Friday, November 30, 2012

Apostrophes (Part 4 of 4)

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

In contractions, an apostrophe normally replaces omitted letters.

* don't, can't, won't, shouldn't, wouldn't

* singin', 'tis, and rock 'n' roll

To avoid confusion, lowercase letters form the plural with an apostrophe and an s.

* x's and y's

In informal writing the first two digits of a particular year are often replaced by an apostrophe.

* the class of '62

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apostrophes (Part 3 of 4)

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

In compound nouns and noun phrases the final element usually takes the possessive form. If plural compounds pose a problem, use of.

* a cookbook's recipes

* my daughter-in-law's profession, but the professions of both my daughters-in-law

In proper names or where there is no clear possessive meaning, the apostrophe is omitted.

* Publishers Weekly, Western Alliance Writers Conference, Department of Veterans Affairs, a housewares sale

Possessives, such as hers, yours, and its, have no apostrophe.

* The dog scratched its fleas.

It's is the contraction for it is.

* It's going to rain today.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/

Friday, November 23, 2012

Apostrophes (Part 2 of 4)

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

Exceptions to the rule of adding an apostrophe s for the possessive form are the possessives of ancient proper names ending in s. Examples: Moses' Law, Jesus' parables, Euripides' tragedies, Xerxes' armies. (The latest CMS now says we add the s after the apostrophe, but many publishers don't observe that rule.)

To avoid an awkward appearance, an apostrophe without an s may also be used for the possessive of singular words and names ending in an unpronounced s.

* Albert Camus' novels, Descartes' three dreams, Vaucouleurs' assistance to Joan of Arc.

Closely linked nouns are considered a single unit in forming the possessive when the entity possessed is the same for both. Only the second element takes the possessive form.

* my aunt and uncle's house.

When the entities are different, both nouns take the possessive form.

* my friends' and neighbors' children.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Apostrophes (Part 1 of 4)

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s. Except for a few irregular plurals that don't end in s, the possessive of plural nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe only.

* the horse's mouth, a bass's stripes, puppies' paws, children's literature.

This general rule covers most proper nouns, including names ending in s, x, or z, and both are singular and plural forms, as well as letters and numbers.

* Chicago's lakefront, Massachusetts's legislature, Burns's poems, Marx's theories, Berlioz's works, the Lincolns' marriage, FDR's legacy, 2003's heaviest storm.

When the singular form of the noun ending in s looks like the plural, and the plural form is the same as the singular, the possessive of both singular and plural is formed by adding only an apostrophe.

* politics' true meaning, economics' forerunners, this species' earliest record.

The same rule applies when the name of a place or an organization is the plural form ending in s, such as the United States, even though the entity is singular.

* the United States' role in world peace, Marvin Gardens' former curator, Greenwood Hills' last mayor.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dashes

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

The em dash, a printer's term and often just called the dash, is the most commonly used of the dashes. No sentence should contain more than two dashes. A pair of em dashes sets off an amplifying or explanatory element. Commas, parentheses, or a colon may perform a similar function, but em dashes are often used for emphasis. Don't overuse them.

* The influence of three impressionist artists—Monet, Sisley, and Degas—is obvious in her beautiful portraits.

An em dash may separate a subject, or a series of subjects, from a pronoun that introduces the main clause.

* Broken promises, petty rivalries, and false rumors—such were the obstacles that kept her from advancing in the company.

An em dash, or a pair of em dashes, can indicate a sudden break in thought or an interruption in dialogue.

* Will he—can he—win the race?

* "I don't know what to say," I began softly. "I thought I might—"

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hyphens

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

Hyphens and dashes all have specific uses. They cannot be used interchangeably.

The hyphen separates compound words, either a compound noun or a compound adjective modifying a noun. If there is more than one phrasal adjective modifying a single noun, hyphenation becomes especially important.

* fuzzy-wuzzy bear, video-game-magazine dispute, state-inspected assistant-living facility, twenty-four hours, twenty-four-hour clock

The hyphen also separates numbers that are not inclusive, such as telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and ISBN numbers.

* Her telephone number is 501-324-7611.

Another use for the hyphen is to separate letters when the word is spelled out.

* Her name is Alayna, spelled a-l-a-y-n-a.

In URLs careful distinction needs to be made between a hyphen (-) a tilde (~), and an underline (_) .

http://www.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/~szm

http://www.ucsb.edu/univ_press/

If you want people to find your website or your e-mail address easily, don't use any of those three.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Exclamation Point

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

The exclamation point makes an emphatic statement, an outcry, or an ironic comment. Don't double punctuate! Two exclamation points are no stronger than one, and be careful to use exclamation points sparingly.

* Look out! 

A question that is really an exclamation usually ends with an exclamation point.

* How could you possibly do that to me!

Place an exclamation point inside quotation marks, parentheses, or brackets, only when it is part of the quoted or parenthetical matter.

* The woman exclaimed, "That car hit the tree!"

* Jenny kept repeating, "I could have died!" throughout the whole questioning.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Question Mark

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

Use the question mark to ask a direct question, to indicate an editorial doubt, and to express surprise. Never double punctuate. Don't use two question marks together or a question mark and an exclamation point.

* When will Taylor's car be ready?

* The world population is estimated to be 7.029 billion? by the United States Census Bureau. That is your answer?

Use a question mark within a sentence at the end of a direct question. If the question doesn't begin the sentence, the phrase that follows doesn't need to start with a capital letter.

* The question, how long is this meeting going to last? was on everyone's mind.

An indirect question never takes a question mark.

* He wondered if he should go home.

When a question within a sentence consists of a single word, such as who, when, how, or why, omit the question mark. Sometimes writers italicize the word.

* The question was no longer how but when.

A request disguised as a question doesn't require a question mark.

* Will the congregation please rise.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.
*****

A note from Twila: Cec and I have a contract with Regal Books for I Believe in Heaven, which is scheduled for a spring 2013 release. We need the following types of stories:

1. First-person accounts of someone who died, went to heaven, and returned. (E.g., Don Piper or the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.)

2. First-person, near-death stories (such as those who felt they saw themselves above the operating table during surgery, went through a tunnel and into bright light before being whisked back to their bodies).

3. Third-person stories of those who have been at the bedside of a dying person who saw angels or Jesus coming to take them to heaven. 

Visit www.ibelieveinheaven.blogspot.com for submission guidelines and details. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Use of the Colon

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

Use a colon to introduce an item in a series of items to describe or amplify what went before the colon.

* Sarah's exercise program involves three objects: a stationary bicycle, an exercise ball, and two-pound weights.

The colon may be used instead of the period to introduce a series of related sentences.

* Karen was faced with a difficult choice: Should she tell her husband what happened to the car? Or should she remain silent and get it fixed herself?

Colons are also used in URLs, but no space precedes or follows a colon in this case.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.