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TitleGrammatically Correct: The Writer's Essential Guide
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Table of Contents
Copyright page
Table of Contents
Part One – Spelling
		Commonly mispelled words
		Common types of errors
			Interchanging ANT and ENT endings, or ANCE and ENCE
			Interchanging ABLE and IBLE endings
			Interchanging soft C and S, and soft G and J
			Omitting a silent letter
			Confusion over double consonants
			Spelling words the way they're mispronounced
			Mistakenly spelling a derivative the same way as its root word
			Mistakenly keeping—or not keeping—the final E of a root word
			Giving an unfamiliar word the spelling of a more familiar one
			Not recognizing exceptions to familiar letter sequences
			Confusion over unusual letter sequences
			Spelling foreign words as if they were English
		Common Types of Typos
			Transposition of letters to create a similar word
			Omission of one occurrence of a repeated letter
			"word stutter"
	Frequently Confused Homonyms
	Spelling Variations
		American/British differences
			or/our endings
			er/re endings
			ize/ise endings
			ed/t endings
			Single/double consonants
			Dropping/retaining E
			e/ae, oe
			More phonetic/more traditional
		Other spelling variations
		Alternate spellings of foreign names
		Hyphenation of compound words
			Compound nouns
			Compound adjectives
			Commonly mishyphenated words
		Hyphenation with prefixes and suffixes
			When the combination of root word and prefix/suffix is unusual
			When the word would have a different meaning without a hyphen
			When the word might be difficult to read if it didn't have a hyphen
			When the addition of the prefix or suffix would create an awkward juxtaposition of the same letters
			When the root word is capitalized
			When the root word is a numeral
			With certain prefixes; e.g., all, ex, self
			With certain suffixes; e.g., elect, odd, free
		Hyphenation with numbers
Part Two – Problem Words
	Frequently Misused Words
	Plural Formations
		With compound words where the principal noun is followed by a modifier, the pluralizing S goes after the noun
		Words ending in a sibilant sound—S, SH, soft CH, X or Z—add E
		Words ending in IS change to ES
		Words ending in a consonant followed by Y change to IES
		With words ending in F or FE, some change to VES, others add S
		With words ending in O, some add S, others add ES
		Some words of italian origin that end in O change to I, but may alternatively add S
		Latin words ending in US change to I
		Latin words ending in UM change to A
		Latin words ending in A add an E
		Latin-derived words ending in X either change to ICES or add ES
		Greek words ending in ON change to A
		Many French words that end in EAU may add either X or S
		Hebrew words add IM (for masculine words) or OTH (for feminine words)
		Some english words take unpredictable plural forms
		Some words are the same in both singular and plural form
	Negative Formations
Part Three – Punctuation
	Basic Sentence Structure
		Subject, predicate, clause
		Independent clause, dependent clause, conjunction
		Sentence fragment
		Avoiding commas within clauses
			Don't separate any of the main parts of a clause
			Don't split the subject and predicate
			Don't split the subject and predicate, even if the predicate comes first
			Don't split the verb part of the predicate from the rest
			Don't split a compound subject
			Don't split the two actions in the predicate
			Don't split the two descriptions in the predicate
			Don't split the two entities affected by the action
			Don't split the two recipients of the action
		Separating the main elements of a sentence
			When two independent clauses are joined by a conjunction, put a comma between the
			Don't use a comma to separate independent clauses that are not linked by a conjuncti
			When an independent clause is preceded by another element, put a comma after the introductory element
				Dependent clauses
				Introductory words
			When an independent.clause is followed by an element that is essential to its meaning, do not put a comma between them
			When an independent clause is followed by an element that is not essential to its meaning, do put a comma between them
		Setting off parenthetical elements
			Use commas to set off words or expressions that are "interrupters"
			If a subject is followed by a nonrestrictive descriptor, use commas to set off the descriptor. if it is followed by a restric
			If a dependent clause is nonrestrictive, mark it off with commas. if it is restrictive, do not use comma
			In a dependent clause, use which W the clause is nonrestrictive, and that if it is restrictiv
		Separating elements in a series
			In a list of three or more elements, separate the elements with commas
			Use a serial comma if it makes text clearer or more readable
			Put a comma between two adjectives that precede a noun, provided those adjectives are of equal weight
		Setting off dialogue and quotations
			If dialogue is preceded by any text, put a comma after the introductory text
			If dialogue is followed by any text, put a comma before the closing quotation marks
			Set off nondialogue quotations with commas only if other rules call for it
		Indicating omitted words
			Use a comma to indicate omitted text if the sentence would read ungrammatically without it
		Other uses of the comma
			Separating numbers
			Separating repeated words
			Separating place names
		Separating elements
			Use semicolons to separate elements that are themselves subdivided by commas
			Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses that are linked by conjunction-like words
			Use semicolons if commas might cause a sentence to be misread or otherwise difficult to follow
			Recommendation: if you feel a comma would not be strong enough, use a semicolon instead even if it is not technically required
		Linking elements
			Recommendation: consider using the semicolon in place of a conjunction
			Recommendation: consider using the semicolon to unite two separate sentences
		Style conventions
		Introducing what follows
			Use a colon when a sentence contains a "question/answer"
			Use a colon to introduce a list
		Strengthening connections or adding emphasis
			Recommendation: use a colon to make connections clearer
			Recommendation: use a colon to add emphasis
		Other uses of the colon
			Separating the numbers in a ratio
			Separating the hour from the minutes
			Separating a main title from the subtitle
			Separating lead-in text from spoken words in dialogue
			Separating low-level subheadings and figure or table identifiers from the text that follows them
			Separating a character's name from his or her lines in scripts and screenplays
		Colon or semicolon?
		Style conventions
		Ending a sentence
			Don't include a period for a grammatically complete parenthesized sentence that lies within another sentence
			Use a comma rather than a period to end a sentence in dialogue when more text follows
			Don't include a period if a sentence ends in another terminal punctuation mark, even if that mark does not apply to the sentence as a whole
			If a sentence ends in an abbreviation that includes a period, do not add another period
			Be consistent with the use of periods at the end of list items
		Indicating abbreviations
			Initials of people's names
			Titles, honorifics
			Geographical names
			Time indicators
			Metric measurements
			Names of companies or organizations
		Other uses of the period
			Setting off list numbers
			Setting off headings and captions
			Representing a decimal point
	Question Mark
		Indicating queries
			Use the question mark when posing a direct query
			Use it to turn a statement into a query
			Use it for a statement that ends in a word inflected as a query
			Use it for a sentence that consists of a direct question contained within a statement
			Use it to achieve a tentative inflection
		Indicating rhetorical questions
		Indicating requests
		Indicating uncertainty
		Style conventions
	Exclamation Point
		Indicating importance or emotion
		Indicating rhetorical questions
		Drawing attention to a point
		Cautions about the exclamation point
		Style conventions
		Indicating end-of-line word breaks
			Don't break words of one syllable
			Don't break a word if just one letter would be left on a line
			Recommendation: break hyphenated compound words at the hyphen
			Recommendation: break closed compound words between the words
			Recommendation: do not break a word if two unrelated words would coincidentally result
		Linking the parts of a compound adjective
			Use hyphens to link the words of a compound adjective that precedes a noun if ambiguity or uncertainty might otherwise result
			Do NOT link the words of a compound adjective with hyphens when they come after the noun
			Do not use a hyphen when the first word of a compound adjective is an adverb ending in LY
			In most cases, do use a hyphen for adverbs that do not end in LY
		Acting as a "stand-in" for a repeated word
		Indicating special intonations or pronunciations
			Spelling a word out
			A slight pause for emphasis
			A drawn-out intonation
			A lilting or singsong intonation
			Rolled R's or hissed S's
			Stuttering, stammering or teeth-chattering
		Indicating "and" or "or" relationships
		Indicating other relationships
			Separating elements that are being compared
			Separating origins and destinations
			Separating the numerals making up a date
			Indicating a period spanning two calendar years
			As a shorthand designation for PER
			Indicating division or fractions
		Separating lines of poetry
		Working in digressions
		Making text easier to follow
		Setting off details
			Short clarifications
			Telephone area codes
			Birth/death dates
			Numbers or letters used for listing items
		Style conventions
		The Em Dash (—)
			Marking off a descriptive element or digression
			Marking a break in structure or turn in content
				Dash or colon?
			Indicating interrupted dialogue
			Setting off the source of a quotation
			Style conventions
		The En Dash (–)
			Linking elements
			Substituting for a hyphen to link compounds
			Style conventions
		2-Em (——) and 3-Em Dashes (———)
			Style conventions
		Identifying changes to quoted material
		Enclosing digressions within parentheses
		Other uses of brackets
		Style conventions
	Quotation Marks
		Setting off dialogue
		Setting off citations
			Altering a citation
		Setting off special text
			Coined or unusual words
			Words used in a special sense
			Words used ironically
		Setting off titles
		Style conventions
			Shape and number
		Indicating omissions
		Indicating hesitation or trailing off of speech
		Imparting extra significance to words
		Style conventions
		Indicating omissions in contracted words
			Two-word contractions
			Single-word contractions
			Numerical contractions
		Indicating possessives
			For singular nouns, add an apostrophe plus S
			For plural nouns that end in S, add just an apostrophe
			For plural nouns that don't end in S, add an apostrophe plus S
			For personal pronouns, add just S
			For joint possession, make only the last noun possessive; for separate possession, make each noun possessive
			Special situations
				Compound nouns
				Words with Y singulars
				Inanimate possession
			Indicating plurals
				Pluralizing numerals or letters
				Pluralizing non-noun words
				When NOT to use a pluralizing apostrophe
Part Four – Grammar
	Agreement Between Subject and Verb
		Problem Category 1: The Subject, the Whole Subject and Nothing but the Subject
			Compound subjects
			Alternative subjects
			Distracting parenthetical nouns
			Distracting modifying nouns
			Distracting predicate nouns
			Inverted subject-verb order
		Problem Category 2: Forest or Trees?
			Collective nouns
				Some are always singular or always plural
				Some are singular when used in one sense, and plural in another
				Some can go either way
				Some are determined by context
				Be consistent with collective nouns
			Terms of quantity
			Problem pronouns
			Problem phrases
			Unusual plurals and singulars
	Achieving Parallel Structure
		Avoiding faulty parallelism
		Parallelism as a literary device
	Positioning Modifiers Correctly
		Dangling modifiers
		Misplaced modifiers
		Squinting modifiers
		Using the correct form
		Personal pronouns
			When do you use I and when me?
			Personal pronouns with elliptical constructions
		Relative pronouns
			When do you use who and when whom?
			When do you use that and when which?
			When do you use that and when who?
		Reflexive pronouns
		Possessive pronouns
		Referring to the right antecedent
			Missing antecedents
			Intervening antecedents
			Ambiguous antecedents
		Agreement between pronoun and antecedent
			Agreement in gender
			Agreement in number
			Agreement in person
	Bugbears and Bêtes Noires: Some Grammar Taboos That Aren't
		Splitting infinitives
		Starting a sentence with a conjunction
		Ending a sentence with a preposition
Part Five – Style
		Creative uses of capital letters
		Conventional uses of capital letters
			Starting a sentence
			Lending weight
				Well-known events or entities
				Titles and identifiers
		All caps and small caps
		Highlighting significant words
		Emphasizing a speaker's words
		Setting off non-English words
		Setting off special text
			Stage directions
			Words and letters referred to as such
		Underscoring a point in a quote
		Style conventions
	Active Versus Passive Voice
		Advantages of the active voice
		Advantages of the passive voice
	Writing With Sensitivity
		Avoiding loaded words
		Avoiding male-only pronouns
			Using he/she, s/he, or they
			Using he or she
			Alternating he and she
			Using the plural
			Using the indefinite pronoun one
			Using the second person
			Using the passive voice
			Avoiding pronouns
	Writing With Finesse
		Ensuring that reading level is appropriate
		Ensuring that sentence length is appropriate
		Chunking information appropriately
		Organizing information appropriately
		Avoiding redundancy
		Avoiding overuse of a word
		Using jargon appropriately
		Capturing accents and speech patterns appropriately
		Avoiding a heavy-handed style
		Suggestions on self-assessment
			Read your text aloud to yourself
			Always look over a printout
			Focus on the whole as well as the parts
			Put your work aside for a while and then come back to it
			Have someone else look your work over
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