JaniceHeck

My Time to Write, but The Cats have The Last Meow!

#AtoZ: K is for Knights-Errant, Kit and Caboodle, and Kitty-cornered

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Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk: odd and amusing words that start with the letter K.

You find the most interesting things while browsing through grammar and usage guides. (Okay, stop laughing. It’s what I do when I’m stuck for ideas.)

Now that you’re hysterical laughing spell is over (that was a bit rude, you know), I’ll get on with my meanderings through K words.

First of all, ever since my last post in which I mentioned that a knight-errant had bashed in my door to save me from further wordmongering about plural nouns, I’ve been wondering what a knight-errant actually does or did.

photo credit: gathering.wizards.com

photo credit: gathering.wizards.com

Turns out a knight-errant (or knights-errant when he is with his buddies) wanders around in search of adventures and challenges to prove his chivalry (bravery, courtesy, honesty, and gallantry towards women). He is given to adventurous or quixotic conduct, that is, he pursues unreachable, impractical goals. He is idealistic rather than practical. Most often, a knight-errant saves a damsel in distress from dragons or other evil beings.

mm

mm

Hmmm. I guess saving writers from wordmongering is challenge that would definitely be rewarding.

Here are a few interesting tidbits in my quixotic journey through K.

kit and caboodle

A kit, I know, is a small fox or a kitten. Ah, but that is definition #3, in my American Heritage Dictionary.

The first definition of kit is: a container, such as a bag, valise, or knapsack for holding a collection of items. Examples: shaving kit, survival kit, travel kit, or some other collection of items or people, a crowd.

English soldiers in the late 1700s, so the story goes, carried their possessions in a kit as they moved about the country for military activities.

But caboodle? That’s not so clear. Turns out that the original word might have been boodle (English for a collection of people), or maybe bottel (Old English for bunch or bundle), or even boedel (Dutch, meaning property).

Kit and caboodle now means the whole thing, the whole ball of wax, the whole shebang…maybe like carrying all your things in a back-pack around Europe like you did when you were in college. (Those were the days!)

kitty-cornered,  catty-cornered, cater-cornered, catawampus, cattywampus

I used to walk kitty-cornered across my college campus many years ago so I wouldn’t be late for my first class. I think it was Ancient History, but that’s really ancient history now. Who wanted to walk the long way around on the college-defined path? And Kitties are not dumb either. They know that the shortest walk through a mouse-laden field is to go kitty-cornered, or on a diagonal path from corner to corner.

The original word was possibly the French word for quarter, meaning four, or four-cornered. It could also have been from old Middle English when the phrase was catre-cornered, adapted from the Latin quattuor.

As words do, cater evolved into catty (catty-cornered), then to kitty (kitty-cornered).

Then bring the term to the good ole South in the U.S of A, and you get these variations: catawampus and cattywampus.

William Morris jokes, “Down in Tennesee a college professor of mathematics was once heard to say: ‘You might call a rhombus a catawampus square.’” Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins.

Supposedly, according to Morris, plantation owners in the South warned their slaves that bloodthirsty catawampus cats lurked out in the woods at night ready to pounce on anything that moved and hungry enough to eat a human. Instead of running away, the slaves shivered in fear in their dark cabins listening to the catawampus howl out in the woods.

Old words have interesting stories!

The correct spelling, by the way, is cater-corner or cater-cornered, but no one will have a hissy fit if you spell it kitty-cornered. They will know what you mean.

Personally, my kitty friends and I prefer kitty-cornered: meaning one kitty on each corner of the bed.

photo credit: olbroad.com

photo credit: olbroad.com

So, The Knight of La Mancha, our favorite knight-errant, took his kit and caboodle and left on a quixotic journey, riding cater-cornered off into the sunset across the vast countryside looking for dragons to slay and distressed maidens to rescue. Oh, how noble.

photo credit: writerscafe.org

photo credit: writerscafe.org

Your turn: What quirky errors or interesting words do you find in writing?

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error, theme for the 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that stifle our writing.

=<^;^>=

Oh, just one last piece of advice from my kitty friends:

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#AtoZ, 2014: J is for Jarfuls of Jam: Another Quirk?

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Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error: Plurals on compound words ending in -ful.

Plurals on words can be tricky, what with words ending in -f, -ff, -fe, -o, s, x, ch, sh, -z, and sometimes -y. Then along come the compound nouns, and not to mention irregular plurals. Uh, oh. I’m starting to hyperventilate again.

Most often you simply add an -s or -es to the end of the noun:

*  birthdays
*  turtles
*  mousetraps
*  eyelashes
*  wineglasses
*  hatboxes

Sometimes you have to change the word ending:

*  quiz/quizzes
*  wife/wives
*  knife/knives
*  copy/copies

But when you come to compound nouns, sometimes you add the -s on the main part of the noun.  (*pant, pant, pant)

*  mothers-in-law
*  ladies-in-waiting
*  rights-of-way
*  editors in chief/editors-in-chief (you see it both ways in style guides)
*  knights-errant (Wait! I hear one knight-errant arriving at my door to rescue me from this flighty wordmongering.)

Then there are the words that end in -ful. For those words, you add the -s at the end of the word.

*  jarful/jarfuls
*  spoonful/spoonfuls

***

When I was a little girl, I loved coming home from school on days when Mom was making strawberry jam. She would cook up the strawberries with sugar and water and a pink foam would rise to the top of the pot when the berries came to a gentle boil. We kids would beg for a spoonful of the pink foam for a tasty snack. Yummie.

Then she would fill the jars with the delicious sweet jam to save for the winter ahead, but she would always save out a jarful for us for breakfast. The rest of the jars went down into the cool cellar as our hedge against a long strawberry-deprived winter.

Mom would save one fresh jarful of jam for breakfast.

Mom would save one fresh jarful of jam for breakfast.

Mom lined the jarfuls of the jam on the kitchen cabinet. When she heard the lids "pop," she knew the vacuum seal had set.

Mom lined the jars of home-made jam on the kitchen cabinet to cool. When she heard the lids “pop,” she knew the vacuum seal had set.

Now the question is, with nine kids in the family, how many spoonfuls of strawberry pink foam did Mom need?

  • nine spoonfuls of pink foam from the jam?
  • nine spoons full of pink foam from the jam?

Do you see the subtle difference?.

  • Because Mom had nine children, she needed nine spoons full of jam to make them happy. (Nine spoons filled one time each.)
  • On another day, she made strawberry pancakes, and the recipe called for nine spoonfuls of jam. (The same spoon filled nine times with jam.)

We know from Mary Poppins that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, but how many spoonfuls of pink strawberry jam foam does it take to make nine scruffy farm kids happy? A lot!

Here’s the rule:

When a word ends in -ful, make it plural by adding an s to the end of the word.

Garner’s Modern American Usage, by Bryan A. Garner, lists 26 words with a -ful suffix. You can find the majority of these in a good dictionary.  I must admit I had to think for a few minutes to make up some sentences that didn’t sound weird. (I used the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language to check these words.)

*  armful/armfuls
*  bagful/bagfuls
*  barrelful/barrelfuls
*  basketful/basketfuls
*  bottleful/bottlefuls
*  bucketful/bucketfuls
*  cupful/cupfuls
*  eyeful/eyefuls
*  forkful/forkfuls
*  glassful/glassfuls
*  handful/handfuls
*  jarful/jarfuls
*  lapful/lapfuls
*  lungful/lungfuls
*  mouthful/mouthfuls
*  pailful/pailfuls
*  plateful/platefuls
*  pocketful/pocketfuls
*  potful/potfuls
*  roomful/roomfuls
*  scoopful/scoopfuls
*  shovelful/shovelfuls
*  spoonful/spoonfuls
*  tableful/tablefuls
*  tablespoonful/tablespoonfuls
*  teaspoonful/teaspoonfuls
*  tubful/tubfuls

I did find another to add to the list…

*  teacupful/teacupsful

Of course, then I got carried away and started making up non-dictionary words with -ful.

*  bowlful/bowlfuls of kitty Friskies
*  houseful/housefuls of antique furniture
*  lapful/lapfuls of kittens
*  gallipotful/gallipotfuls of medicine
*  sinkful/sinkfuls of dirty dishes
*  garageful/garagefuls of junk
*  stomachful/stomachfuls of tamales
*  casket/casketsful (*snort, snort)

How about a cauldronful of alligators to make a nice stew for the witches? Photo taken at Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, NJ

How about a cauldronful of alligators to make a nice stew for the witches?
Photo taken at Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, NJ

Yeech. One could go on and on with these words, though, I admit, some seem a bit far-fetched.

Take a deep breath now. We’re done! *sigh

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error, theme for the 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that stifle our writing.

=<^;^>=

 

 

 

 

 

#AtoZ, 2014: I iz for Iz-zies, Ar-zies, Waz-zies, & Wer-zies

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error:  Too many iz-zies, ar-zies, waz-zies, and wer-zies

Iz-zies?    Ar-zies?    Waz-zies?     Wer-zies?

What?

Funny thing, as I twerked through the Internet to see what might turn up for iz-zies, up popped izzing, a term coined by Paul Grice to explain Aristotelian philosophy.

katemi-plaque-aristotle-c3d5

Now I know, for sure, that great minds think alike. Of course, izzing is not Aristotle’s original word, but hey, izzing is a translation/interpretation, and that’s close enough to my iz-zies to make a connection of some kind.

Now don’t ask me how Aristotle/Grice define izzing because it’s almost beyond my comprehension. I can only figure that it has something to do with philosophic/linguistic logic. So much for my connection with Aristotle and my claim to fame by association. Nice try though, don’t you think?

Wait! I found another Izze online: The Izze Beverage Company in Boulder, Colorado, produces a carbonated juice drink called Izze. Izzes, sold in Starbucks, Whole Foods, and other stores with some snob appeal stores of distinction, appeal to the non-cola crowd. Hmm. A strawberry basil Izze sounds good right about now. (Its spelling mimics my iz-zies.)

Now, here’s the truth: I only meant to invent a unique spelling for that pesky word “is” to make this post a bit more interesting. But I needed more than iz-zies; I needed ar-zies, waz-zies, and wer-zies to represent those ubiquitous is, are, was, and were that show up so often in our writing.

Iz-zies, and her buddies, ar-zies,  waz-zies, and wer-zies cause trouble for writers because they flagrantly insert themselves in writing pieces seemingly willy-nilly. They trash our writing, clog it up with extra words, and bore our readers into oblivion.

These four spindly muscled verbs strong-arm mightier verbs and pull them down to the mats by clobbering them with extra words and that dreaded -ing word ending. Iz-zies, ar-zies, waz-zies, and wer-zies also drag in that much maligned passive voice, a crime strongly chastised by grammar geeks know-it-alls, grammar snobs elite editors.

Oh Heck! I caught iz-zies, ar-zies,  waz-zies, and wer-zies in my own writing. See these examples from my first draft of this post and see how I massacred them in the final draft.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGuidelines:

  1. Count your iz-zies, ar-zies, waz-zies, and wer-zies  in your writing. (is, are, was, were)
  2. Count your -ing endings. (That’s a clue to weak verb use.)
  3. Replace iz-zies, ar-zies,  waz-zies, and wer-zies with more vigorous verbs.

Action:

1. Drop the iz-zie (is) entirely and get more oomph in your writing.

Version 1.   Is iz-zie really a word?  What about waz-zies?
Version 2.  Iz-zies? Ar-zies? Waz-zies? Wer-zies? What?

2. Change (or remove) the verb tense. Bonus: get rid of the -ing at the same time!

Version 1.  I was thinking I could glam on to Aristotle’s fame with my own iz-zies…
Version 2.  So much for my connection with Aristotle.
Version 3. So much for my connection with Aristotle and my claim to fame by association.

3. Rearrange sentence word order.

Version 1. The second Izze that I found on Internet was a carbonated juice drink produced by the Izze Beverage Company in Boulder, Colorado.
Version 2. The Izze Beverage Company of Boulder, Colorado produces a carbonated juice drink called Izze.
Version 3. But wait! I found another Izze online: The Izze Beverage Company in Boulder, Colorado, produces a carbonated juice drink called Izze.

4. Use appositives, a parenthetical word or phrase that gives information about the preceding noun, as a means to replace an iz-zie. (Appositives: A parenthetical phrase that explains a noun in the sentence. It is the whole phrase between the commas. Appositives can easily be removed, as in: Use Appositives as a means to replace an iz-zie.)

Version 1. Izzies are sold in Starbucks, Whole Foods, and other stores with some snob appeal stores of distinction.
Version 2. Izzies, sold in Starbucks, Whole Foods, and other stores of distinction, seem to have mass appeal.
Version 3. Izzies, sold in Starbucks, Whole Foods, and other stores with some snob appeal of distinction, appeal to the non-cola crowd.

5. Reword your sentences. Remove extra words. Remove -ing endings.

Version 1. Count your iz-zies and waz-zies and remove them by replacing them with stronger verbs.
Version 2. Reduce iz-zies and waz-zies by replacing them with stronger verbs.
Version 3. Replace iz-zies and waz-zies with stronger verbs.

Notice how each version of the above sentence got shorter and tighter?

Version 1. Of course, the truth is that I only meant to invent a funny spelling for the little word “is”…
Version 2. Now, here’s the truth: I only meant to invent a unique spelling for that pesky word “is”…

6. Use iz-zies, ar-zies,  waz-zies, or wer-zies, at times, just to keep things simple. You don’t necessarily want to use a complex word when a simpler one will do the job.

Example: Of course, izzing is not Aristotle’s original word, but hey, izzing is a translation/interpretation…

Improve your writing by simply watching out for these little critters that sneak into your writing when you aren’t looking.

***

Your turn: What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?

aristotle quote

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error, theme for the 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that stifle our writing.

=<^;^>=

 

A to Z Challenge, 2014: Hyperventilating on Hyphens

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Oh Heck! More Quirky Writing Errors

June Casagrande, author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies, titles her chapter about hyphens this way:

Hyphens: Life-Sucking, Mom-and Apple-Pie-Hating, Mime-Loving, Nerd-Fight-Inciting Daggers of the Damned

Many people would agree with that assessment. There are just too many rules for hyphens.

Hyphens get nine full pages of coverage in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). Following an introduction of nine general principles, CMOS then lists out over 100 specific points related to words or phrases that need or don’t hyphens. That sounds like enough to make you hyperventilate. Let’s try to simplify some of that.

***

My sister just sent me a childhood picture of the six girls in my family. This picture makes me smile.

Kroey sisters. back row L to R  Joyce, Joanne, Shirley. Front row L to R: Beverley, Judie, Janice

Back row L to R: Joyce, Joanne, Shirley.
Front row L to R: Beverley, Judie, Janice

I can only guess at our ages in the picture: eighteen-year-old Joyce, seventeen-year-old Joanne, fourteen-year-old Shirley, eleven-year-old Beverley, seven-year-old Judie, and little five-year-old me.

Note three things about these ages:

  1. Use hyphens on ages. Omission of hyphens on ages is a common error in the drafts of articles for our community newsletter.
  2. Newspapers generally use numerals for ages according to their own style sheet. Use the style of the publication for which you are writing.
    9-year-old brother
    11-year-old sister
    3-year-old bobcat
  3. When talking about an age group, use a hyphen and space after the first age group:
    The five- to ten-year-olds had a field day at the park.
    The school has classes for three-, four-, and five-year-old children.

…talking to a classroom of six-year-olds about dinosaurs definitely beats talking to a room full of adults about politics.   WE ARE TEACHERS    (blog), “12 Reasons Teachers Have the Best Job in the World”

tumblr_inline_n30dmjBRVx1ri33kd classroom

Why add hyphens when using numbers?  To ensure clarity.

eleven year olds  or  eleven-year-olds

Is it eleven children who are each one-year-old, or is one child who is eleven-years-old? The hyphens clarify.

Other ages:  five-and-a-half-year-old girl, four-month-old baby, seventy-five-year-old man

Note: if the age comes after the noun, do not use hyphens.

The baby is four months old.
Sarah is ten years old.
The gentleman is seventy-five years old. (Use the hyphen on the compound number only.)

Use Hyphens On Time:

The fourteen-year-old girl took a four-week class on babysitting at the YMCA.

photo credit: commons.wikipedia.org

photo credit: commons.wikipedia.org

How about making spaghetti sauce? How long should you cook it?

But for those cooks in the know, breaking down a Jersey tomato into a five-hour sauce is a no-no….Blasphemy,” says Robert Bell, executive chef of the group that runs Gourmet Italian Cuisine, The Carriage House catering hall and Sweet Gourmet Bakery, all in Galloway Township (NJ). “A good Jersey tomato you just eat like an apple, in my opinion.”      Felicia Compian, “Gourmet for the Whole Family,”  The Press of Atlantic City,  July 23, 2013:

Use Hyphens On Sizes:  

a nine-by-twelve rug

Use Hyphens and Numerals on Measurements
12-story, stainless steel model of the Earth
10-foot-tall ladder

How much is civic pride worth? In Whatley, Mass., at least $650. That’s how much the local historical society spent to refurbish a 20-foot-tall concrete milk jug in the middle of town. The group felt it important the bottle be in tip-top shape because it’s the “symbol of Whatly.”   AP news brief, “Milk makeover,” The Press of Atlantic City, NJ, July 23, 2013

Use Hyphens On Compound Numbers from Twenty-one through Ninety-nine.

twenty-four,    thirty-three,      ninety-two,       two hundred ninety-two,    five hundred

Be sure to check the style guidelines for different genres to see how numbers whether numbers should be spelled out. Newspapers generally spell out numbers from one to nine, but even that is not consistent with all newspapers. Otherwise, write out numbers above 100.

On fractions:    one-quarter , one-half, two-thirds majority, half-inch

The boys ate three-quarters of the pizza before dinner.

Hyphenated words can be tricky, but if you develop an eye for them by finding them in your reading material, you will master them. For review, read my previous posts on hyphens:
D is for Deep-Fried Hyphens
F is for Freshly Squeezed Adverbs
G is for Gobs of Hyphens Used Correctly

And just for fun, here is a picture of my mother and her sisters. Mom is top row, third person.

Mom and her sisters  1930 maybe

***

Your turn: What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?

***
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.

=<^;^>=

A to Z Challenge, 2014: G is for Gobs of Hyphens Used Correctly

 

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Oh Heck! More Quirky Writing Errors

What do writers and brown bears have in common?

I could probably come up with some good analogies, but the truth is that I found gobs of hyphenated words in two different articles (one a blog post on writing, the other a newspaper article about brown bears) and wanted to share them in this post. See my previous articles about hyphenated words here:

D is for Deep-Fried Hyphens

F is for Freshly Squeezed Adverbs

Phrasal adjectives that need a hyphen

attention-getting commercial
cost-prohibitive place
front-row seat
high-definition webcam
mate-swapping brown bears
multi-published, bestselling authors
recently-discovered secret
post-deadline catatonic stupor
in-person conference
pre-conference panic attack
worst-case scenario

Jami Gold, “Insights from Bestselling Authors”  (blog post)

Even in the worst-case scenario, where we’re receiving rejections because we’re not yet “good enough,” we can study writing craft and change our fate.

Several multi-published, bestselling authors let me pick their brains and shared great advice (including Christie, Mary, Calista Fox, Erin Quinn, Morgan Kearns, and Jennifer Ashley).

“Famed Katmai National Park (Alaska) brown bears ready for season 2″ by Mark Thiessen, Associated Press, The Press of Atlantic City, July, 2013.

A high-definition webcam captures a brown bear as it climbs on top of Brooks Falls for a better angle at salmon swimming upstream in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. (photo caption)

Stars snarling at each other, mate-swapping dominant males posturing and establishing their territory.”

Katmai is a cost-prohibitive place to visit…

The new (web) camera is at eye-level of the bears…

Here are more compound adjectives (phrasal adjectives) I gathered from today’s newspaper:

four-level appeals
year-end numbers
Grammy-award-winning singer
non-security-related problems
in-store sales
high-end groceries
anti-freedom crowd
same-sex marriage
inner-city neighborhoods
long-term lease
solar-panel array
post-traumatic stress
tax-rate increase
world-class education
tax-lien sales
Twitter-like network

More examples of adverbs ending in -ly that do not need a hyphen

frequently asked questions
freshly made pastas
gently used items
randomly generated questions
highly regarded citizen

Examples of adverbs not ending in -ly that need hyphens

little-known facts
well-qualified buyers
low-paying jobs
hard-earned money
less-educated workers
best-known writer

Here’s a final thought from the Oxford University Press style manual

“If you take hyphens seriously, you will surely go mad.”

Your turn: What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?

**
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.

=<^;^>=

 

A to Z Challenge, 2014: Freshly Squeezed Adverbs

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error

I recently went to a street fair in Summerville, South Carolina, and amused myself by taking pictures of people and signs.

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I was a bit hungry and drooled over the deep-fried Oreos, the hand-dipped fried mushrooms, and the hand-dipped corn dogs, but I resisted their high-calorie goodness. (Note the correct hyphen use on these popular street-fair snacks. I wrote about hyphens in “Deep-Fried Hyphens.”)

Street fair snacks: hand-dipped fried mushrooms, hand-dipped corn dogs, among other things.

Street-fair snacks: hand-dipped fried mushrooms and hand-dipped corn dogs, among other things.

I considered having a cool drink to quench my thirst.  I checked the signs and found that I could have

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

 

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Fresh Brewed Iced Tea or Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Fresh Brewed Iced Tea or Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Hmmm. It got me wondering about hyphen use again. Which of these drinks is listed correctly? Should it be fresh squeezed lemonade or should it be freshly squeezed lemonade? And do either of these need a hyphen? The answers to these questions have to do with adjectives and adverbs.

Adjectives modify or describe nouns.

Consider this Internet advertisement that uses hyphens correctly:

****  Extra-Long Kimono-Style Tunics for only $27 on Nomorerack!

  • To clarify the size, the hyphen makes it clear:   They are extra-long tunics.
  • To clarify the style, the hyphen makes it clear:  They are kimono-style tunics.

In general, multiple word descriptors before a noun require a hyphen to clarify meaning.

Adverbs modify verbs and do not get a hyphen.

But now, here come the adverbs. Adverbs do not follow the same add-a-hyphen rule, primarily because the adverb makes the meaning of the phrase clear without any help from a hyphen, thank you very much.

  • Freshly squeezed orange juice. The juice has recently been squeezed from the oranges. Freshly modifies squeezed (past participle), telling us when the juice was squeezed.

But wait, in this next example, fresh modifies orange juice, a noun, making its use okay as well.

  • Fresh squeezed orange juice. In this case, fresh modifies orange juice (fresh orange juice) making its use without a hyphen okay. It is fresh juice, and it is squeezed juice.

Here are examples of -ly adverbs that do not require a hyphen.

**  recently discovered secret
**  freshly baked bread
**  freshly brewed tea
**  freshly pieced quilts
**  newly discovered ores
**  freshly picked veggies
**  brightly lit sign
**  highly paid officer

Now, just to confuse things, you use hyphens with some adverbs, (much-deserved vacation, well-known author), but I’ll write more about this in another post.

If you want to read more about orange juice, you can read this article: Freshly Squeezed: The Truth about Orange Juice in Boxes.

And you might want to try this recipe for Fresh Squeezed Lemonade.

Space invaders would probably get all of these hyphens mixed up, but wait, they can try the Alien Sippers: fresh lemonade that happens to be from squeezed lemons.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Your turn: What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?

**
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.

=<^;^>=

A to Z Challenge, 2014: E is for Extra Exclamation Ecstasy

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error

When I was in high school so many long years ago, my girlfriends and I loved to dot the letter -i- with little circles or hearts as an expression of our creativity and independence. The boys thought we were just being show-offs and teased us, but we just laughed at them and their own sloppy writing.

Another fad was to use an excess of exclamation points at ends of sentences in love notes, letters, essays, and reports, or other homework assignments.

Sally loves Johnny!!         Sally loves Harry!!!        Sally loves Joey!!!!   

Sally loves Sam!!!!!

Cute, but oh so high school. Definitely not cute in adult writing.

Here’s the rule:

An exclamation point at the end of a sentence indicates strong emotions or high volume. It can also be used at the end of ironic statements. The Chicago Manual of Style states that exclamation points should be used sparingly to be effective.

F. Scott Fitzgerald reportedly disliked exclamation points and urged writers to cut them out of their writing. “An exclamation mark,” he supposedly said, “is like laughing at your own joke.”

Genevieve Graham, in a blog post on entitled “Hurray a Blog about Excess Exclamation Points. How Exciting!” suggested that the ultimate function of an exclamation mark is “to provide an editor with one more thing to delete or replace.”

However, if you really want to be cutesy on special occasions, here’s a font you can use

Your turn: What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.

=<^;^>=

A to Z Challenge, 2014: D is for Deep-fried Hyphens

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error

Hyphens can be troublesome little pipsqueaks. You see them used incorrectly just about as often as you see them used correctly.

Today I went down to the 42nd Annual Flowertown Festival in Summerville, South Carolina, a street fair that covered many blocks on Main Street and much of downtown Azalea Park. The gorgeous azaleas, already in full bloom, filled the park with pinks, lavenders, and whites. Showy dogwoods displayed their white flowers. Beautiful flowers and beautiful weather. Perfect for the festival.

summerille festStreet vendors lined the streets and park pathways: arts and crafts, ornamental garden décor and wooden outdoor furniture, flowers and veggies, jellies and sauces, doggie leashes and outfits, gourmet foods and hand-made soaps, and much more. Food vendors claimed their share of the festival real estate, too.

And among the usual hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken-on-a-stick food vendors, I found the following items for sale: deep fried Oreos, deep fried Twinkies, deep fried Snickers, deep fried peaches, and deep fried apple fries.

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Being a picky editor, I cringed about the spelling/usage, but I still ate a deep-fried Oreo, snickering all the while about the lack of hyphen.

Here’s the rule.

In a multi-word adjective (phrasal adjectives), when each word by itself does not describe the noun, you must use a hyphen.

These high-calorie yummies are neither “deep Oreos” nor “fried Oreos,” but “deep-fried Oreos” (Oreo cookies that have been deep-fried by being submersed in hot oil). Therefore the multi-word adjective should have a hyphen.

Obviously, rules for hyphens do not apply at street festivals, county fairs, zoos, and other food-filled outdoor activities!

Here’s the corrected, but definitely unhealthy menu:

deep-fried Oreos
deep-fried Twinkies
deep-fried Snickers
deep-fried peaches
deep-fried apple fries..

Here’s to your health!

Your turn:  What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.

=<^;^>=

Summerville

A to Z Challenge, 2014: C is for Calendar Quirks

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error

Important date coming up on my calendar: April 4th, my birthday. Nothing quirky about that! But in our house, April is Birthday Month with little presents arriving daily. (Hmmm, maybe I could extend this to Birthday Season. I’ll try that idea out on my husband. I’m sure he’ll agree.

Photo: sugar delicious online

The cats always manage to sneak into this blog! They are shameless in their desire for attention.  Photo: sugar delicious online

Seriously, though, one error that pops up frequently in draft articles for our community newsletter is the use of capital letters on the seasons.

Names of months, days of the week, and holidays all begin with capital letters, but, alas, the generic four seasons do not receive any special recognition so do not get capital letters.

When you write for academic or journalistic purposes write your seasons like this: spring, summer, fall (and autumn), and winter.

Of course, there are times when you should capitalization the seasons.
1. When it is the first word in a sentence or quote. (Duh.)
**  Summer is my favorite time of the year, but winter in Florida is nice, too.
**  Many of us use a mnemonic device to help us remember when to change our clocks for Daylight Savings Time, “Spring ahead; fall behind.”

“Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz.
I wonder where the flowers iz.”

2. On titles of articles
**  Here is an article that does it right: “Spring Equinox Desert Reborn.” A season is capitalized in the title but not in the body of the article.

3. When it is part of a formal titlefarm_to_fork_logo
**  Winter Olympics
**  Autumnal Equinox Celebration & Official Farm-to-Fork Week Kick-off (Soil Born Farms, Sacramento, CA)
**  Spring Semester 2014
**  2014 Spring Jazz Fest, Cape May, New Jersey

Sorry,  summer vacation, though it is, indeed, a very special time of the year for many people, does not merit a capital letter.

4. In poetry, when a season is given human qualities (personification).

The Greeks and Romans and other ancients loved the seasons, often attributing human qualities to them, a technique called personification,  and when they did, they used capital letters.

mmm

This second century limestone mosaic depicting Summer and Medusa, wearing a crown of wheat stems, can be seen at the National Archaeological Museum, Madrid, Spain.

mmm

This second century Tunisian mosaic features Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter (in the four corners) garbed in seasonal attire. This piece can be viewed at the Bardo Museum, Tunisia.

 

Finally, remember, in the most common usages of the seasons in writing, do not use capital letters.

Your turn:  What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.

=<^;^>=

A to Z Challenge, 2014. B is for BBQ and Buffalo Chips

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error

On Monday night, we celebrated (okay, we didn’t celebrate, we mourned) the end of our second snowbird stay in Florida by having dinner at Hogbody’s Bar and Grill in North Fort Myers, Florida.

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As you might guess, Hogbody’s is not an elegant restaurant. Rather, it has, shall we say, a somewhat western look with red and white siding, a weathered-white porch, white wooden benches and red folding chairs for waiting guests, and rails for tying up your horses. And for more fun, right next door is the Horsin’ Around Deli.

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Of course, we all know that a fancy setting is not necessary for eating good barbecue. Some of the best barbecue joints are tin shacks down in the deep South or smoky pavilions alongside a country road.

All the tomfoolery at Hogbody’s got me thinking about all the variations in spelling of barbecue: BarBQue, Bar-B-Q, Barbeque, bar-be-cue, barbeque, Barbq, or just Barbie. And don’t forget the abbreviations of barbecue: BBQ, B-B-Q, bbg, and Bbq. It probably has a many spelling variations as Albuquerque!

Despite all these differences in spelling, the official, correct spelling is barbecue. But who cares? Regardless of whether you use the most popular variation (BBQ) or the official correct spelling, barbecue is just finger-lickin’ good.

Just for fun, I had to try the buffalo chips and the fried dill pickles. Buffalo chips? Yes. Deep-fried slices of baked potatoes smothered in melted cheese. Oh my, the calories, but oh, so good. Of course you could also try sweet corn fritters, fried okra, and fried green tomatoes along with your rack of ribs. A veritable country feast!

By the way, if you want to have some good country fun, check out Hogbody’s Annual Wing Eating Contest and Lawnmower Tug-o-war Contest in mid-September. What could be more fun than that?

And remember to get your Hogbody’s T-shirt. My husband loves his. It’s real uptown.

Oh, and don’t forget the correct spelling of barbecue. Hogbody’s knows both how to spell it and how to cook up some mean barbecue ribs.
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Your turn:  What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?

=<^;^>=
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.

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