Don’t Do That: Common Grammar Errors in Manuscripts

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I see the same grammar mistakes in most of the hundreds of manuscripts I’ve worked on as a professional US copy editor, since 2008. My first 5.5 years, I freelanced with a well-known traditional NYC publishing house. Since then I’ve worked totally with Indie authors. Here is a short seventy-one-page collection. We all have our quirks. Find yours herein and see how to fix it.

 

Description

I see the same grammar mistakes in most of the hundreds of manuscripts I’ve worked on as a professional US copy editor, since 2008. My first 5.5 years, I freelanced with a well-known traditional NYC publishing house. Since then I’ve worked totally with Indie authors.

Over all these years and these hundreds of books I’ve copyedited, what I find odd is how the same grammar mistakes are made over and over by myriad authors, both pro and newbie alike, akin to about four hundred unrelated Americans all having the same dream on the same night. But our US English language rules are not easy to learn, as the rules are not always consistent and do not always make common sense. Plus the rules have exceptions. Some of those exceptions even have exceptions.

Thus this book represents an organized compilation of those “universal” errors I’ve collected over the years, specifically gathered for American authors publishing fiction and nonfiction in the United States, using accepted spelling and grammar practices for this venue—The Chicago Manual of Style (Sixteenth Edition) aka 16CMS and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) aka Web11.

However, copy editors, like me, do much more than catch grammar errors and misspellings. I also look for what I call the:

NINE Cs OF EFFECTIVE WRITING
Chronology
Clarity
Coherence
Communication
Conciseness
Consistency
Continuity
Correctness
Credibility

The Nine Cs of Effective Writing are among the more than seventy topics covered in this seventy-one-page (single-spaced) book, serving as a shortcut for you, making your life easier and helping your writing shine brighter. You may be amazed to find a rule or two that you didn’t know about. Better to read these few pages than the 1,026 pages of the 16CMS or opening up Web11 fiftysomething times a day, right? Okay, you may still have to consult Web11 more than you thought possible, but my general hyphenation rule as to joining base words with prefixes/suffixes will save you valuable time and will yield the correct spelling more times than not.

As any professional author will tell you, this writing career is all about continuing education, about the growth of the author’s expertise. I’m here to help with that.

Let’s dig in.

Pages: 71

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