Good evening all,
I’m delighted to bring you two new author services this evening.
Second, Back to Basics
Do take a look and let me know if you have any questions.
Have a wonderful week, and keep writing!
In today’s article I’m going to talk about comparative and superlative forms.
We use the comparative and superlative forms of adverbs and adjectives to compare people, things, states, and actions in writing.
Adjectives and adverbs have three forms: the positive, the comparative, and the superlative.
|Joyful||More joyful||Most joyful|
|Joyfully||More joyfully||Most joyfully|
The comparative form is used to compare one person, thing, action, or state to another:
Daisies are prettier than roses.
My sister is taller than me.
Our house is noisier than the library.
The superlative form is used to compare one thing to ALL the others in the same category:
This road is the quietest.
My bag is the heaviest.
My rose is the prettiest.
The comparative and superlative are formed differently depending on the word’s positive form:
Rules for forming comparatives
Following these guidelines should help stop abominations like more pretty or beautifuler from making their way into your writing!
And, as always, if in doubt, look up the preferred inflected forms in the dictionary, I find the Oxford English Dictionary Online to be a wonderful resource.
In today’s article I’m going to look at the use of ellipses […] and dashes [-/–/—] in fiction writing.
An ellipsis is a glyph made up of three full points … which is used to indicate omitted words, pauses in speech, and unfinished thoughts. If you type three full points, most word processing programmes will autocorrect them to a single glyph.
When used in sentences, the ellipsis has a space on either side and no other punctuation is needed:
‘I tried … I really tried.
‘I was under the impression … didn’t you start that last week?’
When used to indicate unfinished thoughts, a space is only required in front of the ellipsis:
‘I could have sworn I …‘
Or to build tension:
The door opened slowly …
When a sentence should end with an exclamation or question mark, they are included at the end of the ellipsis:
‘Didn’t you just ask for one …?‘
She couldn’t even reach the top …!
A comma isn’t required before or after an ellipsis.
An ellipsis can also be used in place of etc. when the reader is expected to infer to rest of a sequence or list:
We needed lots of vegetables; potatoes, leeks, carrots, onions …
There are three dashes in the punctuation world, the hyphen [-], the en dash [–], and the em dash [—].
The hyphen is typically used in compound words, numbers, prefixes, and suffixes:
The north-westerly wind was strong today.
My mother-in-law is a nightmare!
If the compound words precede the noun, they are hyphenated:
I have the up-to-date records.
But not if the noun appears first:
The records are up to date.
Nor if the first word of the compound is an adverb:
The newly married couple not the newly-married couple.
When spelling out numbers:
It was her twenty-first birthday.
Prefixes when there is a risk of collision of letters:
I needed to re-enter the room.
Her number is ex-directory.
Suffixes when the word already ends in double l:
She found a shell-like rock on the beach.
Most British publishers use the en dash in place of the brackets () and a space is required on each side:
We were travelling – in the clapped out car – all night.
Most British publishers use the em dash to indicate interrupted dialogue:
‘I said I wanted to g—‘
‘I don’t care what you said!’ He interrupted.
I do hope these tips help you with your writing!
Have a great day x
In this article, I will talk about how to use the colon [:] and semicolon [;] correctly in your writing.
A semicolon is used to separate two or more strongly related main clauses that could stand as sentences in their own right.
It was spring; the trees were beginning to blossom.
It is not correct to join sentences like this with a comma. This is a common mistake known as a comma splice.
Semicolons are also used for balancing two pieces of information.
Wendy drives a BMW; Emma drives a Fiat.
They can also be used to join two clauses instead of a conjunction.
I love ice cream because it’s so cool on a hot day.
I love ice cream; it’s so cool on a hot day.
A semicolon should only be used if the sentences it divides make sense in their own right. ‘I love ice cream’ and ‘It’s so cool on a hot day’ can both stand as independent sentences.
If the second part of the sentence adds information but could not stand on its own, a colon should be used instead.
There’s only one flavour of ice cream worth eating: strawberry.
A semicolon can also be used to separate items in a list when phrases are used.
I need to buy some soup, tomato not chicken; milk, semi-skimmed not full fat; doughnuts, strawberry jam; and some bread.
If the list contains only short words, a comma will suffice.
I need soup, milk, doughnuts, and bread.
Are typically used to add information, so the second part explains the second part.
That was easy: the questions were all level two.
In this example though you could also use a full stop or a conjunction.
That was easy. The questions were all at level two.
That was easy because all the questions were all at level two.
Using a comma for the above would result in a comma splice which is wrong.
When using to introduce a list, only use a colon if the introduction makes sense on its own.
Please bring with you: a pencil, ruler, protractor, and eraser.
We also use colons to introduce quotes.
My mum had a favourite saying: ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.’
As with the semicolon, only use the colon if the first part would stand as a sentence on its own. ‘My mum used to say’ doesn’t make sense on its own so a comma would be used.
My mum used to say, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.’
I hope this helps to clarify the use of each for you.
Have a wonderful day and keep writing!
One of the most commonly misused punctuation marks is the apostrophe.
In this article I’ll be talking about, and sharing examples of, how to correctly use one.
In writing, we use ‘s to show possession after singular nouns and indefinite pronouns:
the girl’s hair the man’s beard anyone’s guess
For plural nouns ending in s, we just add the apostrophe:
the neighbours’ cat
And we punctuate time periods in the same way:
the days’ takings three weeks’ time
For compounds and of phrases, use ‘s after the last noun:
my mother-in-law’s cake the Queen of England’s swans
The double possessive making use of both of and ‘s can be used with nouns and pronouns:
a play of Shakespeare’s that car of her father’s
But not with buildings or companies:
a friend of the Smiling Mule the window of the hotel
This one’s a little tricky to remember but we don’t use an apostrophe for the possessive its (belonging to it) but we do for the it contractions (it is / it has):
the dog ate its bone it’s too warm today
The apostrophe is also used to indicate a missing letter or letters from a word. The apostrophe should ‘face’ the way the missing letters should be:
how you doin’ just you wait ’til
The apostrophe is NOT used for plurals. Nor is it used for the following:
Decades: 1960s / 60s
Names: keeping up with the Joneses / sixteen Hail Marys
Abbreviations: CDs / ABCs / DVDs
Other: dos and don’ts
These are just a few of the basics and if you learn these rules, you’ll be in a much better position to polish your own manuscript while going through your edits.
I follow the Oxford Style Guide and you can find more information in New Hart’s Rules.
Best of luck, have a great day, and keep writing!