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May Blog:

Use of the comma, Oxford comma, semicolon and colon

Comma (,)     

  • Use to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items.
  • Use to separate two adjectives when the order is interchangeable.
  • Many writers will use a comma to run two independent clauses together instead of using a period. This results in the dreaded ‘run on sentence’ (a comma splice).
  • If the independent clauses are joined by connectors such as and, but, etc… put a comma at the end of the first clause.

Oxford Comma (,)

  • This comma is optional. It can be used before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list.

Semicolon (;)

  • Used between independent clauses when a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) is omitted.
  • Also used between two independent clauses linked by transitional expression (accordingly, consequently, for example, nevertheless, so, this).
  • The semicolon can also be used in lists with internal commas. In this usage, the semicolon acts as a sort of super-comma.

Colon (:)

  • Used to introduce a list. Do not, however, use a colon when the listed items are incorporated into the flow of the sentence.
  • Between independent clauses when the second explains or illustrates the first.
  • The colon can be used to emphasize a single word at the end of a sentence.

Thank you to Grammarbook and Punctuation Guide for help with this blog.

Keep writing.


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April 2018 Blog:

Book Reviews Matter:

Chances are you do not leave a review on a book you have read – whether you liked it or not. Now a day, people seem to be too busy to even take time to smell the roses, let alone take the couple minutes it takes to comment on a book you read.

First off, stop and smell the roses. It is important to take time for yourself and “regroup.” Second, please if you have read a book (assuming you have taken the time to read), then please leave a review on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and/or social media.

Here are a few reasons why you should leave a review:

  1. A large number of reviews will help authors' books to be seen (suggested) on sites like Amazon.com. It has been stated that it takes at least 10 reviews on Amazon before a book can be added to those “also bought” and “you might also like” lists.
  2. Word of Mouth – if someone sees a positive review and decides to give it a try, he or she might also like it enough to tell others as well as leave a review. So, don’t just talk about it out loud – leave a review and then post it on social media.
  3. If you have a positive experience with a book – leave a good review. This will help when others are looking for a good book to curl up and read with.

Not everyone will feel the same about a book, but reviews will help readers to decide. Many readers will read the reviews and even though some may have been negative, they will “bite the bullet” and give it a try.

Until May’s blog – Happy reading!


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March Blog 2018

An Inspirational Story:

A friend of a friend wrote the following story. When I first read it, I knew I would want to use it in one of my blogs. I found it to be very inspirational and something that everyone can relate to. As a first time writer, you are usually very nervous about letting others read your manuscripts, criticism is not an easy pill to swallow; especially when you worked so hard and you feel good about what you wrote.

I’m going to preface this with saying I have a lot of anxiety posting this “piece,” but I’m doing so in an effort to push myself out of my comfort zone so that I can encourage personal growth …

I’ve been encouraged by a good friend to start journaling and this is my first attempt in a long time. I let my fears of others seeing my words get in the way of me putting a pen/pencil to paper. I used to love journaling and doodling in my big sketchpads during my teens and 20’s but I stopped after my works were seen and judged by others. I felt vulnerable and exposed so I stopped in an effort to guard my feelings and protect myself. I let other people’s opinion of me and their potential judgment stop me from being me, from feeling anything at times out of fear that I’d be negatively perceived. This has been going on for a long time now, years, and it all stems from my own thoughts. So much so that I have come to feel that it is normal and even acceptable to push my own wants/needs/feelings to life’s “back burner” because I’m not important enough to be afforded the “luxury.”

Such a simple task of journaling seemed silly to me as though it couldn’t possibly make me feel any different, but in just the few minutes of doing so I’ve already acquired clarity. I’ve become accustomed to pushing everything far down inside to bury and hide from it to protect myself. Why am I so scared to love myself fully and trust and know my value as a person, mother, wife and friend? I could blame it on past experiences or negative words said to me by others but it’s really only me who can decide my worth and appreciate it to love myself and be happy.”

Thank you to the friend of a friend for allowing me to share your story. Remember everyone you are never alone. Others have gone through or are going through what you are.

Until next month, stay positive.


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February Blog 2018
More misused words:
I am breaking this list of misused words into many blogs (as you have seen); there is so many of them. I hope you are keeping notes on these so you use them properly in your writing journey:
➢ Everyone vs Every one
o The one word version is used when referring to all the people within a group. Can be replaced by everybody.
o The two word version is used when referring to each individual member of a group. Use every one when followed by an “of” phrase.
➢ Who vs Whom (this is one of the most difficult ones)
o Who is used when the one you are asking about is the subject – the one taking action, not the one being acted upon. Eg: Who stepped on Froggie?
o Whom is used when referring to the object of a sentence. Eg: Whom did you step on?
o TIP: If you can answer the question with ‘him,’ then use whom. They both end in ‘m.’
➢ Who’s vs Whose
o Who’s is a contraction of who is. Eg: Who’s at the door?
o Whose is a possessive pronoun. Eg: Whose hat are you wearing?
➢ Its vs It’s
o Its is the possessive form of it. It does not need the apostrophe. Eg: The tree needs its branches trimmed.
o It’s always means ‘it is’ or ‘it has.’ It’s a contraction of two words. Eg: It’s (it is) a shame the coffee ran out before you filled your cup.
➢ Grey vs Gray
o Grey is the preferred spelling in Britain.
o Gray is more popular in America.
o TIP: To remember the difference, think ‘a’ in America; therefore spell it gray.
This one is difficult for me since I was born and raised in Canada; we spell it grey.
➢ Spelled vs Spelt
o These are both the past tense and the past participle; however, they are not inter-changeable, especially in the U.S.
o U.S. writing – use spelled.
o Outside the U.S. – use spelt.
Thank you Grammar Girl for the information. It is always appreciated.
In March we will be moving in a different direction. We will be doing an inspirational blog. Please join us to see what it is about.
Until then … stay in where it is warm and keep writing.
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