I’m sure there was some point in your elementary school English classes when your teacher went over the absolute rules for what words you capitalize and what words you don’t.
If you’ve been reading my blog for long, I doubt you’ll be surprised by what I have to say to that. The rules aren’t as cut and dried as your English teacher told you.
To be fair, the rules they taught you are generally true. For example, the names of people, cities, states, and countries are usually considered proper nouns and capitalized, even when used as an adjective.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, and that’s where style comes in.
I’ve noticed a trend lately in some of the books I’ve been reading: authors choosing unusual layout and designs for parts of their books.
I’m not saying that everything out of the ordinary is bad. Uncommon design elements and devices can make your work stand out or even enhance the reader’s experience. But unique doesn’t necessarily equal improvement.
If you read my earlier post on the grammar police, you know I don’t believe in the stark right and wrong of English grammar. I prefer to think in terms of standard and nonstandard, reflecting whether or not a bit of grammar or punctuation conforms to the generally agreed-upon norms.
But what does that mean for you, the writer?
With the approach of Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to write something about mothers, so I went back and forth, looking for something to say about mothers and writing, editing, or publishing.
But I found myself empty of any great lesson, information, or wisdom to impart, so the format of this week’s post is going to be a little different. Instead of giving information or instruction, I’m just going to share a story about my own mother and how she’s influenced my career as a copyeditor.
Last week I wrote about dialogue tags. They’re a pretty simple device used to keep straight who’s saying what.
But what about punctuation? Is there a comma? No comma? Where does the comma go?
Punctuation can be a sticking point for many writers because it feels too technical, like science to an artistic mind. So, here are a few simple guidelines for punctuating your dialogue tags.
Rebecca has a passion for helping you fill the world with great literature and making sure said literature doesn't get passed over for the lack of a little editing.