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Archive for the category “Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error”

Another Writing Quirk: Front Yard and Backyard

logo 2.2This is quirky. Front yard is two words, and backyard is one word.

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In our recent On the Horizon, the newsletter for our 55+ community, I asked for pictures of animals that wander through our woodsy backyards. Here are a few of our visitors…

deer 4.

deer 8

deer 5..

 deer 3

deer1

5-2014 possum

Our backyard woodsy critters: deer, turkey, opossum, and more.

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Backyard. Front yard. Compound words can be tricky, so if in doubt, look the word up in your dictionary. Here are a few compound words that popped up in the current issue of our newsletter:

Sometimes compound words can be written as two words (open compounds):

front yard
pool room
egg rolls
solar panel

Sometimes compound words cam be hyphenated (hyphenated compounds: two-word adjectives)

on-duty police officers
town-wide activities
half-way point
smoke-only detectors
battery-powered smoke detectors
extra-virgin olive oil
soft-shelled crab
man-made canal

Sometimes they can be written as one word (closed compounds):

backup
backyard
bygones
cannot
clubhouse
crabmeat
homeland
homeowner
household
lawsuit
meatballs
newcomers
newsletter
paperwork
password
playground
sidewalk
landscaper

Don’t be surprised if you see a few words that can be written two ways or that two dictionaries do not agree on the spelling, hyphenation, or spacing. That’s just how these quirky compound words go.

database or data base
hard-wired or hardwired
line up or line-up

The current trend, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, is toward closed compounds. Compound words that start off as two words move to two words with a hyphen, then to one combined word (on line, on-line, online; e-mail, email).

Regardless of the current trend, check your dictionary if you are not sure of the spelling, hyphenation, or spacing of compound words.

Related Articles:

D is for Deep-Fried Hyphens
F is for Freshly Squeezed Adverbs
G is for Gobs of Hyphens Used Correctly

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, wannabe photographer, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk:  blog posts that suggest ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

=<^;^>=

 

#AtoZ Reflections and Five More Writers

 

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

This is my third year of posting a duly earned A to Z Survivor’s Badge on my blog.

AttoZ survivor, 2014

As I writer, I am now faster at completing posts and more focused on my writing theme. I enjoy reading other blogs and seeing the variety of writing styles other writers use. I “liked” a lot of posts and commented on a number of them as well, although I find it hard to comment as much as I would like to. Finally, I have seen my own growth as a writer because of the enforced march to post completion. The team pressure to complete the challenge and win that little green badge is strong! And that’s good.

This is my second post on reflections on the A to Z. My first, A to Z Bonus Wrap-Up: Writers I Met on the A to Z Highway, focused on a major benefit of this challenge for me: meeting new (to me) writer/bloggers. Here are my first five:

1. Amos Carpenter. From writing software and websites to just writing
2. Miss Alister, The Essence of a Thing: Another construction site pumping out noise and dust
3. Tom Benson – Creative A ‘watering hole’ for readers and fellow writers
4. Julie Jordan Scott, Julie Unplugged: Giving You Permission to Be Purely You: Unerased, Raw, Absolutely Right…
5. Jennifer Marshburn, Writings On Writing

I promised to add five more to my original five in my post for this Wednesday. Here they are:

6. Linda May Adams: Soldier, Storyteller

Linda gives us the lowdown on the military adventures (and misadventures) of women soldiers. Linda’s humor had me chuckling on a number of occasions. The military meals she describes seem, well, indigestible. Read about her resourceful alternatives, and be thankful for your home-cooked meals.

7. John Mark Miller, The Artistic Christian: Discussing Modern Art and Culture from a Christian Perspective.

John Mark Miller’s log line says it all. I enjoyed his writing style and his commentary. Here is my favorite post: Vision: The Foundation for Artistic Voice. And here are his Reflections on the A to Z Challenge.

8. Chris White Writes: Just another author writing short stories instead of his novel…

Chris White, to his wife’s dismay, decided to join the A to Z as they were heading out on vacation. 26 posts in April? No problem, especially when you have monsters on your mind. If you need a monster or two for your novel (for the AtoZ, Chris featured 26 under-represented world monsters) hop on over to Chris’ place and snag a couple. Today’s monster, Kakotomirai (May 6), was an easy take-down. But wait, here comes Kakotomirai’s mom! Revenge! You’ll enjoy this blog.

9. Damyanti, Daily (w)rite: A Daily Ritual of Writing

Self-described “compulsive lurker” (always reading blog posts but never commenting), Damyanti changed her ways and discovered the community of bloggers when she started commenting on posts. She is a free-lance writer and an encourager of writers. See her A to Z Reflections post and you will see what I mean. I especially enjoyed her How Do You Make Blogging Friends post from February.

10. Chuck Douros, runwritedig: Run Hard. Dig Deep. Tell the World.

This blog combines three worlds: runners, writers, and gardeners. For the A to Z, Chuck focused on garden pests, common problems, and ridiculous garden myths. For a rusty green thumb-er like me, Chuck’s advice is both usable and valuable. Here’s his post on yellow jackets. It might be helpful for your family this summer.

Click here to see reflections of other A to Zers who have survived the drill of writing 26 posts in 30 days. It is an accomplishment to be noted!

Thanks to all the A to Z organizers for this exceptional annual challenge.  See you in 2015.

A to Z Team [2014]

Arlee Bird: Tossing it Out
Alex J. Cavanaugh: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Stephen Tremp: Author Stephen Tremp
Tina Downey:Life is Good
Damyanti Biswas: Amlokiblogs
Jeremy Hawkins: [Being Retro]
Nicole Ayers: The Madlab Post
M. J. Joachim: M. J. Joachim’s Writing Tips
Heather M. Gardner: The Waiting is the Hardest Part
AJ Lauer: Naturally Sweet
Pam Margolis: An Unconventional Librarian

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

#AtoZ, 2014: Z is for Zero the Hero in a Repeat Performance

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

*Drum roll* *Bugles* *Wild applause* Ta dah: Introducing Zero the Hero.

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Zero the Hero is a favorite character in kindergarten classes even though he is a bit mysterious and doesn’t like to show himself. He sneaks into classrooms on the eves of the 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th days of school and leaves poems, cartoons, games, arts and crafts projects (related to  himself, of course), and even some treats. Like Santa Claus, though, he does finally appear: on Day 100 in full Zero the Hero regalia bringing even more sweet treats and number projects.

Zero teaches the children about counting to 100, counting by tens, and using zeros as place holders. He adds to the fun of kindergarten and builds student interest in numbers and math.

I wrote about Zero once before when I had reached my 200th post: Zero the Hero Helps Celebrate My 200th Post. (Now I am at post #332.)

Here he is again:

Zeros can be fun, but they can also be tricky. Sometimes they don’t like to follow rules.

Zero: noun, adjective, or verb?

First of all, sometimes zeros pretend to nouns, and at other times they pretend to be adjectives or verbs. It all seems to depend on their mood and what they ate for breakfast. (Donuts=good day. Plain old oatmeal=bad day. That’s how you operate, too, isn’t it? Admit it.)

Zero as a noun:  zero, zeros* (plural)

Although plural nouns that end in o usually have the -es ending, zero doesn’t follow this rule.  *Zeros is Webster’s preferred spelling for more than one zero,  but Webster does accept zeroes as the inferior second cousin: okay to use if you really must. (Webster rolls his eyes when you do spell the plural noun as zeroes.)

Is zero a number?
The prospect of Garfunkel getting a job paying $1 million is zero.
The score of the Phillies vs. the Dodgers was zero to zer0.

Zero can combine with other nouns to make compound nouns.

zero gravity
zero hour
zero population growth

Zero as a verb:  zero, zeroes*, zeroed, zeroing.
Compound verb: zero in, zero in on, zero out

(Aha. See how quirky this Zero fellow is. When Zero is a noun, he doesn’t want the -es ending, but when he a verb, he does. Go figure.)

The CEO zeroes in on every item in the budget.
Every month my teenager zeroes out his allowance.
My English teacher zeroes in on every spelling and grammar mistake that I make.

Zero as an adjective:

When zero combines with another word to form an adjective, use a hyphen before the noun.

The company promises a zero-defect product.
The weather man reported zero-zero conditions: zero visibility and zero ceiling
Zero-based budgeting requires that budget makers to justify every expenditure they make.
The CEO zeroes in on every item in the zero-based budget.

Zeros and hyphens: look it up.

Some compound words with zero use a hyphen, while others do not.  To be safe on which is which, check your dictionary.

So, zeros break the rules, but they are handy fellows to have around. Anyway, the more zeros after the other big numbers on my paycheck, the better I like them!

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And now how about Zero-based Thinking?  Read this article for writers by Matthew Eaton, posted on C.S. Lakin’s blog, Live. Write. Thrive.   You’ll find some good advice on what to do with those unpublished manuscripts stashed in drawers, hidden from all eyes. There is hope!

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

#AtoZ, 2014: Y is for Yadda, Yadda, Yadda and Yakety Yak.

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

And the beat goes on… Y day in the #AtoZ. Yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s all been said before.

Yadda, yadda, yadda as a term doesn’t make it into print resources like the American Heritage Dictionary or Garner’s Modern American Usage, but you can find it on the Internet in the Urban Dictionary  and English Daily:

A phrase that means “and so forth” or “on and on;” it usually refers to something that is a minor detail or boring and repetitive. English Daily

When telling about a happening in your life, you might not want to give all the details because that would make your story too long and too boring. Instead, substitute “yadda, yadda, yadda” for the boring and repetitive parts and get to the most important, more interesting parts.

Although the phrase yadda, yadda, yadda was coined by Lenny Bruce in the 1960, Seinfeld later made this phrase popular in this clip: Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Synonyms for yadda, yadda, yadda:

yakety yak  The Coasters sang this popular song, Yakety Yak, when I was in high school college a while ago.

et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Yul Brynner, in the popular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I, tells Deborah Kerr this:

When I sit, you sit.
When I kneel, you kneel.
Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

The Last Meow

yadda cat 2 cheezburger.c omyadda cat  Cheezburgr

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

Here’s another Y post for you (2013)   Y is for…Your, You’re, Y’all, Ya’ll, Yall, You All, You Guys, and Yakety-Yak

 

#AtoZ, 2014: V is for Verb-less Sentences

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

FR, Frag. Fragment, INC, Incomplete.logo 2.2

Remember sitting in English class in high school and the teacher returning your essay all marked up in red, with FR, INC, AWK, WW written in the margins? As a teacher, I wrote these symbols on student papers myself, and later when I worked for an editor of a small journal, he used these symbols on draft manuscripts submitted for publication.

(Okay, I laugh when I see AWK,  the symbol for an awkward sentence, because it conjures up this image in my demented imagination: a brightly colored parrot swinging on its perch in my office and yelling, “AWK, AWK, AWK.”)

Teachers follow the rules. Whether short or long, sentences must have two parts: a subject and a predicate. Writing gurus still argue about the definition of “sentence” (see Garner’s Modern American Usage, “Incomplete Sentences,”  for a discussion on this topic), but the most-commonly accepted definition of a sentence is similar to Webster’s: A sentence is…

a.  a word or group of words stating, asking, commanding, or exclaiming something;
b.  conventional unit of connected speech or writing, usually containing a subject and predicate;
c.  in writing, a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with an end mark: period, question mark exclamation mark, etc.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of course, not everyone agrees on the need to use complete sentences all the time. Bill Walsh, well-known commentator on writing and author of Lapsing into a Comma (2000) makes this comment about sentence fragments:

Only the most tin-eared, fuddy-duddy excuses for copy editors routinely convert every single fragment they see into a complete sentence.

Generally, teachers hold to the subject/predicate definition of sentences and hold students to it for good reason: student writing maturity hasn’t develop enough to know when and how to use fragments effectively.

But anyone who does a lot of reading soon discovers that writers use sentence fragments in their writing. Of course, they use fragments, not by accident as immature writers might, but deliberately to create impact.

Israeli writer Shammai Golan uses short, choppy sentences and fragments to convey the fear, shock, and disbelief of this mortally wounded young soldier

The Uzi’s a good weapon. Effective. For defense. For attack. In face-to-face-fighting. But today’s Friday. And SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESthere’s peace at the borders. And I’m only on watch over their road. They fired. Suddenly. Why’d they fire, suddenly? In war one fires. People get wounded. Killed. In the War of Independence. . . .

I’m breathing. With difficulty though. That’s because of the blood. I’m all wet. Maybe it suddenly rained. Sometimes it rains in September. Even before Yom Kippur. And I’m already damp. And flowing. All is flowing. And all is vanity. And you can never enter the same river twice. The Philosopher teacher. A great sage. . . .

And the leaves fall over my body.  Soft. Purple. Like the water under my belly. Soft. Warm. How long can one flow like this. An hour. Two. Three. . . .

—Shammai Golan, “Ten Centimeters of Dust” in Children of Israel, Children of Palestine: Our Own True Stories (Holliday, 1998

Golan stream of consciousness writing style effectively portrays the desperateness of this soldier’s situation. It is an example of how the mind might be thinking in this particular situation. Definitely not in complete sentences.

So, yes, there are rules for writing complete sentences, but good writers ignore these rules at times in order to develop their own style.

Verb-less and noun-less sentences (incomplete sentences) have other reasons for being, but most often they add bits and pieces of information to a previous sentence. Almost as an afterthought.

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Miss Alister, of The Essence of a Thing, writes effective incomplete sentences reflecting an active mind thinking in true, not-always-linear fashion: The deciphering of V. The V Paragraph: Vernacular, 4/24/14.

Here’s more on kernel sentences from yours truly:

Janice Heck: K is for Kernel Sentences. Nouns and verbs control the world. 04/12/2013 (2013 AtoZ)

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Your Turn: How do you use sentence fragments in your writing? Got an example?

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

 

 

 

 

 

#AtoZ, 2014: U is for Unfinished, Underdeveloped, Unprintable Posts

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

When I started my blog in January of 2012, I worried that I would not have enough ideas to keep a blog going. Turns out, I have too many ideas. As ideas pop in my head at random moments, I try to make note of them by starting a new post with a half-baked title and a few notes tossed in the body of the post. Sometimes I go back and work on a particular post, but sometimes it stays in that skeleton form for a while.

I started yesterday’s post about Twitter Followers quite a few months ago, but the #AtoZ Challenge prompted me to finish it for “T” day.

WordPress says that I have published 321 posts, but I have another 313 drafts percolating in the queue.

Now come the hard days in the #AtoZ Challenge: V, W, X, Y, and Z.

What writing quirks will I come up for those letters? Hmmm. Maybe I will have to scout my Garners’ Modern American Usage. I should be able to find some juicy tidbits there.

But first, I’ll scroll through those 313 unfinished, underdeveloped, and unprintable posts that I haven’t looked at in a while. Maybe I’ll find some other treasures there.

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Wish me luck.

Your Turn: How many unfinished blog posts do you have waiting in the queue?

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

 

#AtoZ, 2014: Totally Twitter: Follow, Autofollow, or Not

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910 Who’s on your list of Twitter Followers? Look carefully and you might find a few surprises (shocks?):

Twitter Fight

Twitter Fight

a porno queen or two
a foul-mouthed jock
a beggar (asking you to follow, pleeeeease)
a person boasting about how many followers they can get for you
people with very strange names
a person who may be calling you or your mother names in another language
other surprises.

I like Twitter, but the speed of its message flow disrupts idea continuity. Still I check Twitter fairly regularly, and I always find something interesting or funny. Kristen Lamb is one of my favorites. She gives lots of advice on writing, blogging, and jumping into the social network. She always has something amusing to say.

Lamb_2011_1__biggerKristen Lamb@KristenLambTX Apr 14
Been working since 7 this morning. Can I have back all those naps I didn’t want when I was a kid?       Best-Selling Author. Social Media Jedi. Newest best-selling book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World.

But given the fun, Twitter does have it annoyances: love-hate relationships with followers, for one. I have found it necessary to develop my own guidelines for accepting followers. (Yes, that sounds snobbish. Others may have their own personal guidelines.)

Here are a few guidelines I use for managing my own wannabe followers:

1.  I do not use an autofollow program.

Early on in my Twitter lifetime, I tried out an autofollow program, that is, until I realized there are some Twits that I absolutely do not want in my followers list. Since that time, I look at each new follower to see if I want to follow them back or not. This takes only a few minutes every few days. I like to know who follows me, not how high my follower number gets.

2. I choose those I want to have as followers.

I follow those people who have somewhat related interests: reading, writing, blogging, publishing, education, travel, religion, child safety and welfare, food, technology, and perhaps some organizations and businesses related to these topics. Of course, I follow family and friends. You find out some interesting things that way! Most often, but not always, those with the similar interests follow back.

I like inspiring quotes, so I follow Denny Coates along with 24.7K followers. Alas, he doesn’t follow me back. Oh well.

coatesDenny Coates@DennyCoates 5m
 “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

3.  Every few days, I check my list of followers to see who they are.

I do this by looking at the following three words on my Twitter homepage:

Tweets                Following                  Followers

Followers: Click on Followers and a list of your followers and wannabe followers comes up.

Wannabe followers (waiting to be approved) have a white box.
Click on the new followers’ names and see if they are fairly active tweeters. A very low number of tweets may mean this is a new Tweeter. If this person has similar interests, I usually follow back. People who use faceless avatars and have only a few tweets may be nameless persona who fish for people using automatic follow-back programs. These clickers really are only after numbers, not friends. I automatically skip over this second group of tweeters.

Click on the white box so the wanabees of your choice can forever be your devoted followers (BFF).
Or leave the white boxes alone if you don’t want to follow back.

I do not follow:

1. Empty heads (avatars). I do click on these to see if more information is available about them, but generally I do not follow, andimagesTWC4023L avatar after a few days or weeks, I find they disappear from my follower list. (Qwitter tells me when I lose followers, but I don’t worry about that because these qwitters are probably the empty-headed avatars.)

2. People who do not have bios. I like to read the brief bios that Tweeters put out, and I generally follow anyone who has put a little thought into their teaser. Ten words or so is not much, but you can say a lot about yourself in those limited characters.

3. Beggars. “Follow me, and I will follow you back. Pleeeeeese.”  Sorry.

4. Language abusers and foul language. Using the word that got Paula Deen in trouble (and other words of the same ilk) is also a no-no for me. It’s disrespectful. Really, we have all heard all these words before. They do not impress. Give it a rest.

5. Erotic language, suggestive language, or bare-chested (male or female) poses. Not necessary.

6. Tweeters with unusual names who offer followers: Astuty Astika? Menda Wahyungtas?  Dinda?  Wai Routt? Anggun? Solikha?  Really? These names sound phony to me. (Honest, I did not make these examples up.) Click on their names, and you will usually see only a few tweets. Of course, they do have followers: those people who use autofollow to build up their numbers. These Twits love to count their “Gotchas.” A few of them do have lots of followers, but do you really want to have an infusion of people who have no common interests?

Of course, some of those with phony-sounding names may have something going for them. Some can have hilarious, off-the-cuff commentary.

Barracks O’Bama     ‏@P0TUS19h       BREAKING SCANDAL–Fox News: Photos prove that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were masticating together.

Alas, on my latest check, Barracks O’Bama seems to have gotten lost in the dust of all those others with spelling variations of Barack Obama. (By the way, can you spell our President’s name?)

7. Tweeters who promise thousands of followers for $. Nope. Watch and you will see that these follower promises crop up in batches. Five or six unusual names, no bios, no picture.  Click on their names, and you see that they have only a few followers themselves and have only put out a few tweets. If they can promise you followers, why don’t they have all that many followers themselves? Don’t click on the URL they give out.

8. Tweeters who tweet in another language. Sorry, If I can’t interpret what you say, I don’t follow. And you probably can’t read what I say either. I do follow a few French or Spanish Tweeters. It gives me practice in reading those languages that I studied many years a little while ago in high school. Most of those who tweet in another language are probably pretty nice people, but how can I tell if I can’t read what they write? Better to just leave these alone.

9. Tweeters who go by one name. Really, if you are Hillary (followers: 1.99m, following: 9, Tweets: 94) or a Monica copycat (followers: 952, following: 171, Tweets: 419K) you can get away with that. Even Justin Bieber uses both names. Of course, made-up names are okay. Just use the same cautions when following. I like the comments by

10. Tweeters (and Facebookers, for that matter) who ONLY tweet their new book repeatedly. That alone will keep the Tweeter off my follower list AND my BUY list. I admit that I do tweet about my WordPress posts, but I usually do that only a time or two for each post.

Even with fairly careful adherence to these personal follow guidelines, I get surprises in my follower list. No problem. I can remove them.

Twitter Limits

Now how about when you add people to follow, and Twitter interrupts and announces that you have reached your limit? What is that secret limit? How can you follow more people when you get to this stopping point.

After the first thousand or so followers, Twitter allows you to follow about 10% more people than follow you. So what do you do? Some people will never follow you. They just won’t. Take Dennis Coates, mentioned above. He has a following of 24.K Tweeters,  yet he follows only 8,841 people. He will likely not follow you or me. Still, I like his positive attitude and his quotes, so I will continue to follow him until he discovers what he is missing by not following me back.

At this point, in order to add followers, you must first delete people on your follow list who do not follow you back. (You will find some big-timers who do manage to get around that Twitter count practice.)

ManageFlitter will give you a list of your non-followers in the order from when you joined Twitter, and with a few clicks, you can delete those non-followers either en masse or one by one. Generally, when you invite someone to follow you, they follow you in a relatively short time or not at all.

Of course, I follow some people who will never follow me, because I want to hear what they have to say.

Here’s what a few other bloggers have to say about Twitter:

Cynthia Hartwig, “How Susan Orlean Built a Posse of 260,000+ Twitter Followers,” August 21, 2013.
Terry Whalin   “How to Improve Your Twitter Followers,” June 28, 2013.
Bridget Whelan, “8 Reasons Why a Writer Should Join Twitter on the Shortest Day of the Year”
Janice Heck, “They Laughed When I Sat Down to Twitter
Janice Heck, “Twitter Bio in Ten Words”
Two Writing Teachers, “Connecting with Other Writers,” 4/12/2014
Anita Ferreri, Sharing TCRWP: Getting Started With Twitter, 4/12/2012
TCRWP: Getting Started with Twitter

Here’s one more…about unfollowing a blog…

Don Charisma, “Please unfollow my blog”

A note from Twitter: https://support.twitter.com/articles/66885-i-can-t-follow-people-follow-limits#

The Last Meow
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

 

#AtoZ, 2014: R is for Resent or Re-sent? Hyphen Hysterics

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Using prefixes incorrectlycan get you into proverbial hot water.

I recently tweeted this note to my daughter:

I resent your birthday card. It came back to me because I put your old address on the envelope.logo 2.2

Hmmm. That could have caused a bit of trouble. If you read the tweet quickly, it would say,

I resent your birthday…

This message is not only un-clear, but quite possibly problematic.

Just in time, in marches the hyphen-with-prefixes rule to rescue me from this dilemma. Phew! My relationship with my daughter is saved!

What’s the rule?

In general, do not use hyphens on words with prefixes. Attach the syllable re- to almost any verb and you have a perfectly good  new word.

reconsider, redevelop, refresh, refund rejoin, renominate, repay, replace, replay,  restart, recline, reduce, restore, retake, and many more

Well, that was no help. How do I fix this problem before my daughter gets a bad case of hurt feelings?

Oh, there’s an exception? Why does that not surprise me?

Prefixes change the meaning of the root word. The root words carries the meaning; the prefix modifies the meaning. To avoid misunderstanding, in cases where the prefix changes the meaning of the word you intend, use a hyphen.

Examples of pairs of words with the re- prefix that might cause confusion

resent= to be angry, offended, or bitterly hurt by a comment or action by another
re-sent= to send again

really = actual fact or opinion.
re-ally = ally- to join or unite for a specific purpose; re-ally- to join or unite again for a specific purpose

recoil = to spring back, a reaction after shooting a gun
re-coil = to re-coil the hose again

recollect = to remember
re-collect = to gather or collect again

recover = to recover from sickness, get better
re-cover = to cover again

redress = to rectify or set right
re-dress = to dress again

reform = to reform or change your behavior
re-form = to shape again

repair = to fix
re-pair = to form into group of two again

release = release the dog from its lease
re-lease = re lease a car or apartment again

repress = to hide one’s emotions
re-press = to iron the shirt again

research = to search for information on a topic
re-search = to search again for the missing check

resign =  to quit or give up a position
re-sign = to sign a contract

resolve  = to reach a decision in order to end a problem
re-solve = to solve the problem again

resort = a place to go on vacation
re-sort = to divide items into groups again

restrain = to restrain the violent person
re-strain = to strain the fruit juice again

retreat = to pull back to safer ground
re-treat = to give another treat

The Best Rule to follow when using words with prefixes is to consult the dictionary.

Okay, I’m ready for that birthday cake and ice cream now. And we can use that proverbial hot water to make sweet tea.

Photo: sugar delicious online

Photo: sugar delicious online

***

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

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

=<^;^>=

Look for other posts on hyphens in this post: #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

 

#AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Quirky Index to the #AtoZ, 2014:  Twenty-Six Writing Quirks written specifically for the 2014 AtoZ Challenge

logo 2.2

Week 1 (April 1-5)

#AtoZ, 2014: A is for Ampersands. Right or Wrong.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
#AtoZ, 2014: B is for BBQ and Buffalo Chips
#AtoZ, 2014: C is for Calendar Quirks
#AtoZ, 2014: D is for Deep-Fried Hyphens
#AtoZ, 2014: E is for Exclamations from High School

 

Week 2 (April 7-12)

#AtoZ, 2014: F is for Freshly Squeezed Adverbspub izzes..2
#AtoZ, 2014: G is for Gobs of Hyphens Used Correctly
#AtoZ, 2014: Hyperventilating on Hyphens
#AtoZ, 2014: I iz for Iz-zies, Ar-zies, Waz-zies, & Wer-zies
#AtoZ, 2014: J is for Jarfuls of Jam: Another Quirk?
#AtoZ, 2014: K is for Knights-Errant, Kit and Caboodle, and Kitty-cornered

photo credit: writerscafe.org

photo credit: writerscafe.org

 Week 3 (April 14-19)

Granddaughter Madelynn is equally loose-limbed, loose-jointed, and talented. Amazing granddaughters!

Granddaughter Madelynn

#AtoZ, 2014: L is for Lose and Loose, Loosey-goosey, and LOL
#AtoZ, 2014: M is for Mahjong, Majiang, Mah-jongg, Mahjongg, or Mah jongg
#AtoZ, 2014: N is for Neither–Nor, but not Humpty Dumpty
#AtoZ, 2014: Oh, On Top (Weekly Photo Challenge) and O Writing Posts
#AtoZ, 2014: P is for Photo Blog and On Top Again
#AtoZ, 2014: Q is for Quirk Index and Q Round-Up

Week 4 What’s next? (April 21-26)

#AtoZ, 2014: R is for Resent or Re-sent? Hyphen Hysterics
#AtoZ, 2014, S is for #Cee’s Photo: S is for Shadows… and Shakespeare Sayings
#AtoZ, 2014: S is for From Cee’s to Shiny Cee’s
#AtoZ, 2014: T is for Totally Twitter: Follow, Autofollow, or Not
#AtoZ, 2014: U is for Unfinished, Underdeveloped, Unprintable Posts
#AtoZ, 2014: V is for Verb-less Sentences
#AtoZ, 2014: W is for Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

Week 5  (April 28-30)

#AtoZ, 2014: X is for X. Is It Better to Be Safe Or Sorry
#AtoZ, 2014: Y is for Yadda, Yadda, Yadda and Yakety-yak
#AtoZ, 2014: Z is for Zero the Hero in a Repeat Performance

May A to Z Wrap-up Posts

1. #AtoZ, 2014: Bonus Wrap-up: Writers I Met on the AtoZ Highway
2.
#AtoZ Wrap-Up Post 2: A to Z Reflections and Five More Writers
Q Posts from other bloggers:

Eclectic Odds n Sods: Quirky A-Z: Vintage & Emotions
Hanna Plummer, Q is for Quote
Terribly Write: Guess what’s not a question
Basil Rene, Life as an Anomaly: Quietly Question Everything
MJ Wright: Writing only looks easy. But it can be learned.

***

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

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

=<^;^>=

#AtoZ: N is for Neither–Nor, but not Humpty Dumpty

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

What do the following people and one organization have in common? logo 2.2

Humpty Dumpty
Shakespeare
the biblical writer Paul
Benjamin Franklin
Jack London
United States Postal Service

Give up? They all have a fondness for using the neither–nor construction in their writing.

The neither–nor construction looks like this:

Neither Humpty Dumpty nor Jack London live in Florida.

Neither–nor can be an effective construction in writing, but watch out for a few writing quirks that go with it. I’ll point these near the end of the post. But first, let’s check in with Humpty Dumpty and see what he has to say.

Humpty Dumpty

Illustration by John Tenniel from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Illustration by John Tenniel from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

In Through the Looking-Glass (Lewis Carroll, 1871), Humpty Dumpty and Alice have a “nice knock-down argument” about “unbirthdays” and about what the word “glory”  means. When Alice challenges Humpty on his definition of glory, Humpty says this:

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”

Humpty does seem rather brash and dogmatic, but I kinda like his idea of unbirthdays. More unbirthdays, more presents!

Shakespeare

Shakespeare uses several neither–nor constructions in his works. In Hamlet, He says this:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend…”

I originally thought this was a biblical injunction and was surprised to see that the quote actually came from Shakespeare.

 Benjamin Franklin

The old man with a key on a kite in the middle of a thunder and lightning storm had a lot to say about life. You can find many of his witticisms and proverbs in his annual Almanacs. Here’s a sample:

Be neither silly, nor cunning, but wise. Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1734.

Jack London, The Call of the Wild

When I was a teacher, I loved reading the Call of the Wild with my students. London’s flow of language is superb; you can find good classic sentences throughout his writing.  In 1897, thieves steal Buck, a spoiled and sheltered family dog, half St. Bernard and half Scotch shepherd, from his homestead in California and ship him, drugged into a stupor, to Seattle. There a “man in a red sweater” unmercilessly beats Buck into submission in preparation for being trained as a sled dog for mushers seeking their fortune in the seductive Yukon gold. These few sentences describe a bit of the incredibly harsh life Buck has the misfortune to fall into.

Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment’s safety. All was confusion and action, and every moment life and limb were in peril. There was imperative need to be constantly alert, for these dogs and men were not town dogs and men. They were savages, all of them, who knew no law but the law of club and fang.” Chapter 2, The Call of the Wild

London used the construction, neither–nor–nor. Bryan Garner in Garner’s Modern American Usage (2009), calls the use of multiple nors in sentences “unfastidious constructions.” He suggests that it is incorrect to use neither–nor with only two elements. With three elements, the sentence should read like this: “They considered neither x, y, nor z.” But we do see examples with multiple nors used nicely by various writers. Good writers know when to break the rules.

United States Post Office, Neither–nor–nor–nor

You have probably heard this quote a number of times. It is from an inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City .

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Paul, the Biblical Writer

Paul uses neither and multiple nors in his belief statement:

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39, King James Version

This is a powerful statement of the depth of his beliefs. The multiple nors make this an emphatic statement.

Quirks with neither–nor. Watch out!

1.  Verb Agreement: the second item determines the verb structure.

Use a singular verb when the items in the list are singular, and also when the first item is plural but the second item is singular.

Neither the cat nor the dog sleeps on my bed.
Neither the cats nor the dog sleeps on my bed.

Use a plural verb when both items are plural, and when the first item is singular but the second item is plural.

Neither the cats nor the dogs sleep on my bed.
Neither the cat nor the dogs sleep on my bed.

Occasionally, a sentence construction may sound awkward using these rules. If so, try reversing the order of the items.

2. Parallel Structure

Parallel structure means keeping both items named in the neither-nor construction from the same part of speech. This can get quirky in longer sentences.

nouns:  Neither the cat nor the dog sleeps on my bed.
pronouns: Neither You nor I can complain.
adjectives:  Be neither silly nor cunning.
verbs: I will neither call you nor speak to you anymore.
adverbs: …neither more nor less
gerunds: Neither crying nor pouting will get you more birthday presents.

This applies to phrases as well.

Neither calling me names nor yelling at me will make me change my mind.

3. Sentence beginning. You may use neither as the first word in a sentence.

Neither the cat nor the dog sleeps on my bed.

4. Use the correct subject pronoun with neither-nor. Subject pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they.

Neither he nor I was willing to take the risk of getting caught by the police.
Neither she nor I have good singing voices.
Neither she nor he wants to eat lunch now.
Neither we nor they are going to the party.
Neither you nor they have enough money for pizza.

5. Neither-or (no n) is an incorrect construction. Do not use it. Look for the either–or construction in a future post.

***

Now here’s a clever example from my husband.

Neither the Dallas Cowboys nor the Cleveland Indians will win the coveted Stanley Cup; however, the Philadelphia Flyers have a good chance of winning it.

Any sports fan will know the absurdity of this comparison. The Dallas Cowboys play football, the Cleveland Indians play baseball, and the Philadelphia Flyers play hockey. Only the Flyers, a hockey team, have the potential to win the Stanley Cup, the ultimate prize in hockey.

Still, I appreciate his helpful suggestions.

***

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

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and 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.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

=<^;^>=

 

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