Wednesday, December 12, 2007

common errors in English

Check out this awesome site (and consider bookmarking...), courtesy of Maud Newton. It's a pretty comprehensive guide to copy editing yourself.

My honest opinion as an editor? I have to confess I'm a little old-fashioned about copy editing on submissions. Yes, the fiber of your writing and your skill with language are of utmost importance and are ultimately what will make you as a writer. But if your submission is poorly copy edited, it really will hurt your chances of getting to the next level with me (and, I think, with a lot of other editors). A more professional submission shows you're more serious about your submission and more willing to put in a little extra time and effort. Since not everyone is a natural grammar freak (thank God--I'm not sure how many other people like myself I could coexist with), it's a good idea to keep a sheet like this handy or, if you really don't trust yourself (which, let's face it, is pretty fair--we manage to miss things about our own writing that we'd catch in a heartbeat in someone else's), to have a friend go over your material, too.

17 comments:

cyn said...

i clicked on that link and my head exploded! =X will have to look into it and forward to my crit group friends. thanks MR!

angelle said...

this was a quick succession of posts.

angelle said...

this link is also awesome. i'm going to amuse myself for hours with this site. so far i like the "ATM Machine" entry. That caught my eye.

good god, i am a Nerd with a capital N and a pocket protector.

Colleen_Katana said...

Being that I'm highly dyslexic, anything helps! Even if I know that t-h-e-y-'-r-e is "they are" I still type in t-h-e-r-e because my stupid mind can't tell the difference!

Precie said...

LOL! After reading cyn's comment, I'm afraid to go look. I'm a bit of a grammar fanatic myself so I don't know if I'd survive.

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks very much for this link. I'll definetely bookmark it for reference. I think I've improved drastically since my early days as a writer on my use of grammar, but I am still not where I'd like to be. I wish I'd taken high school english a bit more seriously.

Merry Jelinek said...

Thanks, I just bookmarked... and I, too, am word geek enough to find this fun.

Colorado Writer said...

Bless you and your firstborn.

Anissa said...

OK, how many hours could you spend there? Yikes! Great link.

Rein/reign trips me up every time. At least I've got "rain" down.

Church Lady said...

HAHAAHA! It was like an explosion!

Thanks for the link!

pacatrue said...

There's a local church here named something like "Jesus Christ of the Latter Rain." I kept assuming they meant 'reign', but there's a new sign up now also spelled 'rain'. Maybe I'm the ignorant one.

Church Lady said...

BookAss, May I use this space to ask a couple of questions and I promise to try to behave and btw did I send a merlot-induced loveletter via email and if I did, ooops.

Precie, I think you allowed me into your blog at one time but I can no longer get in and I've been trying for a while and wanted to tell you but haven't seen you around my blog for a while and yes I would've sent you a merlot-induced love letter if I knew where to send it.

Paca scorns me. Pops in with a cute remark here and there then disappears...

Charles is happily taken and I don't know anyone else here.

writtenwyrdd said...

Your opinion makes sense. Great writing with bad punctuation or grammar is writing that distracts me from what it's saying. I'd probably be less inclined to consider it, too, if I were in your shoes.

Let me ask, though, how you feel about some of the more common errors that are deliberate, such as incomplete sentences, those clauses or phrases that pepper genre writing. It's a style choice, to me, and although I can write without them, I like them. Perhaps I've developed a tin ear style wise, but it adds to voice IMO.

moonrat said...

valid question--i think style is great, and breaking rules for style is fine. but knowing when it's style and when it's just annoying is one of the art forms writers need to master.

it's interesting you ask, because i just edited a book in the voice of a kind of spastic and random first-person narrator. some of the author's "errors" were typos, but some were stylistic choices. at the same time, some of the stylistic choices hampered my reading and i felt that i needed to "correct" them. i think it's a delicate balance.

writtenwyrdd said...

So, as I guessed, breaking grammar rules are okay, if you can get away with it by making it work.

Thanks for the response. I do appreciate it.

writtenwyrdd said...

OMG, I can't believe that "breaking grammar rules *are* okay" got past me. LOL.

Shameless said...

Call me a freak too! I will bookmark smartly! :-)