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

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 (all minus a required hyphen).

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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 submersed in hot oil and fried). Therefore the multi-word adjective should have a hyphen: you need both deep and fried together to describe this yucky incredible treat.

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

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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.

A to Z Challenge 2014: A is for Ampersands. Right or Wrong?

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

A to Z Challenge: Oh Heck! Quirky Errors in Writing

ampersand 2

Pretty, aren’t they? Ampersands can be artsy and fanciful depending on the fonts you use and the purpose you have in mind.

But beauty aside, how useful are they? And why do I call the use of ampersands  a quirky error in writing?

Ampersands are twisty little symbols that look somewhat like the salty pretzels (Auntie Annie’s Ampersands?) that you buy at the mall.

The ampersand is shorthand for the word “and.” Blame this funny little symbol on the Roman scribes of the first century AD who chiseled lofty inscriptions on their blocks of marble, joining two letters to save a bit of room on their fine craftmanship. After all, you wouldn’t want to shortchange an emperor would you? The consequences could be deadly!

Despite its noble and historic beginnings, the ampersand  has persisted through the centuries to modern times even though we rarely write on marble these days.

Today the ampersand has its friends and foes, each arguing eloquently for why or why it shouldn’t be used in writing. That little mark has blogs, books, and websites dedicated to it. Who would have guessed that this little squiggly would have such power?

Well, friends and foes of the ampersand, there are times to use the ampersand correctly and times when it should not be used at all.

Now the ampersand is fine on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest;  in thank-you notes to your mom or loaded missiles to your significant other; on attention-getting T-shirts and tattoos on your pecs and abs; and even on the doodles you draw in the margins of your notebook in your boring stimulating English class. But, please, don’t use ampersands in more formal writing of term papers, journal or newsletter articles, or fiction or non-fiction books.

Being a picky newsletter editor, I get irritated when I see the ampersand in articles repeatedly substituted for the perfectly fine “and.” Why bother to reach up and hit shift and the number 7 key to type an ampersand (&) when you could type the word and just as quickly and be done with it.

Yet, to be fair, there are times when the ampersand may be desired and even required!
1.  On book titles:
**  Marty & Me,
**  Eats, Shoots & Leaves,
**  Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers
** 
The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent the Eager, & the Doomed

And now a book whose characters are influenced by the ampersand:Sons-David Gilbert
**   & Sons,
by a novel by David Gilbert about a reclusive writer who wrote a YA novel called Ampersand. (It’s a bit tricky doing a search on a book title that begins with an ampersand! Hint: Put in the author’s name and the title.)
2. On movie titles:
**  “The Truth about Cats & Dogs”
**  “Fast and Furious”
**  “Batman & Robin”
3. On the legal name of companies:
**  AT&T,    Johnson & Johnson,   New Haven & Hartford Railroad, Ben & Jerry’s, Barnes & Noble
4. On names of clubs and institutions:
**  Texas A&M, Boys & Girls Club of America
5. On movie credits where the use of the ampersand attempts to show levels of input each scriptwriter has had in the development of the screenplay. Look for it in the credits the next time you go to the movies.
6. In bibliographies in cases where the & is part of the official title or publisher’s name (as in the examples above).
7. In trendy graphics designs. (Trend-setters can get away with almost anything. Let them have their fun!)

Hungry now? How about a nice salty pretzel ampersand? Mustard or cheese with that ampersand?

 

ampersands pretzels

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: Oh, Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error

April has been called the “cruellest month,” (T.S.Eliot) but I can’t agree with that. First of all, it is my birthday month (30 days of presents!), the month where spring actually warms up my home state (NJ), and the month where crocuses and daffodils fight the dregs of the cold winter by pushing up through the crusty ground. daffodils3   And every April a new A to Z Challenge comes along. atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910 Being a person who can never pass up a good challenge, I have awakened my blog from its winter doldrums to announce my participation in the 2014 A to Z Challenge. The A to Z Challenge asks participants to write 26 posts in the month of April, one for each day of the week, Sundays off. The fun is in reading all the other great blog posts written by more than 1600 bloggers in this challenge.

My Theme for A to Z 2014:    Oh, Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error (WR)

I edit a bi-monthly community newsletter entitled On the Horizon, the official newsletter of Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, New Jersey, a 55+ community. While On the Horizon is just a little community rag, the newsletter committee endeavors to produce an error-free publication. Errors, however, being as devilish as they are, occasionally creep into our pages while we are not looking. Even so, we manage to trash the most egregious ones before the newsletter goes to press. I will pick on some of these quirky errors for this blog challenge.

My first blog post for the 2014 A to Z will be “A is for Ampersands. Right or Wrong?”

Can these cute little guys cause problems in writing? You betcha.

Can these cute little guys cause problems in writing? You betcha.

Ampersands? Yes. Ampersands can be used correctly, but they also can be used incorrectly. Read my first post on April 1 to see the difference. The Last Meow As always, my kitties will sometimes fuss about me always stealing the show, so they may demand to write a post now and then. I like to humor them, so I give in once in a while. Spoiled brats! Right now they are negotiating for the letter C. I can’t imagine what they want to write about. (See a CatFurDay Commentary here for a sample of their wit.)

NO, the blog-fame does not go to my head. It's just sunny out. Okay?

NO, the blog-fame does not go to my head. It’s just sunny out. Okay? And I am NOT a spoiled brat, so there, Missy Jan!

Meow for now. =<^&^>= Sign up for 2014 A to Z Challenge here: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html

See more info on A to Z 2014 at: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html#sthash.vJ462t2y.dpuf

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