Friday Forum: English Matters

I have a confession: I am a born proofreader. I can spot a misused apostrophe at twenty paces. My friends are amused by this and pat me on the head when I stifle the urge to correct them.

That said, being online for so many years has made me more comfortable with errors in grammar and punctuation. I hardly notice them at all in certain settings. However, when I run across them in a book, I’m horrified. You can imagine how an agent feels upon seeing such errors in the pages that you’ve submitted.

So while I know that this is not the most exciting topic, I believe it may be the most basic element to writing well.

  • Here’s a great resource even for those of us who feel we’ve got this down. No doubt you’ll find something here that makes you think. The 32 Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases is a list that explains such things as the affect/effect quandary. I highly recommend it.
  • This is a terrific article about punctuation. That’s a real issue for many people. This WikiHow article is a “crash course in punctuation.” It’s well done and easy to read. It’s definitely worth a review.
  • This Guide to Grammar and Writing is a wonderful resource. If you get stuck, this is a good “go to” page. Use the drop down menus or simply click on the Index for the list of subjects it covers.
  • Dumb Little Man also has 40+ Tips to Improve Your Grammar and Punctuation. I recommend giving it a read. It’s well written and easy to swallow. This is a great refresher course.

These are all terrific resources for anyone at all, but perhaps especially for those who’ve had their heads stuck in the 140 character limit imposed by Twitter or for those who’ve simply been txtng 2 mch ltly.


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7 thoughts on “Friday Forum: English Matters

  1. slgreatsuccess July 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm Reply

    Start of paragraph two – wouldn’t it be –
    That, having been said,………
    Instead of That said????? (Since it was already said – it should be in the past tense????? )
    I was always unsure of this point. Correct me if I am wrong, that way, I will
    know the right way!


  2. Jessica Rosen July 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm Reply

    As far as I know, “That said, xxx” and “That having been said, xxx” are both correct. Don’t quote me on that, though! I’m just a writer who has her own little bugaboos and would certainly get her share of red ink on her hard copies. That’s why I’ve gathered the links above. These are links I’ve bookmarked for my own use as well as to share. Now you’ll have me pondering that all day.

    Thanks for the question,
    Jessica Rosen


  3. Alicia July 10, 2009 at 8:23 pm Reply

    This was a really great post! im so horrible with that stuff… 🙂


    • Jessica Rosen July 11, 2009 at 4:50 am Reply

      Great! So glad to hear that this could be helpful for you. Check the links out and if you get a chance, leave some feedback about your experiences with them.

      Check back with the Friday Forum each week as we untangle some more basic issues with novel writing and facing the scary world of publishing, too!

      Take care,
      Jessica Rosen


  4. Brandi Schmidt July 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm Reply

    Great post, I always need a refresher. Actually I need the entire class again. I was not a born proof reader.


    • Jessica Rosen July 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm Reply

      Good to see you, Brandi. I’m glad to hear this post was helpful. Please let me know how these bookmarks work for you. Drop me a note here with your experiences with them. I’d love to follow up with you!

      Thanks again,
      Jessica Rosen


  5. […] Friday Forum: English Matters Jessica Rosen is well into her new focused link love forum. This week, the Friday Forum is focused on a grammar and punctuation. […]


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