Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My New Soulmate



The way to a man's heart is reportedly through his stomach. The way to my heart is apparently through clever songs about grammar. A friend just alerted me to "Weird Al" Yankovic's new song "Word Crimes," and all of a sudden Johnny Depp, Bradley Cooper and Clive Owen mean nothing to me.

"Weird Al," call me! 

I'll make you dinner.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Commas ... Whatever



You guys sure know your grammar errors! 

Commas are the number one grammar-related error literary agents encounter. 

Does that mean that you should all log onto Amazon, buy the best grammar book in the world (i.e., Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares), and study Chapter 5.

Yes and no. 

You should all totally buy the book, but don’t bother reading Chapter 5.

It turns out that literary agents don’t care that much about commas. Here are quotes from three different agents:

“The improper use of the comma is probably the most common error I see. But commas are also one of the most complicated pieces of grammar, so this is often very forgivable.” 

“Commas seem to confound many young writers. I’m fairly flexible in the use of commas. Because comma rules can be confusing and arbitrary, I am less critical of comma errors than other types of errors.” 

“If you don’t know how to use commas, you’re better off underusing them than overusing them.”   

Well, guess what, literary agents, I don’t care about plot or character development or tone or style! So there!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Romantic Side



I’ve never seen The Notebook, I couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day. I would roll my eyes if I walked into a candlelit bedroom with rose petals scattered on the bed.
 
In other words, I fear I am not terribly romantic. 

To prove, however, that I am not completely dead inside, I am a sucker for the movie Love Actually and I did do something romance-adjacent earlier this year. In January (can you believe it’s already March!) I gave a grammar workshop at the Orange County chapter of the Romance Writers Association. 

To prepare for the workshop, I interviewed literary agents about why grammar matters to them, the most common errors they encounter, and their biggest grammar pet peeves. And, because many of you are writers, I want to share my findings with you. 

But before I do that, I have a question for you: What do you think is the number one most common grammar-related error literary agents encounter? 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm Not That Kind of Girl



I think about fanny packs a lot. They're genius, right? A fanny pack would be perfect for one of those nights at the bar that seems like it’s going to be totally chill, but then everyone has a little too much to drink and there’s really good music playing on the jukebox and all of a sudden it turns into an awesome dance party. You want to dance, but it’s hard to really get down while carrying your purse because it keeps sliding down your arm. So you put your purse on the bar stool, but then you can’t really get down because you keep checking on your purse. 

I feel like I should get over myself and get one. I mean, we all should if we’re honest with ourselves. But I know I never will. I just don’t see myself as the kind of girl who wears a fanny pack. They got such a stigma back in the 80’s; I just can’t. 
 
In a similar vein, I won’t use emoticons. The longer they’re around and the more I email and text, the more I realize that they really do help convey the appropriate tone. But I just don’t see myself as the kind of girl who uses emoticons. 

What I use instead of a smiley face is the exclamation point. That perky little punctuation mark does to a sentence what an umbrella does to a cocktail: makes it impossible to take that seriously. When I want to convey a lighthearted tone, I simply place an exclamation point after my sentence.

I thought I was the inventor of using the punctuation mark for tone, but I was wrong. I just read an article that claims that ending a sentence with a period in a text message does to a sentence what red does to a bull: makes it angry. The article says, “I’ve noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce ‘I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.’”

Is punctuation as tone setter a new trend? Does that question mark I just used simply indicate that I just wrote an interrogative sentence, or does it mean that the sentence reveals that I am emotionally confused? If I use a comma, does that mean that I'm feeling hesitant?

What tone does a semicolon convey?


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Crime against Grammar












It was 8am, and I heard my door bell ring. I would love to say I had been up for an hour and was just finishing the last ten minutes of my Thigh Master routine, but the truth is I was fast asleep. I’ve been sleeping in a lot lately—like for the past thirty plus years. 

The door bell had been rung by the maintenance guy at my apartment complex. He told me that someone had hit my car and shattered my tail light. It was a hit and run!

Who could it have been? Who would shatter the tail light of a poor, innocent grammarmobile in the dead of night and just take off?  It had to be someone who hates grammar.

So I did some investigating, and I came across an article about the celebrities with the worst grammar on Twitter.
I narrowed it down, and I came to the conclusion that it must have been Jessica Alba. 

She has always been jealous of my looks.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My New Year's Resolution



When we think of New Year celebrations, we think of champagne and kissing and resolutions and Times Square and that horrible movie from 2011 that starred everyone famous. 

Okay, that was uncalled for. I have never even seen that movie. I just assume it was horrible because … I don’t even know why. Ugh! Why am I being so negative? 

I think I’m a little sensitive today because we associate the New Year with so many wonderful things, but we often forget about the poor apostrophe. I’ve been noticing lately that many people are leaving the apostrophe out when they write New Year’s Eve and New Year’s resolutions

And maybe I’m scared that with every year the apostrophe will become more and more obsolete. Remember that article from earlier this year that argued that the apostrophe was unnecessary?

So this year, I am going to make a New Year’s resolution in an effort to honor the apostrophe: 

I resolve to be a lot more possessive.