If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Word Crimes and Blurred Lines


My Twitter feed blew up Tuesday with a bit of pop culture genius from none other than Weird Al Yankovic.

Maybe you’ve seen it, or maybe you haven’t, but Weird Al released a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” made specifically for grammar nerds called “Word Crimes.” And, because Blogger seems to hate video embeds, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gv0H-vPoDc

Basically, the video highlights, in a very funny way, some of the writing world’s favorite grammar lightening rods, including: apostrophes in words that aren’t possessive, “could care less” (we all know it should be couldn’t, right?), and the good, ol’ Oxford comma.

As someone with a long editorial background (first newspapers, and now freelance), I, of course, watched the video and geeked out just like everyone else. But I also caught myself hoping there’d be a sequel that included some of the mistakes I see time and time again while editing, beta reading, and critiquing.

There are many I can think of, but my top three are below (though I have no idea how to put them to music):

1. Hyphenating modifiers that already have an “-ly” suffix. This one is wrong ALL THE TIME. If a modifer ends in “-ly,” you do NOT hyphenate it with the word after it. So, there should be no “carefully-placed flowers” or “fortunately-timed appearance.” None of that. Drop the hyphen.

2. Using “due to” and “prior to.” This one has firmly driven me nuts since my high school journalism days. When writers use “due to” or “prior to,” they mostly seem to do so because those phrases sound more high brow than, say, “because of “ or “before.” But those phrases are incorrect and plain, old “because of” and “before” are what you should be using.

Both due and prior modify words. Do not attach a “to” to them and hope you sound smarter. You don’t. It’s just like those people you silently correct in your head who use “I” instead of “me” because they’re trying to sound smarter. When you use these two phrases, you’re acting in the very same way.

3. Forego and forgo: Learn the difference. Forego is to go before. Forgo is to go without. They are not interchangeable. The one with an “e” isn’t the Old English spelling. If you swap one for the other, you’re doing it wrong.

The same goes for further/farther and assure/ensure/insure. Learn them. Use them correctly.

What are some of your grammar pet peeves?

7 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I gnash my teeth at statements such as, “Me and Astrid are coming over to play.” It is not only grammatically incorrect, it places me before (or prior to if you are of a mind) the other person. This error may be emblematic of our current society’s problems.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

I'm with Jim on this. I hear it over and over and want to correct the person. I used to correct my third graders when they used "Me and my friend played on the swings." by repeating the sentence with raised eyebrows "Me played on the swings?" Then I'd say that sounds like baby talk to me, and ask them how it should be and let them come up with the correct usage. But I can't do that with adults much as I would like to do it. I think things have gotten worse with the advent of texting.

Warren Bull said...

Some like people use like additional words that are like not needed in a sentence at all.

Shari Randall said...

Oh, the "I" vs. "Me" thing! One reason I've stopped watching nightly news is that most newsreaders try to sound more highbrow by throwing "I" around instead of "me" - even when "me" is correct. I just can't take one more "The news award was given to Chuck and I."

Paula Gail Benson said...

Great blog, Sarah. Shari, the "I" instead of "me" grates on my ears. Now, did I use "great" and "grate" correctly?

Sarah Henning said...

Ha. Oooooh, "I" versus "me"... that's soooo annoying. I'm on my five-year-old like a hawk with that one. He doesn't do it often, but when he does, I'm alllll over it.

KM Rockwood said...

I had one student who had lots of trouble with pronouns--not just I and me, but she and her and he and him. He maintained it was dialectical, not grammatical. And when his grandmother showed up for parents' night, she told me his mother couldn't make it because "Her gots the flu."