Did you know that today is National Punctuation Day? Who knew there was whole day set aside to think about punctuation?
I could probably use a brush-up on these rules. One of my kids recently told me that he got major points off an essay I had checked because of a run-on sentence. I guess I didn’t catch a misused comma or semicolon! So much for bragging about being an English major in college…
To celebrate this big day, I grabbed these grammar and punctuation books at the library. I’m going to flip through them and try to nail down some of my comma weaknesses!
I recently read a book in which many of the characters were advised to lay low because danger lurked and they didn’t want to be found out. This is a commonly used phrase and we all know what it means, but did you know that the correct advice would be to lie low?
Merriam-Webster says lay low is a transitive verb and that it means “to bring or strike to earth or to knock out of a fight or out of action.”
So the person on the other end of laying low is not exactly staying out of danger, maybe just the opposite!
LawProse offers more explanation and sites some examples from a documentary that got it wrong and a journalist who got it right.
Which way do you say it? If we all know what it means to lay low, should it matter? I like to follow the rules, so I vote for lie low. But maybe saying lay low is more authentic to a character in a book. I don’t know. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.
Hi Everyone! So the crocuses you see here made an early appearance this month. We got to enjoy them for a week or so until our bunnies had them for breakfast. Oh well, it happens every year. More flowers on the way!
In case you missed anything, here’s a quick rundown of February’s posts:
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak – an interesting novel about the last minutes of awareness of a prostitute who is murdered in Istanbul, based on the idea that the mind continues to work in the moments after death. Read my review here.
A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny – this is my second Louise Penny book in the Inspector Gamache series, set in Canada. You don’t have to read them in order. She’s a very good writer and I’m sure I will read more of her books. Check it out here.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – I loved this book about a nearly-adult brother and his sister whose stepmother casts them out of their home after their father dies. There’s so much more to the story than this, though. It came under heavy fire in my Facebook discussion group, but I’m holding firm that Ann Patchett has written another great book. See why here.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb – I’ve been wanting to read this book about psychotherapy for almost a year and I’m so glad I finally got to it. Gottlieb is a best-selling writer, psychotherapist and advice columnist and she writes about her own experiences as both therapist and patient. See my review here.
What’s That Book?
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper – blogging friend Tammie Painter shared her review of this charming part slice-of-life, part humor, part adventure, and part mystery novel. See what she says here.
Who’s That Indie Author?
Meet Berthold Gambrel, science fiction, horror and fantasy writer and author of The Directorate, The House of Teufelvelt, 1NG4, Vespasian Moon’s Fabulous Autumn Carnival. He’s a combination pantser/planner and the proud owner of a flip-phone. Now that’s something we should all consider! Read his profile here.
Say hello to Deanna King. She writes fictional crime, fantasy romance and children’s stories and is the author of Gracie’s Stories,Twist of Fate – A Jack West Novel and has a new Jack West novel in the works. Deanna thinks print books will always be around and could go the whole day without checking her phone. Meet Deanna here.
I’m always thinking about blogging and the news that Instagram has been considering permanently doing away with “likes” got me talking. I’m not an Instagrammer, and I don’t care much about Facebook, but I think WordPress bloggers want to see the likes.
And this post got a lot of discussion. Most of you think the classic editor is the way to go. Someday we will all have to move to the new WordPress block editor. Despite the negative comments, I’m still considering the switch.
Ever use the past tense of one of these words and wonder, “Did I get that right?” And have you wondered if there’s a difference between loan and lend?
The answer is technically no, with a couple explanations. Here’s a rundown of the past tenses of these words, plus a quick explanation of loan and lend.
Dreamed and dreamt – they’re both right, but dreamed is more common in both American and British English. It’s okay to use dreamt, though, especially if you’re a poet or songwriter and need something to rhyme with exempt. Check out the full explanation on writingexplained.org.
Learned and learnt – also both right, but most Americans and Canadians use learned and, according to Grammarly, the rest of the world uses learnt.
Dived and dove – both are correct. Dived is more traditional choice and dove is the more modern usage (from the 1800s though). This, all according to merriam-webster.com.
Loan and loaned vs lend and lent – guess what? Loan and lend mean the same thing when they refer to supplying someone with something. Loaned is the past tense of loan and lent is the past tense of lend. So either word, in present or past is fine in this context. But the word lend has a lot of other definitions. Check out the explanation on dictionary.com.
Me? I say dreamed, learned, dove and loaned. What do you say? Leave a comment and let me know!
September is often the month for fresh starts and getting back on track after the lazy days of summer. The truth is, for me, summer can be busier than fall! It’s much quieter here now, with kids out of the house, going to school or working. I like the hustle bustle of a full house, but there are always books, right?
I read some good ones this month and was surprised that I had chosen three nonfiction books! I have always preferred fiction, but I’m noticing more and more interesting narrative nonfiction books that I want to read.
Yes, it is, but the meaning has changed. The word relatable used to mean that something could be told or that it was connected to something else. Now, it usually describes a situation in which someone has a personal connection to something.
able to be shown or established to have a causal or logical connection to something
able to be related to : possible to understand, like, or have sympathy for because of similarities to oneself or one’s own experiences
Relatable is all over the media. Every show, book, movie, news story, tweet or post is relatable to someone. And this isn’t anything new, just something I’ve been thinking about lately.
Professors and high school teachers have bemoaned its overuse and some say that students need to pay attention to things that are not relatable so they can understand them better.
For more information, read Ben Zimmer’s 2010 New York Times article in which he explains the origins of the word, and Rebecca Onion’s 2014 article in Slate, where she says the word’s overuse bothers her. Me? I’m not bothered by it. It may be a lazy way of saying you get something, without explaining why, but it’s an otherwise nice word—and that’s relatable!
True to form, April came in with showers and today, on the last day of the month, there are plenty of flowers.
I was busy this month with more than just reading and blogging, and I took an unexpected week off from WordPress and all social media. I returned with energy and new ideas, some of which you will see in May!
Here’s a recap of my posts, with a bit of commentary, just in case you missed something.
I reviewed three books this month – all very good reads!
I introduced one indie author – H. W. Bryce and wrote a post about how to submit a profile to Who’s That Indie Author. I’ve lined up some new authors for May, so get ready to meet some new writers! In the meantime, check out Bryce’s book of poetry for some thoughtful insights.
As anyone who likes to read knows, the “To Be Read” pile grows and grows. But making lists is part of the fun. Wondering where to get some good book recommendations? Visit your library – where browsing is always fun and books are free!
I’m working on some new ideas for May and I’m thinking about restructuring my blog posts this summer. I think it’s good to shake things up from time to time. Next month is looking good to me – here are those flowers I told you about!
I’m no grammar expert, but I do like to get it right when I’m writing, yet I still make plenty of mistakes. When I’m talking with someone, however, I much prefer to let the conversation flow and I usually let my guard down and live in the moment. But has someone ever stopped you to correct your speech? Called you out in front of others? Ouch! It’s happened to me. It stings, doesn’t it?
I think it’s best to be quiet on the subject, unless you’re helping a two-year-old learn to talk. That said, here’s a list of some of the mistakes I’ve made, and heard. You may be an expert after studying for the SATs or working on your thesis, but even if these grate on you, take a breath and embrace the mood of the story that person is telling you.
Using further instead of farther, or the reverse. Don’t ask me to tell you the rule. I’d have to look it up, so I usually avoid these words.
Lay and lie – I know which is which, but I still stay away.
Inserting too many “likes” or “you knows” in conversation. We’ve all done it. Cut others the slack they deserve!
Incorrect and too frequent use of “literally” – “I was literally standing there for 15 minutes!” Same “cut some slack” advice from #3.
“Me and him went to the store” – okay this is a tough one, but please, stay quiet. It’s not worth it!
Bad and badly – Feel bad, want something badly, but whatever you do, don’t make someone else feel bad for getting it wrong.
“Hi, it’s me!” I’m pretty sure this has finally earned the acceptance it deserves. Use the SAT/thesis guidelines here and stay mum.
Swearing for emphasis – this is a tough one. I still say let it slide, unless the words are meant to offend or intimidate you. Then, by all means, do what you have to do.
Now if you’re applying for a job or meeting your future in-laws for the first time, or trying to put on your best self, pay attention to what you’re saying and avoid these pitfalls.
But if you’re a listener, remember this important rule:
Speech is silver, silence is golden!
What do you think? Have you been cited by the grammar police? Tell me what happened!