A while ago, I got a request for a post on editing/grammatical stuff. So, I’m tackling that subject today! 😉
I am no grammar teacher, so instead, I’m going to talk about several things to look out for.
The commas are so hard. I can’t even get them right myself half the time. Sometimes, when Microsoft says you need a comma, I have to read over the sentence carefully myself to see if it actually applies. The thing about commas is they’re really flexible; sometimes when it might be considered grammatically correct to put one, it would be weird to have one.
For example, I never got this rule: when you have three things in a row, you only have one comma. So if I said he had toast, jam, and orange juice, I would’ve wanted to put a comma right there, after jam. But grammar says you shouldn’t. But does that make sense?? That’s like saying you’re having toast and a mix of juice and jam. (Gross!) So I always ignore that rule.
Several points you should put commas:
- If a character is going to speak, you need to put a comma before the quotation! For example: Lisa continued, “We need to hurry.” But watch out! You don’t always put commas when people are speaking! For example: She shook her head. “No, we shouldn’t do that.” As I said, commas are really flexible. If the sentence is ‘going into’ the quotations, that’s an indicator for the comma. Try saying it out loud. If it sounds better if you pause a beat before the character speaks, then it’s probably a period.
- Long sentences usually have commas. The thing about them is if someone was reading out loud, they would have to stop for a breath. The place to do that is at commas. If you have a long sentence, you should break it up with commas. It also helps the reader mentally reading it. It’ll help keep the flow of the sentence going and break up the info being told into bite-sized chunks. They’ll absorb it easier, and not have to reread it. When you edit, try reading through longer sentences in your head and out loud if you’re not sure.
- When you’re introducing a new thought, you should have a comma. As said above, this breaks the info into bite-sized chunks for the reader. When they’re separated by commas, it automatically makes it a different part of the sentence.
It sounds hard, but after a while, you get used to putting them in. Just watch for places that are good for breaths and for the most part, you’re good!
Homonyms are evil things that I swear were created to terrorize writers. These are the words that sound the same, but the spelling of them, and the meaning are different. Here are some examples:
- Right and write
- Cue (like a stage cue), queue (a line), and cue (like a pool cue – the pool with hard balls)
- Flea and flee
- Iron and iron (a rare case of the same spelling; iron is a metal, and ironing as in ironing out wrinkles)
- Affect and effect
When you’re unsure about which spelling to use, google the word. It’ll give you the definition.
I’ve seen some writers before who’ve had trouble with capitalizing. This makes it difficult for a reader to know when a sentence begins and ends. Here’s some places to put a capital letter:
- A character’s name! Or any name! This includes names of places (like Canada, Australia, or West Street) companies (Barnes and Noble) blogs (Julia’s Creative Corner) or positions (President). There’s a thing about the last one, though. When you’re not saying the name of the person in the position, you might not have to capitalize it. For example, if I say Queen Serena, I capitalize it because I included Serena. The queen’s name. But you see what I did there? I didn’t capitalize ‘queen’. To be able to tell if you capitalize it or not, try this test: insert a name in the place of the position. If it doesn’t sound right with the name, then don’t capitalize it. (As said above, if I put in Serena instead of queen, it would be ‘the Serena’s name.’ Makes no sense!)
- At the beginning of a sentence, you always capitalize. This signals the beginning of it. Just take a look at this blog post! I always capitalize all letters that start the sentence.
By that, I mean periods, exclamation points, commas, question marks, or semicolons. We already went over commas in depth above. The thing about the other ones is that they go hand in hand with capitalizing sentences. How will you know where the beginning of a sentence is if you haven’t even ended the last one? This is pretty basic stuff, but I have seen writers with trouble with it before, so here’s the rundown on it:
- When a character is yelling, shouting, or doing anything loud, use exclamation points. For example: “I can’t believe it!” Tara exclaimed, shocked.
- When a question is asked, you always end with a question mark. For example: What did she mean?
- A semicolon is when you need a break in a sentence bigger than a comma, but it also isn’t really the ‘end’ of the sentence. For example: Laura hesitated; could she really trust him?
- Periods are for everything else. They’re what’s used the most to end a sentence. They’re the ‘nuetral’ ones.
An indention is when you’re beginning a new paragraph. To signal the new paragraph, you should just hit the tab key.
This is a big one. When you’re reading, you don’t want one big block of text. Can you imagine how hard that would be to read? That’s why a writer is constantly making a new paragraph. (That’s when you hit the enter button) Just like the comma, breaking up the writing makes it easier for a reader to digest the information. Here are spots you should make new paragraphs:
- If a new character is talking, you must start a new paragraph. Otherwise, the reader will be confused about who is talking!
- If you’re introducing new information, it’s a good idea to do a new paragraph.
- Just like with information, if you introduce a new character, you need to make a new paragraph.
- If you introduce a new setting, it’s a new paragraph.
- Mostly introducing stuff 😂
And there you go! 6 grammatical tips!
The Storm Inside
I’ve hardly gotten any work done on my book this past week. I came down with a cold on Wednesday, and have been working on studying science. (Something that I’ve been working on today despite it being May long weekend) Here are a couple snippets of what’s been done.
“It’s the elves!” Earl shouted. As all eyes turned on him, he cleared his throat, then said in a normal tone, “I mean, it’s the elves.”
As the Pegasus walked out of the stable slowly, Amanda took in several deep breaths. “Okay,” she thought to herself. “This isn’t so bad. We’re just walking.” As if the world was determined to be cruel, they began to trot as soon as they were across the drawbridge. “Um, we aren’t flying, are we?” Amanda squeaked as she bounced in the saddle like a sack of potatoes.
When Amanda awoke, it was to sun peeking through a window. She blinked several times, trying to recall where she was. She always had the drapes closed.
A few feet away, there was a groan.
Amanda sat straight up in bed, wondering who was in her room. But then, upon looking about her, she remembered where she was. In a bed close by was Audrina. She too was sitting up. “The elves don’t have curtains,” she grumbled. “They believe in getting up with the sun.”
“I take it that you don’t?” Amanda yawned.
“Nope,” Audrina groaned, flopping back on her bed and putting her pillow on top of her head in an attempt to block the sunlight.
If you’re interested in getting some more snippets (not shown on my blog!) then you can sign up to my email list!
Working with Brands
Yesterday I was going through my email and checked out a post by Taiya Maddison. (I was a part of her shop’s blog tour a while back) She’s made a course on working with brands, and seeing as she’s worked with lots of brands (including some big ones, like Garage!) I made sure to buy it! I know it’s sure to help anyone who wants to work with brands. It’s $20 off for the launch, so if you want to work with brands, now is the time to get this course and learn how! Click HERE and check out her post about it!
(Please note: Taiya did not ask me to say this. I am not an affiliate. This is just me doing this!)
Were these helpful to you?
Does grammar make a bit more sense to you?
Did you like the snippets?
Are you going to check out Taiya’s course?