My New Favorite Thing: Ask the Editor at Merriam-Webster

If you look back through my blog, you’ll notice that I’m a little preoccupied with grammar. It’s part of my job, but I never did well with grammar in school. That’s why I’m so psyched about this:




Some Words Really Ought to Change

It’s snowing in Wisconsin! Rather, it snowed in Wisconsin. Or, as my brother would say, it snew.

Jiminy, that looks funny to write. Snew. But my brother argues that, even if it isn’t the correct word for the past tense of snow, it really ought to be. Know is knew, so snow should be snew (though one could argue that row is rowed).

If you say it a few times, however, it almost sounds right.

“It snew yesterday.”

“It snowed yesterday.”

Snowed almost sounds childish, especially after a few repetitions.

So who’s with me? Let’s change it! It snew on Friday!

Writing Update Wednesday

It’s rainy in Wisconsin!

Professional writing update: It’s been a long few weeks getting used to the new job, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. Verify, not validate. Configure, not set up. We don’t use semicolons unless absolutely necessary. Bulleted lists are our friends. White space, white space, white space.

Personal writing update: It’s autumn in the Midwest, and oh-so-beautiful. I’ve been working on a fantasy novel on and off again (it’s a very tumultuous relationship), but recently I’ve been in the mood for some poetry and lyric essays. It’s just that kind of season.

How about you? What’s your writing update?

My Little List of Grammar

I’ve never been what you would call an organized writer. Plotting doesn’t come easily to me, and neither does editing. Now that I’m a technical writer, a lot of those organizational things are no longer optional. I can’t be an impulsive writer, at least while I’m at work!

So what’s the solution? My little list of grammar! It’s just a sticky note I keep on my computer that reminds me of my worst writing sins. That way, when I go over my work, I know exactly what to look for.

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Now that’s for technical writing – obviously I’d have a bit different of a list when it came to my fiction. Maybe next week I’ll post an updated version! 🙂

What about you? What would your little list of grammar look like? (also, bonus points if you spot the grammar mistake in my little list!)

Hello Grammar, My Old Nemesis….

Anyone who’s looked at my old blog over the past five years will notice that I was an irregular poster at best. Anyone who’s looked at my blog ever will notice my grammar is not great. It isn’t that I don’t understand how language works. Really, it’s just that I’m lazy and hate proofreading. (THERE! I confessed!)

So why do I bring those two separate tidbits up? Well, I bring it up because I’m now working as a technical writer. This, for the most part, is awesome. It’s also terrifying.

See, I managed to sneak my way through college without ever editing anything seriously. My teachers would hand back grades that mostly ignored the grammar mistakes and focused on the content (which, by the way, is awesome).

But now it’s my job to write correctly. Yikes! Luckily, I have coworkers and editors who look over my work to help me figure out where my grammatical weaknesses are. My biggest offender?

The comma splice. I am a huge fan of the comma splice.

Unfortunately, my company’s style guide disagrees. So does grammar in general, I know, but I’m more concerned with the style guide.

Long story short, I have to make an editing checklist and go over that baby all the time. Maybe I’ll even start using it for blog posts, who knows?

What’s your grammatical sin of choice? Are you a big fan of the comma splice? Dangling participles? Improper conjunction?