Capitalising on the Capital Letter … .

Remember the day when a capital letter was only to be used on the name of a person, a place and title of a book or film? I do.

Today; capital letters appear so often in writings, that it makes even me start to query whether they should be there. That’s because we see them being incorrectly used so often that, after time, they become ‘correct’, as everyone who reads regularly sees the capital letters and accepts that, well, ‘this is the way it is’.

Remember the old ‘eleven plus’ exams, and also the GCEs and CSEs, when you had to correctly punctuate a piece of work? Whereas as I had confidence back then, I would now need to query what I have always known.

Sad, don’t you think?

Or doesn’t it matter anymore?

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Published in: on 13/08/2015 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

‘Entitled’ or ‘Titled’?

Just which one is it?

Is my book ‘entitled’ The Blah Blah Blah or is it ‘titled’ The Blah Blah Blah?

Every time I hear someone say ‘entitled’, I squirm a little inside but, having checked through several writing websites, I see that ‘entitled’ has been the preference over the centuries until recently (ah, so ‘titled’ has been used)

Having looked at what others have to say, I think the best way to go is to reword your sentence (whether spoken or written|) to avoid criticism.  So,  “the title of my book is” or “my book is called”.

That way, you won’t get picked up for displaying an error for all to hear / see … .

Published in: on 26/04/2015 at 2:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

What is the Right Price for Your Kindle Work of Art?

I’ve just recently read an article about the pricing of books on Kindle and should it be thirty percent commission on a ninety nine cents book that you put your little gem up for, or seventy percent on a two dollars and ninety cents book that you chance your arm at.

And the article made sense. 

While we may think of all the effort we have put into preparing a book and, if it’s non-fiction, the effort into all of that cross-referencing, we may think that we need to put our books up at three dollars, to get a bigger payback. 

I don’t disagree with this.  And I am sure that there are more people like me out there, who enjoy passing information on to others, so writing isn’t all about the monetary reward. 

So, what is the best price to ask for your book? 

Well, getting back to that article I was talking about, it said that the lower price will encourage more people to buy your book so, in a way, it’s a win-win situation, if the parties in your argument are the writer and the buyer.  Okay, Kindle gets a bigger cut on the cheaper-priced book but, as I said, it is cheaper.  Thirty percent of ninety nine cents is 33 cents for you (and 66 cents to Kindle), as opposed to seventy percent of three dollars being two dollars and ten cents for you and 90 cents to Kindle. 

At the moment, I’m not taking my own advice.  Well …. I have dropped the price on some of my Kindle books, so let’s see how it goes.

 

 

Published in: on 07/02/2014 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

When that Comma Really Proves its Worth

It seems that gone are the days when people punctuate their writings sufficiently.  At the age of sixty, I’m starting to think that bad punctuation has appeared so often, that the general public at large are now unsure as to what is, and what isn’t, correct usage. 

Today, I have just come across a sentence which, without the comma, could lead to serious accusations:- 

‘I love cooking my children and my pets.’ 

Don’t go there for supper! 

But to correct this sentence, there will then be a discussion as to what is correct and we can blame the Oxford comma for this.  So, it could be either:- 

‘I love cooking, my children and my pets (my age would agree with this).’ 

OR 

‘I love cooking, my children, and my pets.’ 

Things do change, I agree.  But (notice I have started a sentence with the word ‘but’, which, along with ‘and’, used to be viewed as a ‘no go’ areas), if some believe one thing and others believe another, what kind of future does correct punctuation have? 

If you’d like to contribute a sentence which reads incorrectly as a result of the lack of correct punctuation, I’d love to see it here.

Published in: on 17/11/2013 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

There are Limits … .

I like to write, both for myself and for others.  I also like to edit and proofread, both for native and non-native writers of English.  The pleasure for perfecting other people’s work is immense and I don’t think I can describe it correctly in words.

But let me try …. .

Correcting the spelling, re-arranging sentences to make them appear in a more logical order and, for non-native writers of English, changing those words to make them ‘more English’, all give me a great feeling of satisfaction.  I might change one word for another, because the writer’s word isn’t the one that native English people would use, or I might remove some words and replace them with an idiomatic phrase, because that is how English people would communicate that particular piece of information.

Then, I’ll read it all again … and again …. until I am absolutely satisfied with myself and know that I cannot do anything more to improve that piece of work.

Hmm … definitely a Cadbury’s dairy milk moment ….. .

The strange thing is that, after putting so much effort into this pleasure of editing and proofreading, I always seem to forget to check my own e-mails and, just as I am lifting my finger of the ‘send’ button, I see it!

Forgive me.  When it comes to writing, I am a perfectionist ….. but there are limits and at least I am admitting to mine …. .

Published in: on 14/11/2013 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Are Writers Afraid of the Comma?

When I write, my work is peppered with commas.  These commas break up my sentences and thus make sense of the longer communications.  At school in the sixties, we knew how to use them.  Commas also allow me to breathe in at certain points, without spoiling the understanding of the whole sentence. They allow me to list items, each one being stated before moving onto the next one.

When I read, I see either a great shortage of commas, or commas that are just not in the right place.

I tell myself that language is a living thing, which changes and advances with time but I also recognise that British English and American English treat this important addition to writing in different ways.

The problem is that, when we see a mistake (or a difference) often enough, we start to believe that the different method is correct and begin copying it ourselves.  In this sentence, I have placed my commas in such a way that the words within the commas can be removed from the sentence and the sentence still makes sense:-

The problem is that ( ) we start to believe that the different method is correct and begin copying it ourselves.

I nightmare, don’t you think?

 

Published in: on 22/02/2013 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is There a Right and Wrong in Proofreading (or is that proof reading)?

You may love proofreading but, no matter how sure you are of what is right and wrong, how sure are you that you are truly right? I’ll give you some examples:-

‘We are talking about the 1970s’ but ‘that man is wearing a 1970’s suit’.

Is it ‘over confident’ or ‘over-confident’ or overconfident’?

Is it ‘teddy boys’ or ‘Teddy boys’?

Is overuse of the capital letter now becoming acceptable and who are the lonely few who remember how to use it correctly?  Moreover, do these few trust their own judgement any more?

I could go on and on but, suffice to say, these are but a few examples.

Is there a definitive ‘code of correctness’ that we should all study?

I’m lucky to have an excellent command of UK spelling and, when reading something, I know what looks or feels wrong.  Still, what I have to remember is that language is a living thing.  It changes with time (e.g. the ‘to-day’ of my youth is now ‘today”) and we must keep up with these changes …… somehow!

Published in: on 20/02/2013 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment