EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz, #7 Questions and Answers

Another week, another “professional” website to take a look at. These sentences are from a publisher. Yikes!

1) We often receive Manuscripts that require formatting corrections before we can start the editorial and layout processes.

What’s “manuscripts” doing as a proper noun? No, no, no capital M.

2) Find reputable ones and study them! And by the way, keep a grammar reference nearby at all times!

Look at those exclamation points! What are those two exclamation points doing with those sentences? It’s so juvenile!

Rule: Exclamation points are used to represent the highest pitch of emotion, in a paragraph, on a page, in a chapter. They are not to be used lightly, carelessly, or wantonly, but carefully, soberly, and with discretion.

Here are three mistakes in a brief article about (wait for it) proofreading.

3) If you publish your book across multiple formats (hardcover, paperback, or e-book.) make sure that internal page references are correct in each version.

What’s that period doing inside the parenthesis?

Rule: When you start a sentence off with “If,” you are likely going to need a comma somewhere. This sentence needs a comma after the parenthetical information. Corrected, it reads

If you publish your book across multiple formats (hardcover, paperback, or e-book), make sure that internal page references are correct in each version.

4) Don’t just indicate every error you find; also indicate each page on which an error occurs (perhaps by circling the page number.)

The material inside the parenthesis is not a complete sentence and so needs no punctuation. The period should be placed outside the sentence.

5) Have a second person go over your manuscript (preferably someone who is good at spelling and grammar.)

Yeah, not like YOU! Well, at least they were consistently wrong! Another thing to notice is this: Watch for repetitive use of words and sentence structure. Parenthetical asides have their place, but should be used sparingly. Three times in a short article is two times too many.

These lovely sentences are from Grammarly.com. It really jerks my chain to see  such SLOPPY writing on Grammarly.com, and to watch as it spews forth information that is wrong, wrong, wrong is OUTRAGEOUS.

6) Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs which join two clauses; some examples of are also, besides, accordingly, finally, subsequently, therefore, thus, meanwhile, moreover, nonetheless, instead, however, indeed, hence, consequently, similarly and still.

Hey, look at that big fat missing word! And why can’t you alphabetize your list?

7) Conjunctive adverbs frequently (but not necessarily) have a semi-colon before them.

It’s semicolon, not semi-colon.

8) As they’re conjunctions (i.e. words that join two thoughts or ideas), it’s best not to use them at the beginning of a sentence.

I.E. is always followed by a comma. Always. Plus, never start a sentence with “as.”  It makes you look like an as s.

9) If we replace the Marks with I, and a couple of the potatoes with them, things sound much more natural.

Take a look at “the” in “the potatoes.” That “t” isn’t in italics. This is why you are careful with your writing and read over what you’ve written….

10) When reading aloud, the reader will naturally lower their voice and tilt their head a little, showing that this parenthetical information is a comment being made to the side.

“The reader” is singular: one reader. This is so wrong. You cannot use a plural pronoun with a singular noun. In this case, it’s either “his or her” voice and tilt “his or her” head, or you can say “readers” with “their” and “their,” but the way it’s written, it’s wrong.

12) The trick with hyphens is to use them sparingly. If you find yourself creating words every sentence or two, your reader might find that a little much to deal with as hyphens slow the reader down a little and make them pay attention to the new word.

Same mistake, different paragraph. You get no points for being consistently wrong! This mistake is compounded by the fact that “hyphens” are referred to as “them,” as is “the reader.” Very bad writing all around.

13) When you’re quoting someone and you need to put in some sort of explanation (e.g. clarify a pronoun or use sic to show an error), you put it in square brackets.

What? Did someone say “clarify a pronoun”? Be still my heart! Well, at a minimum, there needs to be a comma after i.e.

14) According to all the music magazines, “it’s the new up-and-coming band”.

Two things. First, periods and commas are ALWAYS placed INSIDE quotation marks. Second, I believe we have an example of the coordinate adjective rule here, which means I believe we need a comma between “new” and “up-and-coming.” Let’s see! There’s a two-step process to decide if you need a comma between two adjectives. First, can you switch the order and have the sentence make sense? Second, can you add “and” in between the adjectives and have the phrase make sense? Let’s see. The up-and-coming new band. Okay, maybe not as nice, but it works. The new and up-and-coming band. You bet, that works.

So, I’d want to see a comma: the new, up-and-coming band.

15) Double and single quotation marks are pretty much interchangeable; check the conventions for any specific format you might be using.

This is such crap. Double and single quotation marks ARE NOT “pretty much” interchangeable. I’d like to meet whoever wrote that at dawn, with dueling pistols, or maybe swords. Or maybe a dull pencil. At any rate, it’s crap.

Rule: When quoting someone word-for-word, use double quotation marks.

“I’d love to drive a Porsche 918, but my knees would never recover,” said Liz.

Rule: When quoting someone who quotes someone else, the “someone else quote” is enclosed by single quotation marks.

“Oh, hell no! He told me he thought you were ‘absolutely wonderful.'”

16) Quotation marks always come in pairs; we say the first set “opens” the quote, and the second set “closes” the quote.

This is another bit of crap. It’s so not true it turns my stomach.

Rule: When someone is speaking and his or her words continue into a new paragraph, double quotation marks kick off the beginning of the first paragraph, are left off at the end of the first paragraph, and then are used again at the beginning of the second paragraph. So, if you have a long quote or a wordy character, you will only use “end” quotes at the very end of that person’s words.

17) These are commonly used in British English, but they’re interchangeable with double quotation marks.

That is such crap! “These” refer to single quotation marks. The Brits do things differently, it’s true, but, hey, last time I looked, we’re all in AMERICA, and we should be using AMERICAN ENGLISH.

18) If you are using double quotation marks for the “outside quote”, then use single quotation marks for the “inside quote”; if you’re using single quotes on the outside, use doubles on the inside.

This is total, well, forgive me, mom, but this is BULL! First off, that “outside quote” part is WRONG: the quotation marks should have been placed OUTSIDE the comma. Second, you use double quotation marks first in American English, and then, if there’s a quote inside that quote, you move to single quotation marks. What’s all this business about “using single quotes on the outside”? Do they just make this stuff up as they go along???

19) Annie said, I’ve gone through this whole essay, and I can’t find what your professor means by that other issue”’.

This is okay if you are writing British English, but it’s WRONG if you are writing American English.

American English: Annie said, “I’ve gone through this whole essay, and I can’t find what your professor means by that other issue.'”

20) My favourite song is Free To Be You And Me.

Two British-isms from an American website. Brother! The American spelling is “favorite,” and that period should be INSIDE the quotation marks.

21) If you end a sentence with a quote that contains end-of-sentence punctuation (period, exclamation mark or question mark), there’s no need for anymore punctuation at the end of the sentence: just let the quote’s punctuation do all the work.

Besides the serial comma (yay!) that’s needed in the parenthetical information, the use of “anymore” is incorrect. “Anymore” (one word) is an adverb that means from now on, still, any longer, or nowadays. “Any more” (as two words) would have been fine; I myself would have gone with “additional.”

22) They said that the British were coming.

Same thing. Do you hear me, Grammarly? You are an AMERICAN website. Learn AMERICAN rules! Put your commas and your periods inside quotation marks.

Oh, just one more! Grammarly.com has so many!

23) The neighbour popped in to say hi.

Duh. Same thing. “Neighbor” is the preferred spelling here in the States. Quotation marks OUTSIDE periods and commas.