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Puddle Jumper
02-16-2006, 09:22 AM
Do you have any mistakes you make more often than you'd like when writing? If so what are they?

For me, I have a horrible habit of always writing "whose" even when it should be "who's." I catch though when I reread what I wrote.

SeanDSchaffer
02-16-2006, 11:43 AM
My most common mistake is Capitalizing when I shouldn't and not capitalizing when i should.

I have a major problem with words like 'king' or 'captain,' because I've been taught that in certain places, those words should be capitalized and in certain places they shouldn't be.

My problem is, I don't know the difference.

In fact, I plan on posting a thread on this very subject, as I'm pretty darned sure I'm not the only writer in the world who has this problem.

kybudman
02-16-2006, 09:20 PM
Contractions. I tend to write like I talk (with a pronounced Southern drawl, y'all!). Singular possessives drive me nuts.

Is there a pill for that?

Maryn
02-17-2006, 02:52 AM
I have a pet peeve about mistakes with it's being used as a possessive, which is always and unarguably wrong. It's is only a contraction for it is or it has.

Which doesn't stop me from using it as a possessive now and then. One of the final polish things I do before submitting a manuscript is check every appearance of it's to make sure it's right.

Maryn, ditz

Cly
02-17-2006, 03:28 AM
I also have the problem with capitalising..damnit. Hmm what else, oh and I use too many full stops...to give a piece a pause...which is not good. I do not use semicolons when I should...

Puddle Jumper
02-17-2006, 04:37 AM
My most common mistake is Capitalizing when I shouldn't and not capitalizing when i should.

I have a major problem with words like 'king' or 'captain,' because I've been taught that in certain places, those words should be capitalized and in certain places they shouldn't be.

My problem is, I don't know the difference.

In fact, I plan on posting a thread on this very subject, as I'm pretty darned sure I'm not the only writer in the world who has this problem.
Wouldn't you capitalize 'king' or 'captain' if you're using them as a proper name? For example if you are addressing them by their title.

"Hello Captain, how are you today?"
"Good evening King Joseph."

If you were to put something like the word "my" in front, wouldn't that then make them lowercase?

"Hello my captain, how are you today?"
"Good evening my king."

I guess I'm not really sure on that.



I have a pet peeve about mistakes with it's being used as a possessive, which is always and unarguably wrong. It's is only a contraction for it is or it has.

I used to make that mistake all the time. Then when I began taking journalism classes in college I understood the mistake. Which is kinda hard to miss when your professors seem to be screaming at you all over your paper every time you write it's instead of its.

I'm uncomfortable with how semi-colons and colons are supposed to be used.

Sage
02-17-2006, 04:44 AM
Wouldn't you capitalize 'king' or 'captain' if you're using them as a proper name? For example if you are addressing them by their title.

"Hello Captain, how are you today?"
"Good evening King Joseph."

If you were to put something like the word "my" in front, wouldn't that then make them lowercase?

"Hello my captain, how are you today?"
"Good evening my king."

I guess I'm not really sure on that.That is how I understand it to be, as well.

For it's vs. its, anytime I use one, I try to separate it out. If it can't be made into "it is," it's "its" (try typing that a few times, ugh).

I always have to check my use of there/they're/there & your/you're. I know the difference, but my fingers tend to favor typing one at any given time. I used to think "their" was the strangest of the three, but nowadays, it's (it is ;) ) the one I favor, & "there" (the easiest one when I was a kid), is the one I don't type correctly the most. I always switch "your" & "you're," but I usually correct it immediately.

Puddle Jumper
02-17-2006, 05:25 AM
I also have a habit of writing 'your' all the time and don't catch that it should be 'you're' until I'm reading what I wrote. It seems like I can make quite a few of those mistakes, but I suppose if I've got my head in the clouds of my story then I'm not really thinking of all the technical aspects of writing. Which is why you always go back over your work.

Do you ever put an apostrophe after the word its? As in its'?

Sage
02-17-2006, 05:31 AM
Do you ever put an apostrophe after the word its? As in its'?I can't think of any situation where that would be correct.

Oh, wait, I can. If you had a fantasy race known as the Its, & they collectively owned something (let's say a language), it would be Its' language. (But it would be a single It's magic wand).

Does that help? :e2hammer:

Puddle Jumper
02-17-2006, 05:37 AM
Yeah, thanks. I never know when it's appropriate to put an apostrophe on the outside of a word.

Sage
02-17-2006, 05:43 AM
Yeah, thanks. I never know when it's appropriate to put an apostrophe on the outside of a word.From what I can think of right now, it'd be any time you had a possessive by a plural (where the plural ends in s). There's some debate about possessives of names that end in s (Morpheus' book or Morpheus's book)

Also if you're using slang (such as in dialogue) where somethin' is cut off the ending of the word.

"Any time" above reminded me. I have problem using "everyday" when I really mean "every day." I know there's a difference, & I know reph can tell me it 'cuz it was in her(?) signature once, but Word tells me it's always "every day," so that doesn't help.

reph
02-17-2006, 05:55 AM
"Everyday" is properly used only as an adjective, not as an adverb. I wear my everyday clothing every [SPACE] day.

Puddle J., those greetings need commas. So does any similar word or phrase used in direct address.

"Hello, Captain."
"Good evening, my captain."
"Fancy meeting you here, Louise."
"Dad, have you seen my blue shirt?"
"According to your chart, Mr. Chambers, you're allergic to aspirin."

Maryn
02-17-2006, 06:04 AM
Until reph comes along with her high-beams, I can shed a little light on everyday. (Smacking flashlight until the beam stops fading in and out.)

As a single word, "everyday" is an adjective meaning commonplace. These are my everyday shoes, which I wear every day.

At least that's how I understand it.

Sage, I know exactly what you mean about fingers. Ever heard of 'muscle memory'? It's one way well-rehearsed dancers and athletes know what motion comes next. They don't have to think about it--their muscles know. (I've only read of it in fiction, so if it's a load of bull, my apologies.)

Anyway, I'm convinced my fingers type on muscle memory. I type the first three or four letters of a really familiar word, and my fingers work just like a computer's autocomplete: even though that's not the word I'm trying to type, that's what appears. Silly fingers!

Maryn, who refuses to blame her brain

reph
02-17-2006, 06:08 AM
Maryn, what alternative universe are you posting from? Our examples for "everyday" are too similar. Creepy!

Sage
02-17-2006, 06:10 AM
Sage, I know exactly what you mean about fingers. Ever heard of 'muscle memory'? It's one way well-rehearsed dancers and athletes know what motion comes next. They don't have to think about it--their muscles know. (I've only read of it in fiction, so if it's a load of bull, my apologies.)

Anyway, I'm convinced my fingers type on muscle memory. I type the first three or four letters of a really familiar word, and my fingers work just like a computer's autocomplete: even though that's not the word I'm trying to type, that's what appears. Silly fingers!
Oh, yes, I totally know what you mean. Muscle memory, in general, is good when typing, though, since I don't have to think about pressing every individual letter. My fingers just know.

But I do find it annoying when I'm at work & typing things into scientific documents & my fingers automatically finish a word with a character's name. :e2BIC:

Tish Davidson
02-17-2006, 10:19 AM
I have trouble with lay, layed, laid and lie and whether someone is layed off or laid off and whether a bet is laid off or layed off. I keep reading Strunk and White but it doesn't get much clearer or more clear or whatever and I often avoid using the word L words - no lie.

luxintenebrae
02-17-2006, 10:48 AM
Yeah, I hate that, too. I think this is how it works, but I could be wrong (hopefully not):

lie (reclining)
present: lying
past: lay
past perfect (or whatever it's called): have lain

lie (putting down)
present: laying
past: laid
past perfect: have laid

Someone tell me if I'm wrong, though!! :)

luxintenebrae
02-17-2006, 10:51 AM
Oh, and I don't think "layed" is a word. I also think it's "laid off." It's 2 a.m., so my mind's a little fuzzy. :tongue I don't know about the bet one; I'm not sure if I've ever heard that phrase, but maybe it's the same?

reph
02-17-2006, 11:48 AM
Yeah, I hate that, too. I think this is how it works, but I could be wrong (hopefully not):

lie (reclining)
present: lying
past: lay
past perfect (or whatever it's called): have lain

lie (putting down)
present: laying
past: laid
past perfect: have laid

Someone tell me if I'm wrong, though!!
You're wrong in parts. This is a corrected version:

lie (reclining)
present participle: lying
past: lay
past participle: lain

lay (putting down)
present participle: laying
past: laid
past participle: laid

lie (telling a falsehood)
present participle: lying
past: lied
past participle: lied

I don't know of any "layed." The part about a bet stumped me until I realized that it might be this one: "I'll lay you ten to one his ring isn't real gold" or "Patty went to the $2 window and laid $10 on In My Dreams to win in the seventh race." Tish, the bet word is "lay," as in laying money on the table. I haven't heard of bets being laid off, though.

Employees are laid off. Eggs are laid in a nest. I need to lay me down to sleep.

Maryn
02-18-2006, 12:25 AM
Maryn, what alternative universe are you posting from? Our examples for "everyday" are too similar. Creepy!Alternative universe--pshaw! I'm in your house!

Maryn, who doesn't really have a flair for horror, but would loan a flare to a whore if her car was disabled

Shadow_Ferret
02-18-2006, 12:33 AM
I have a big but problem.

luxintenebrae
02-18-2006, 02:36 AM
Thank you, Reph!! :)

Tish Davidson
02-18-2006, 03:52 AM
Yes, thank you reph. About bets. When a bookie accepts too much money on on specific position (say a certain horse to win) he will lay off or transfer some of the bet to another bookie. In essence, he spreads the risk so that le loses less if the bettor wins, but he also decreases his chance for making money if the bettor loses. I think insurance companies do the same thing, although they might not call it by the same name.

(grasshopper)
02-18-2006, 04:49 AM
I have a problem with joining two words together when they shouldn't be joined.

For example, when a character in my novel wants to dismiss something, she will say, "Nevermind".

(Boy, that sure looks like it should be one word.)

There are others but I can't think of them now.

Ilovepensandpaper
02-18-2006, 11:24 AM
Commas, hyphens, and semicolons are a little tough for me, especially with poetry. I capitalize the first word in all the lines of my poetry. I know some people do and some don't, but what is the correct way, if there is one? Also words that show possession.

Brook and Katie's book or
Brook's and Katie's book? (girls share one book)
The Grady's yard or
The Gradys' yard? (Grady is the last name)

reph
02-18-2006, 11:28 AM
Brook's and Katie's book

The Gradys' yard

luxintenebrae
02-18-2006, 11:57 AM
I have a problem with joining two words together when they shouldn't be joined.

For example, when a character in my novel wants to dismiss something, she will say, "Nevermind".

(Boy, that sure looks like it should be one word.)

There are others but I can't think of them now.

Me, too! "Never mind," in my opinion, really should be one word. I know I used to know that it wasn't, but a few weeks ago couldn't figure out why Word kept telling me it was wrong. :tongue I also don't like that possessive plural thing either, like "the Gradys' yard." It always confused me as well. So what is it if the last name was Gradys instead of Grady? Would it still be Gradys'?

Maryn
02-18-2006, 06:54 PM
With the family's yard, you're just making a possessive of whatever their name is when it's plurarlized.

Mr. Grady's yard--one man named Grady, singular possessive
The Gradys' yard--whole family named Grady = the Gradys, plural possessive
Mr. Gradys's yard--one man named Gradys, singular possessive (Gradys' also correct)
The Gradyses' yard--whole family named Gradys = the Gradyses, plural possessive

I find it a little easier with different names:
Mr. McCauley's yard--one man named McCauley, singular possessive
The McCauleys' yard--whole family named McCauley = the McCauleys, plural possessive
Mr. Jarvis's yard--one man named Jarvis, singular possessive (Jarvis' also correct)
The Jarvises' yard--whole family named Jarvis = the Jarvises, plural possessive

Not so hard, is it?

Maryn, who wishes all writing were as easy to her as all punctuation is

luxintenebrae
02-18-2006, 09:02 PM
Nope, sounds good when you explain it like that. The 'es' just looks kind of weird to me, so I wasn't sure if that was right. Thanks!

Simon Woodhouse
02-18-2006, 10:32 PM
I still get now and know muddled up, and new and knew as well.

Why is the English language so full of oddities? Wouldn't it be easier if enuff, which is how the word sounds like it should be spelt, was the correct spelling. Uff has the right sort of sound for the word, but what sort of sound does ough make?

loquax
02-18-2006, 10:51 PM
I used to have trouble with "its", too. I found the best way to conquer it is to realise that the word is a possessive pronoun, and goes along side "his", "her", "their", "our", etc, - none of which have contractions. It's also a good way of telling the difference between "who's" and "whose". Possessive pronouns don't contract.

Maryn
02-18-2006, 11:30 PM
loquax, I used to point it out in critiques by saying that when its is a possessive, not a contraction of it is or it has, you shouldn't put an apostrophe in any more than you should in his and hers.

You guessed it. The next manuscript from that writer (a native English speaker, BTW) continued to make the same goof with it's and added her's.

Maryn, who knows why she has TMJ problems

kybudman
02-19-2006, 01:45 AM
You got it, I think. At least, that's the way I use it. The bet reference is really common in horseracing circles <or so I hear**cough, cough**). "He laid off $20 on MyNag to win!" I remember it just as if I were talking about the employee I just laid off. The bet's working for me! Lay off (to do), laying off (is doing), laid off (did) .

So, at least for the moment, we have a majority, and that's pretty good! :)

Ilovepensandpaper
02-19-2006, 03:32 AM
With the family's yard, you're just making a possessive of whatever their name is when it's plurarlized.

Mr. Grady's yard--one man named Grady, singular possessive
The Gradys' yard--whole family named Grady = the Gradys, plural possessive
Mr. Gradys's yard--one man named Gradys, singular possessive (Gradys' also correct)
The Gradyses' yard--whole family named Gradys = the Gradyses, plural possessive

I find it a little easier with different names:
Mr. McCauley's yard--one man named McCauley, singular possessive
The McCauleys' yard--whole family named McCauley = the McCauleys, plural possessive
Mr. Jarvis's yard--one man named Jarvis, singular possessive (Jarvis' also correct)
The Jarvises' yard--whole family named Jarvis = the Jarvises, plural possessive

Not so hard, is it?

Maryn, who wishes all writing were as easy to her as all punctuation is
Thanks for the clarification. You know I will have to print it and have it on hand. It has been a few years since grammar class. I had it down then, but time makes one rusty!

Ilovepensandpaper
02-19-2006, 03:36 AM
Do you have any mistakes you make more often than you'd like when writing? If so what are they?

For me, I have a horrible habit of always writing "whose" even when it should be "who's." I catch though when I reread what I wrote.
Who and Whom, and whose and who's give me trouble too. I tell you, I am glad I kept those grammar books! Someone mentioned lay and lie too...

Sage
02-21-2006, 04:51 AM
Who and Whom, and whose and who's give me trouble too. I tell you, I am glad I kept those grammar books! Someone mentioned lay and lie too...I was recently given a good way to figure this one out (someone was making fun of someone else, but the joke helped me). If you can't think of whether it should be who or whom, try substituting they vs. them. Who=they, whom=them.

To whom are you speaking?
I am speaking to them.

Who is speaking?
They are speaking.