Cabbages and Kings

W-DeskLady2 Pat here:

There are days when the writing business makes as much sense as Lewis Carroll, and when pondering grammar rules, it’s best to keep his advice in mind: "Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it -MadlHatterByTenniel isn't, it ain't. That's logic."   Or, that’s grammar. 

Other wenches write about their fascinating historical research and travel explorations. I’m stuck in snowy St. Louis with the internet and no lovely English villages, working on a (shudder) copyedit, so you get grammar rules today. The appalling part of grammar is that everyone expects writers to know the rules, but there are actually dozens of styles of grammar and no two rules are exactly the same, which is what I ran into with the hyphen usage in THE WICKED WYCKERLY. 

Generally, I leave the copyeditors to do their own thing when it comes to punctuation, because I refuse to pay for the Chicago Manual of Style online and figure the pro’s know better than I do.  (I used up my free trial offer, but anyone else working on a manuscript who hasn’t, should give it a try. It’s a fun headache.)  But my Earl of Wyckerly is a bit eccentric, and when he started talking about his       cheese-rolling prize and the CE took the hyphen out, I backed up and said wait a minute…

Aliceinwonderland And then I noticed a hyphen had been added between the adverb/adjective in "most important advantage" and I balked entirely. I was vaguely aware that I needed to hyphenate some adverb/adjective compounds, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a hyphen after most. Which meant I had to actually hunt rules, ugh.

For anyone wondering why some descriptions are hyphenated and some aren’t– keep wondering. The range of qualifications is insane. But basically, if the compound adjective is a unit or one idea¸then it’s hyphenated: first-class, second-degree, one-man, two-year-old and yes, cheese-rolling.  But "most important advantage" does not constitute a single unit or idea because it could be an important advantage without the most—the compound could be separated without harming the meaning. Or that’s how I’m explaining it to myself.

If anyone else has a better explanation, or a worse grammatical pet peeve, here’s the place to deposit them. I won't bother the wenches with more of my copyediting inanities because I did so over on patriciarice.blogspot.com . If you really want to suffer, mosey over there.

And if you’d rather stick your head in the sand and forget grammar with me, then give me your favorite HookahcatepillarLewis Carroll quote. I can’t decide between “When
I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just
what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.'”
and 

"Why,
sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast
.
"

But that’s today and tomorrow is another day.

70 thoughts on “Cabbages and Kings”

  1. LOL, Pat. I’ve had my first two brushes (not first-two brushes) with copyediting lately, and I was intrigued by the notation about the Chicago Elements of Style. I have an ancient Strunk and White, which I almost never refer to because I had grammar and punctuation beaten into me in elementary school, where we still did such exotic things as diagram sentences.
    One ms was done on paper with comforting red squiggles and I felt like I was back in Miss Ludman’s class, but the other was electronic and that was a little stranger (and less comfortable, because I couldn’t lie down on the bed and make the corrections).
    I’ve read and used the word banyan to describe a kind of loose robe. Both copyeditors said “tree?” That gave me a chuckle.

    Reply
  2. LOL, Pat. I’ve had my first two brushes (not first-two brushes) with copyediting lately, and I was intrigued by the notation about the Chicago Elements of Style. I have an ancient Strunk and White, which I almost never refer to because I had grammar and punctuation beaten into me in elementary school, where we still did such exotic things as diagram sentences.
    One ms was done on paper with comforting red squiggles and I felt like I was back in Miss Ludman’s class, but the other was electronic and that was a little stranger (and less comfortable, because I couldn’t lie down on the bed and make the corrections).
    I’ve read and used the word banyan to describe a kind of loose robe. Both copyeditors said “tree?” That gave me a chuckle.

    Reply
  3. LOL, Pat. I’ve had my first two brushes (not first-two brushes) with copyediting lately, and I was intrigued by the notation about the Chicago Elements of Style. I have an ancient Strunk and White, which I almost never refer to because I had grammar and punctuation beaten into me in elementary school, where we still did such exotic things as diagram sentences.
    One ms was done on paper with comforting red squiggles and I felt like I was back in Miss Ludman’s class, but the other was electronic and that was a little stranger (and less comfortable, because I couldn’t lie down on the bed and make the corrections).
    I’ve read and used the word banyan to describe a kind of loose robe. Both copyeditors said “tree?” That gave me a chuckle.

    Reply
  4. LOL, Pat. I’ve had my first two brushes (not first-two brushes) with copyediting lately, and I was intrigued by the notation about the Chicago Elements of Style. I have an ancient Strunk and White, which I almost never refer to because I had grammar and punctuation beaten into me in elementary school, where we still did such exotic things as diagram sentences.
    One ms was done on paper with comforting red squiggles and I felt like I was back in Miss Ludman’s class, but the other was electronic and that was a little stranger (and less comfortable, because I couldn’t lie down on the bed and make the corrections).
    I’ve read and used the word banyan to describe a kind of loose robe. Both copyeditors said “tree?” That gave me a chuckle.

    Reply
  5. LOL, Pat. I’ve had my first two brushes (not first-two brushes) with copyediting lately, and I was intrigued by the notation about the Chicago Elements of Style. I have an ancient Strunk and White, which I almost never refer to because I had grammar and punctuation beaten into me in elementary school, where we still did such exotic things as diagram sentences.
    One ms was done on paper with comforting red squiggles and I felt like I was back in Miss Ludman’s class, but the other was electronic and that was a little stranger (and less comfortable, because I couldn’t lie down on the bed and make the corrections).
    I’ve read and used the word banyan to describe a kind of loose robe. Both copyeditors said “tree?” That gave me a chuckle.

    Reply
  6. From one who has done too many years of copyediting:
    Hyphens are one of those ever-changing bits of punctuation. Sometimes they disappear completely, and sometimes the compounds get turned into single words. The usage varies from publisher to publisher and book to book. Personally, I think your copyeditor was wrong in both examples above, but you need to pick a style and be consistent. The only sensible rule at this point is to use hyphens for clarity — i.e., there is a difference between a fast-moving van and a fast moving van, or between two-year-old children and two year-old children. (Two year old children is far too ambiguous.)
    My favorite bit of Lewis Carroll:
    Speak harshly to your little boy
    And beat him when he sneezes;
    He does it only to annoy
    Because he knows it teases.

    Reply
  7. From one who has done too many years of copyediting:
    Hyphens are one of those ever-changing bits of punctuation. Sometimes they disappear completely, and sometimes the compounds get turned into single words. The usage varies from publisher to publisher and book to book. Personally, I think your copyeditor was wrong in both examples above, but you need to pick a style and be consistent. The only sensible rule at this point is to use hyphens for clarity — i.e., there is a difference between a fast-moving van and a fast moving van, or between two-year-old children and two year-old children. (Two year old children is far too ambiguous.)
    My favorite bit of Lewis Carroll:
    Speak harshly to your little boy
    And beat him when he sneezes;
    He does it only to annoy
    Because he knows it teases.

    Reply
  8. From one who has done too many years of copyediting:
    Hyphens are one of those ever-changing bits of punctuation. Sometimes they disappear completely, and sometimes the compounds get turned into single words. The usage varies from publisher to publisher and book to book. Personally, I think your copyeditor was wrong in both examples above, but you need to pick a style and be consistent. The only sensible rule at this point is to use hyphens for clarity — i.e., there is a difference between a fast-moving van and a fast moving van, or between two-year-old children and two year-old children. (Two year old children is far too ambiguous.)
    My favorite bit of Lewis Carroll:
    Speak harshly to your little boy
    And beat him when he sneezes;
    He does it only to annoy
    Because he knows it teases.

    Reply
  9. From one who has done too many years of copyediting:
    Hyphens are one of those ever-changing bits of punctuation. Sometimes they disappear completely, and sometimes the compounds get turned into single words. The usage varies from publisher to publisher and book to book. Personally, I think your copyeditor was wrong in both examples above, but you need to pick a style and be consistent. The only sensible rule at this point is to use hyphens for clarity — i.e., there is a difference between a fast-moving van and a fast moving van, or between two-year-old children and two year-old children. (Two year old children is far too ambiguous.)
    My favorite bit of Lewis Carroll:
    Speak harshly to your little boy
    And beat him when he sneezes;
    He does it only to annoy
    Because he knows it teases.

    Reply
  10. From one who has done too many years of copyediting:
    Hyphens are one of those ever-changing bits of punctuation. Sometimes they disappear completely, and sometimes the compounds get turned into single words. The usage varies from publisher to publisher and book to book. Personally, I think your copyeditor was wrong in both examples above, but you need to pick a style and be consistent. The only sensible rule at this point is to use hyphens for clarity — i.e., there is a difference between a fast-moving van and a fast moving van, or between two-year-old children and two year-old children. (Two year old children is far too ambiguous.)
    My favorite bit of Lewis Carroll:
    Speak harshly to your little boy
    And beat him when he sneezes;
    He does it only to annoy
    Because he knows it teases.

    Reply
  11. Oh, LOL on the hypen wars!
    I had a copy editor a while back who changed ALL of my dashes in a 300 plus page ms. to semi colons, which I despise in dialogue. After going through a half dozen erasers, I was contemplating violence! I couldn’t help wondering why, after several pages, she didn’t grasp that maybe I had a preferred style, and that maybe she ought to query my editor before slashing through the whole book.
    Sigh. As fewer and fewer people understand the nuances of grammar, I suppose it’s no wonder that there are these problems.

    Reply
  12. Oh, LOL on the hypen wars!
    I had a copy editor a while back who changed ALL of my dashes in a 300 plus page ms. to semi colons, which I despise in dialogue. After going through a half dozen erasers, I was contemplating violence! I couldn’t help wondering why, after several pages, she didn’t grasp that maybe I had a preferred style, and that maybe she ought to query my editor before slashing through the whole book.
    Sigh. As fewer and fewer people understand the nuances of grammar, I suppose it’s no wonder that there are these problems.

    Reply
  13. Oh, LOL on the hypen wars!
    I had a copy editor a while back who changed ALL of my dashes in a 300 plus page ms. to semi colons, which I despise in dialogue. After going through a half dozen erasers, I was contemplating violence! I couldn’t help wondering why, after several pages, she didn’t grasp that maybe I had a preferred style, and that maybe she ought to query my editor before slashing through the whole book.
    Sigh. As fewer and fewer people understand the nuances of grammar, I suppose it’s no wonder that there are these problems.

    Reply
  14. Oh, LOL on the hypen wars!
    I had a copy editor a while back who changed ALL of my dashes in a 300 plus page ms. to semi colons, which I despise in dialogue. After going through a half dozen erasers, I was contemplating violence! I couldn’t help wondering why, after several pages, she didn’t grasp that maybe I had a preferred style, and that maybe she ought to query my editor before slashing through the whole book.
    Sigh. As fewer and fewer people understand the nuances of grammar, I suppose it’s no wonder that there are these problems.

    Reply
  15. Oh, LOL on the hypen wars!
    I had a copy editor a while back who changed ALL of my dashes in a 300 plus page ms. to semi colons, which I despise in dialogue. After going through a half dozen erasers, I was contemplating violence! I couldn’t help wondering why, after several pages, she didn’t grasp that maybe I had a preferred style, and that maybe she ought to query my editor before slashing through the whole book.
    Sigh. As fewer and fewer people understand the nuances of grammar, I suppose it’s no wonder that there are these problems.

    Reply
  16. A timely topic, Pat, since I have just been ranting to my sister about a book I read last week by one of my favorite authors. The repeated pronoun case errors drove me mad. Not all errors are equal IMO, and as a reader, I’m much more likely to forgive a punctuation error–so long as it doesn’t affect sentence sense–than I am to overlook a major error in grammar that fires up my English prof’s soul and jerks me out of the story.
    The quote from which you took your title is one of my favorites. “Cabbages and kings” is such a useful phrase. Another favorite is from “The Lion and the Unicorn” chapter of Through the Looking Glass:
    “Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before!”
    “Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

    Reply
  17. A timely topic, Pat, since I have just been ranting to my sister about a book I read last week by one of my favorite authors. The repeated pronoun case errors drove me mad. Not all errors are equal IMO, and as a reader, I’m much more likely to forgive a punctuation error–so long as it doesn’t affect sentence sense–than I am to overlook a major error in grammar that fires up my English prof’s soul and jerks me out of the story.
    The quote from which you took your title is one of my favorites. “Cabbages and kings” is such a useful phrase. Another favorite is from “The Lion and the Unicorn” chapter of Through the Looking Glass:
    “Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before!”
    “Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

    Reply
  18. A timely topic, Pat, since I have just been ranting to my sister about a book I read last week by one of my favorite authors. The repeated pronoun case errors drove me mad. Not all errors are equal IMO, and as a reader, I’m much more likely to forgive a punctuation error–so long as it doesn’t affect sentence sense–than I am to overlook a major error in grammar that fires up my English prof’s soul and jerks me out of the story.
    The quote from which you took your title is one of my favorites. “Cabbages and kings” is such a useful phrase. Another favorite is from “The Lion and the Unicorn” chapter of Through the Looking Glass:
    “Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before!”
    “Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

    Reply
  19. A timely topic, Pat, since I have just been ranting to my sister about a book I read last week by one of my favorite authors. The repeated pronoun case errors drove me mad. Not all errors are equal IMO, and as a reader, I’m much more likely to forgive a punctuation error–so long as it doesn’t affect sentence sense–than I am to overlook a major error in grammar that fires up my English prof’s soul and jerks me out of the story.
    The quote from which you took your title is one of my favorites. “Cabbages and kings” is such a useful phrase. Another favorite is from “The Lion and the Unicorn” chapter of Through the Looking Glass:
    “Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before!”
    “Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

    Reply
  20. A timely topic, Pat, since I have just been ranting to my sister about a book I read last week by one of my favorite authors. The repeated pronoun case errors drove me mad. Not all errors are equal IMO, and as a reader, I’m much more likely to forgive a punctuation error–so long as it doesn’t affect sentence sense–than I am to overlook a major error in grammar that fires up my English prof’s soul and jerks me out of the story.
    The quote from which you took your title is one of my favorites. “Cabbages and kings” is such a useful phrase. Another favorite is from “The Lion and the Unicorn” chapter of Through the Looking Glass:
    “Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before!”
    “Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

    Reply
  21. One rule I learned for hyphens was when a noun was used as an adjective a hyphen was placed between it and the actual noun, but for the life of me I can’t think of an example at the moment so I haven’t been particularly helpful.
    And I don’t have the actual quote, but one of my favorites from Carroll is from the scene in Alice when the Red Queen says that they “must keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place” — that so perfectly describes the feeling we all have sometimes about our lives.

    Reply
  22. One rule I learned for hyphens was when a noun was used as an adjective a hyphen was placed between it and the actual noun, but for the life of me I can’t think of an example at the moment so I haven’t been particularly helpful.
    And I don’t have the actual quote, but one of my favorites from Carroll is from the scene in Alice when the Red Queen says that they “must keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place” — that so perfectly describes the feeling we all have sometimes about our lives.

    Reply
  23. One rule I learned for hyphens was when a noun was used as an adjective a hyphen was placed between it and the actual noun, but for the life of me I can’t think of an example at the moment so I haven’t been particularly helpful.
    And I don’t have the actual quote, but one of my favorites from Carroll is from the scene in Alice when the Red Queen says that they “must keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place” — that so perfectly describes the feeling we all have sometimes about our lives.

    Reply
  24. One rule I learned for hyphens was when a noun was used as an adjective a hyphen was placed between it and the actual noun, but for the life of me I can’t think of an example at the moment so I haven’t been particularly helpful.
    And I don’t have the actual quote, but one of my favorites from Carroll is from the scene in Alice when the Red Queen says that they “must keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place” — that so perfectly describes the feeling we all have sometimes about our lives.

    Reply
  25. One rule I learned for hyphens was when a noun was used as an adjective a hyphen was placed between it and the actual noun, but for the life of me I can’t think of an example at the moment so I haven’t been particularly helpful.
    And I don’t have the actual quote, but one of my favorites from Carroll is from the scene in Alice when the Red Queen says that they “must keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place” — that so perfectly describes the feeling we all have sometimes about our lives.

    Reply
  26. LOL! I knew this group would make me laugh with Carroll quotes. I do adore his nonsense, especially on a gloomy day like today. I think I’ll dig out my annotated copy and curl up in front of the fire if I can ever muddle my way through the mess on my desk. (I can’t wait for the Johnny Depp version of the Hatter!)
    Maggie, I do the track changes on my little Macbook while sitting in a recliner with my dictionary and thesaurus at my side. And keep Regency reference sites in my bookmarks for those literal copyeditors. Try explaining “nicked in the nob” to one.
    And yes, my editor agreed my CE was wrong. Someone said she might be using AP style, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a newspaper use a hyphen after “most.”
    When speaking, I tend to be lax about pronoun cases, especially if speaking in general terms when I don’t want to identify s/he and “they” is so much easier. I know, I know better.
    But now I’m wondering if we ought to come up with rules that NEED to be thrown out, ones we get tired of fighting. I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay”!

    Reply
  27. LOL! I knew this group would make me laugh with Carroll quotes. I do adore his nonsense, especially on a gloomy day like today. I think I’ll dig out my annotated copy and curl up in front of the fire if I can ever muddle my way through the mess on my desk. (I can’t wait for the Johnny Depp version of the Hatter!)
    Maggie, I do the track changes on my little Macbook while sitting in a recliner with my dictionary and thesaurus at my side. And keep Regency reference sites in my bookmarks for those literal copyeditors. Try explaining “nicked in the nob” to one.
    And yes, my editor agreed my CE was wrong. Someone said she might be using AP style, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a newspaper use a hyphen after “most.”
    When speaking, I tend to be lax about pronoun cases, especially if speaking in general terms when I don’t want to identify s/he and “they” is so much easier. I know, I know better.
    But now I’m wondering if we ought to come up with rules that NEED to be thrown out, ones we get tired of fighting. I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay”!

    Reply
  28. LOL! I knew this group would make me laugh with Carroll quotes. I do adore his nonsense, especially on a gloomy day like today. I think I’ll dig out my annotated copy and curl up in front of the fire if I can ever muddle my way through the mess on my desk. (I can’t wait for the Johnny Depp version of the Hatter!)
    Maggie, I do the track changes on my little Macbook while sitting in a recliner with my dictionary and thesaurus at my side. And keep Regency reference sites in my bookmarks for those literal copyeditors. Try explaining “nicked in the nob” to one.
    And yes, my editor agreed my CE was wrong. Someone said she might be using AP style, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a newspaper use a hyphen after “most.”
    When speaking, I tend to be lax about pronoun cases, especially if speaking in general terms when I don’t want to identify s/he and “they” is so much easier. I know, I know better.
    But now I’m wondering if we ought to come up with rules that NEED to be thrown out, ones we get tired of fighting. I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay”!

    Reply
  29. LOL! I knew this group would make me laugh with Carroll quotes. I do adore his nonsense, especially on a gloomy day like today. I think I’ll dig out my annotated copy and curl up in front of the fire if I can ever muddle my way through the mess on my desk. (I can’t wait for the Johnny Depp version of the Hatter!)
    Maggie, I do the track changes on my little Macbook while sitting in a recliner with my dictionary and thesaurus at my side. And keep Regency reference sites in my bookmarks for those literal copyeditors. Try explaining “nicked in the nob” to one.
    And yes, my editor agreed my CE was wrong. Someone said she might be using AP style, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a newspaper use a hyphen after “most.”
    When speaking, I tend to be lax about pronoun cases, especially if speaking in general terms when I don’t want to identify s/he and “they” is so much easier. I know, I know better.
    But now I’m wondering if we ought to come up with rules that NEED to be thrown out, ones we get tired of fighting. I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay”!

    Reply
  30. LOL! I knew this group would make me laugh with Carroll quotes. I do adore his nonsense, especially on a gloomy day like today. I think I’ll dig out my annotated copy and curl up in front of the fire if I can ever muddle my way through the mess on my desk. (I can’t wait for the Johnny Depp version of the Hatter!)
    Maggie, I do the track changes on my little Macbook while sitting in a recliner with my dictionary and thesaurus at my side. And keep Regency reference sites in my bookmarks for those literal copyeditors. Try explaining “nicked in the nob” to one.
    And yes, my editor agreed my CE was wrong. Someone said she might be using AP style, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a newspaper use a hyphen after “most.”
    When speaking, I tend to be lax about pronoun cases, especially if speaking in general terms when I don’t want to identify s/he and “they” is so much easier. I know, I know better.
    But now I’m wondering if we ought to come up with rules that NEED to be thrown out, ones we get tired of fighting. I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay”!

    Reply
  31. I have the Gregg Reference Manual, but even that, from edition to edition, contradicts itself. So I write with my own flare and style and to heck with anyone who thinks I put the comma or the hyphen in the wrong place lol!
    “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
    “And your hair has become very white;
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
    Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
    Alice in Wonderland
    I hope I always remember to stand on my head. 🙂

    Reply
  32. I have the Gregg Reference Manual, but even that, from edition to edition, contradicts itself. So I write with my own flare and style and to heck with anyone who thinks I put the comma or the hyphen in the wrong place lol!
    “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
    “And your hair has become very white;
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
    Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
    Alice in Wonderland
    I hope I always remember to stand on my head. 🙂

    Reply
  33. I have the Gregg Reference Manual, but even that, from edition to edition, contradicts itself. So I write with my own flare and style and to heck with anyone who thinks I put the comma or the hyphen in the wrong place lol!
    “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
    “And your hair has become very white;
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
    Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
    Alice in Wonderland
    I hope I always remember to stand on my head. 🙂

    Reply
  34. I have the Gregg Reference Manual, but even that, from edition to edition, contradicts itself. So I write with my own flare and style and to heck with anyone who thinks I put the comma or the hyphen in the wrong place lol!
    “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
    “And your hair has become very white;
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
    Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
    Alice in Wonderland
    I hope I always remember to stand on my head. 🙂

    Reply
  35. I have the Gregg Reference Manual, but even that, from edition to edition, contradicts itself. So I write with my own flare and style and to heck with anyone who thinks I put the comma or the hyphen in the wrong place lol!
    “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
    “And your hair has become very white;
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
    Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
    Alice in Wonderland
    I hope I always remember to stand on my head. 🙂

    Reply
  36. In general, punctuation exists to mimic speech in writing. I suppose it does, in most cases, except for your hyphens. But I don’t understand hyphens, either. I put them in when they seem to fit. I used the word “stepmama”. I looked up “stepmother”, and it was one word, so I made stepmama one word. Turns out, the word is “step-mama”. Not an adjective, but live and learn.

    Reply
  37. In general, punctuation exists to mimic speech in writing. I suppose it does, in most cases, except for your hyphens. But I don’t understand hyphens, either. I put them in when they seem to fit. I used the word “stepmama”. I looked up “stepmother”, and it was one word, so I made stepmama one word. Turns out, the word is “step-mama”. Not an adjective, but live and learn.

    Reply
  38. In general, punctuation exists to mimic speech in writing. I suppose it does, in most cases, except for your hyphens. But I don’t understand hyphens, either. I put them in when they seem to fit. I used the word “stepmama”. I looked up “stepmother”, and it was one word, so I made stepmama one word. Turns out, the word is “step-mama”. Not an adjective, but live and learn.

    Reply
  39. In general, punctuation exists to mimic speech in writing. I suppose it does, in most cases, except for your hyphens. But I don’t understand hyphens, either. I put them in when they seem to fit. I used the word “stepmama”. I looked up “stepmother”, and it was one word, so I made stepmama one word. Turns out, the word is “step-mama”. Not an adjective, but live and learn.

    Reply
  40. In general, punctuation exists to mimic speech in writing. I suppose it does, in most cases, except for your hyphens. But I don’t understand hyphens, either. I put them in when they seem to fit. I used the word “stepmama”. I looked up “stepmother”, and it was one word, so I made stepmama one word. Turns out, the word is “step-mama”. Not an adjective, but live and learn.

    Reply
  41. Maybe I should make copyeditors stand on their heads, she says grimly. Or perhaps puckishly. “G”
    Compound words are simply too much work. They change from hyphenates to whole words in a blink of the eye. And Word’s dictionary is no help since it wants to separate all of them. So let’s make compound words another rule to eliminate–hyphen as ye will!

    Reply
  42. Maybe I should make copyeditors stand on their heads, she says grimly. Or perhaps puckishly. “G”
    Compound words are simply too much work. They change from hyphenates to whole words in a blink of the eye. And Word’s dictionary is no help since it wants to separate all of them. So let’s make compound words another rule to eliminate–hyphen as ye will!

    Reply
  43. Maybe I should make copyeditors stand on their heads, she says grimly. Or perhaps puckishly. “G”
    Compound words are simply too much work. They change from hyphenates to whole words in a blink of the eye. And Word’s dictionary is no help since it wants to separate all of them. So let’s make compound words another rule to eliminate–hyphen as ye will!

    Reply
  44. Maybe I should make copyeditors stand on their heads, she says grimly. Or perhaps puckishly. “G”
    Compound words are simply too much work. They change from hyphenates to whole words in a blink of the eye. And Word’s dictionary is no help since it wants to separate all of them. So let’s make compound words another rule to eliminate–hyphen as ye will!

    Reply
  45. Maybe I should make copyeditors stand on their heads, she says grimly. Or perhaps puckishly. “G”
    Compound words are simply too much work. They change from hyphenates to whole words in a blink of the eye. And Word’s dictionary is no help since it wants to separate all of them. So let’s make compound words another rule to eliminate–hyphen as ye will!

    Reply
  46. Enjoyable post, Pat.
    Liked Louis’s comment, too.
    Yesterday I asked a friend of mine, who has co-written a grammar book for her opinion on some punctuation I was wrestling with, and she said “Punctuation is an art” and I think that’s the way to go with hyphens too. Mine usually get taken out, too and I consider it, then usually put them back in.
    As for: I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay” — nooo. We’d be on opposing sides of that grammar skirmish, I fear. LOL
    We all have our hot buttons.

    Reply
  47. Enjoyable post, Pat.
    Liked Louis’s comment, too.
    Yesterday I asked a friend of mine, who has co-written a grammar book for her opinion on some punctuation I was wrestling with, and she said “Punctuation is an art” and I think that’s the way to go with hyphens too. Mine usually get taken out, too and I consider it, then usually put them back in.
    As for: I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay” — nooo. We’d be on opposing sides of that grammar skirmish, I fear. LOL
    We all have our hot buttons.

    Reply
  48. Enjoyable post, Pat.
    Liked Louis’s comment, too.
    Yesterday I asked a friend of mine, who has co-written a grammar book for her opinion on some punctuation I was wrestling with, and she said “Punctuation is an art” and I think that’s the way to go with hyphens too. Mine usually get taken out, too and I consider it, then usually put them back in.
    As for: I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay” — nooo. We’d be on opposing sides of that grammar skirmish, I fear. LOL
    We all have our hot buttons.

    Reply
  49. Enjoyable post, Pat.
    Liked Louis’s comment, too.
    Yesterday I asked a friend of mine, who has co-written a grammar book for her opinion on some punctuation I was wrestling with, and she said “Punctuation is an art” and I think that’s the way to go with hyphens too. Mine usually get taken out, too and I consider it, then usually put them back in.
    As for: I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay” — nooo. We’d be on opposing sides of that grammar skirmish, I fear. LOL
    We all have our hot buttons.

    Reply
  50. Enjoyable post, Pat.
    Liked Louis’s comment, too.
    Yesterday I asked a friend of mine, who has co-written a grammar book for her opinion on some punctuation I was wrestling with, and she said “Punctuation is an art” and I think that’s the way to go with hyphens too. Mine usually get taken out, too and I consider it, then usually put them back in.
    As for: I’d vote to throw out the differences between “lie” and “lay” — nooo. We’d be on opposing sides of that grammar skirmish, I fear. LOL
    We all have our hot buttons.

    Reply
  51. My last name is a compound word. Both Word and people insist on splitting it or hyphenating it. As for rules, don’t feel bad. The 6th edition of the APA style manual (which I had to shell out bucks for that should have been spent on romance) has significant errors. People are demanding their money back, but APA is saying all the errata are on line and should be printed out and inserted. If they can be wrong…
    http://supp.apa.org/style/pubman-reprint-corrections-for-2e.pdf
    At least I don’t have to remember to leave space at the bottom of the page for footnotes anymore.
    Happy writing to one and all.

    Reply
  52. My last name is a compound word. Both Word and people insist on splitting it or hyphenating it. As for rules, don’t feel bad. The 6th edition of the APA style manual (which I had to shell out bucks for that should have been spent on romance) has significant errors. People are demanding their money back, but APA is saying all the errata are on line and should be printed out and inserted. If they can be wrong…
    http://supp.apa.org/style/pubman-reprint-corrections-for-2e.pdf
    At least I don’t have to remember to leave space at the bottom of the page for footnotes anymore.
    Happy writing to one and all.

    Reply
  53. My last name is a compound word. Both Word and people insist on splitting it or hyphenating it. As for rules, don’t feel bad. The 6th edition of the APA style manual (which I had to shell out bucks for that should have been spent on romance) has significant errors. People are demanding their money back, but APA is saying all the errata are on line and should be printed out and inserted. If they can be wrong…
    http://supp.apa.org/style/pubman-reprint-corrections-for-2e.pdf
    At least I don’t have to remember to leave space at the bottom of the page for footnotes anymore.
    Happy writing to one and all.

    Reply
  54. My last name is a compound word. Both Word and people insist on splitting it or hyphenating it. As for rules, don’t feel bad. The 6th edition of the APA style manual (which I had to shell out bucks for that should have been spent on romance) has significant errors. People are demanding their money back, but APA is saying all the errata are on line and should be printed out and inserted. If they can be wrong…
    http://supp.apa.org/style/pubman-reprint-corrections-for-2e.pdf
    At least I don’t have to remember to leave space at the bottom of the page for footnotes anymore.
    Happy writing to one and all.

    Reply
  55. My last name is a compound word. Both Word and people insist on splitting it or hyphenating it. As for rules, don’t feel bad. The 6th edition of the APA style manual (which I had to shell out bucks for that should have been spent on romance) has significant errors. People are demanding their money back, but APA is saying all the errata are on line and should be printed out and inserted. If they can be wrong…
    http://supp.apa.org/style/pubman-reprint-corrections-for-2e.pdf
    At least I don’t have to remember to leave space at the bottom of the page for footnotes anymore.
    Happy writing to one and all.

    Reply
  56. Ouch, last name a compound word! Well, at least Word recognizes it then, even if it wants to split it. “G”
    It’s a wee bit worrisome, though, when a print publications requires a reader to go online to find the corrections. Why, then, did they not simply create an e-book if that’s the direction they’re drifting? I’m thinking the market for e-readers is being created right before our eyes.
    And yes, it’s all a pack of cards!

    Reply
  57. Ouch, last name a compound word! Well, at least Word recognizes it then, even if it wants to split it. “G”
    It’s a wee bit worrisome, though, when a print publications requires a reader to go online to find the corrections. Why, then, did they not simply create an e-book if that’s the direction they’re drifting? I’m thinking the market for e-readers is being created right before our eyes.
    And yes, it’s all a pack of cards!

    Reply
  58. Ouch, last name a compound word! Well, at least Word recognizes it then, even if it wants to split it. “G”
    It’s a wee bit worrisome, though, when a print publications requires a reader to go online to find the corrections. Why, then, did they not simply create an e-book if that’s the direction they’re drifting? I’m thinking the market for e-readers is being created right before our eyes.
    And yes, it’s all a pack of cards!

    Reply
  59. Ouch, last name a compound word! Well, at least Word recognizes it then, even if it wants to split it. “G”
    It’s a wee bit worrisome, though, when a print publications requires a reader to go online to find the corrections. Why, then, did they not simply create an e-book if that’s the direction they’re drifting? I’m thinking the market for e-readers is being created right before our eyes.
    And yes, it’s all a pack of cards!

    Reply
  60. Ouch, last name a compound word! Well, at least Word recognizes it then, even if it wants to split it. “G”
    It’s a wee bit worrisome, though, when a print publications requires a reader to go online to find the corrections. Why, then, did they not simply create an e-book if that’s the direction they’re drifting? I’m thinking the market for e-readers is being created right before our eyes.
    And yes, it’s all a pack of cards!

    Reply

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