Grammar Gremlins

These columns were written as a monthly feature of In Print, the newsletter of the Houston Bay Area Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Managing Misplaced Modifiers : avoiding the unintentionally funny. (Intentionally funny is a good thing.)

About Apostrophes : It’s or its and other apostrophe catastrophes.

Allegory, Alliteration, and Allusion : Rhetorical figures and faults, part 1.

As Such, Therefore I . . . : As such and therefore are not quite the same.

As the Language Turns : Nothing stays the same forever.

Avoiding Ambiguity : Are you sure that means what you meant to write?

Both vs. Each: A bit of random curiosity.

Capital Letters Count : Watch out for Uncle Jack!

Comma Sense : Where you put that comma really matters.

Dealing With Dialogue: “What shall we talk about this month?” the gremlins asked.

Dreyer’s English : The most fun I’ve ever had with a reference book!

Dreyer’s English Part 2 : More useful info from Benjamin Dreyer.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves : The Gremlins review a book.

Eupehmism or Dyspehmism? : Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Forgotten Words: Who put the feck in feckless?

Here’s Smirking at You, Kid : Smirk is not just another word for smile.

I Wish I May . . . : May and might are not always interchangeable.

I Wish I Were . . . : Adventures in the subjunctive mood.

More Pesky Pairs and a Trio : We never run out of these.

Odd Idioms : What the heck is a shrift?

On the Book Shelf: A collection of grammar and punctuation reference books.

On the Parallel Bars : Which of these items doesn’t quite fit?

One Word or Two? : An altogether helpful list.

Pacing Weasels : Don’t let the weasels slow you down!

Pesky Pairs : Which word fits?

Pesky Pairs Part 3 : More confusing words.

Pesky Pairs Part 4 : And still more of the little devils.

Pesky Pronouns : I and me are not interchangeable!

Phrased and Confused : Are you sure that’s the right word?

Point of View Weasels : Don’t push your reader away!

Positioning Prepositions : An old rule up with which we will not put.

Punctuating Adjectives : A hyphen here, a comma there.

Punctuating With Dash(es) : Hyphen, en dash or em dash?

Puzzling Plurals : Of Mice, Lice, and Spice.

That Which Who : Three pronouns dancing around one another.

The African Svelte : A most entertaining book for word lovers.

The Bracket Racket : Round, square, angle or brace?

The Care and Feeding of the Illusive Semicolon : A report from the Punctuation Protection Agency.

The Inigo Montoya Edition : I do not think that word means what you think it means.

The Oxford Comma : Sometimes a necessity!

There’s a Name for Those! : Contronyms, Capitonyms, and Heteronyms.

To Be or Not To Be : Is it truly passive voice, or just passive writing?

Two Terms You Probably Don’t Know (I Didn’t) : Chiasmus and Antimetabole.

Verbal Distinctions: Transitive and Intransitive verbs.

Weeding Out the Weasels : Words you don’t want or need.



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