as a means to attract attention or whether they truly were oversights.

When I read further, I decided they had to be oversights, as these faux pas were only the beginning. Continue

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Language Evolves: New Words From 2015

 let's also acknowledge that language is dynamic; it necessarily evolves so we can communicate clearly.The English language evolves daily. I enjoy following other grammar blogs, because I love learning from people who take as much interest in words and punctuation as I do.

However, it was disconcerting to see a recent blog — apparently fairly popular — that praised a resource published in 1926 and “lightly revised” in 1965. 1965? That was 50 years ago! Continue

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Confused About Semicolons? So Is Spellcheck

SemiColon - use it rightDo you get confused about when to use a semicolon?

If so, you’re not alone. So does spellcheck.

This sentence, with the name changed, is from a letter I edited recently for a client:

Charles Smith excelled at his duties while he worked with my team, both as a volunteer and as a paid staff member.

Spellcheck suggested this change: Continue

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You’ll Learn To Love The Interrobang

Interrobang is exclamation point and quetion mark merged into oneWhen you want to express query along with either outrage or extreme surprise or excitement, both the question mark and the exclamation point let you down.

Combining a question mark with an exclamation point yields the interrobang, a form of punctuation that has been around since 1962 but has yet to really catch on.

The Economist, of all publications, featured the interrobang in October 2014, explaining that a mere question mark does not always suffice. Continue

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When Is A Question Not A Question?

Woman with a question mark overhead. When does a question not need a question mark.There are times when something appears to be a question, but it really is a polite request that requires neither a question mark nor a response:
     Will you …
     May I …
     I wonder if …
     Didn’t she …

Consider how it would sound if you were to speak the following requests. You likely would not raise your pitch at the end as you do when you ask a question. You really are not asking someone to do something to which they have the option to reply yes or no; you are making a request that you expect to be met.

May I ask you to please return my call before 5 o’clock.
Will everyone without a ticket please contact the box office by Friday noon.
Could you please send me a list of your core competencies.

Here are four more examples that imply query, but as indirect questions they don’t require a question mark. Contrast them with the true question that follows each: Continue

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Don’t Rely on Spellcheck!

As a ruthless editor, I’ve long known that you can’t count on spellcheck to ensure your document has error-free spelling, perfect punctuation, accurate subject-verb agreement and flawless finer points of grammar.

That being said, I still use it regularly to catch typos or obvious spelling errors. (Errors by me, a writer and editor by trade? Yes, it happens.) Continue

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