Giving Thanks — Writer/Editor Style
With Thanksgiving just around the corner — a week from today — it seems appropriate to list some of the things I’m thankful for, with a nod to my profession.
I’m thankful that:
- Blogs are so popular, because many people want to have them, but they don’t have the time or skill to write them themselves.
- Writing is more an art than a science, so there’s room for differences of opinion. For instance, some “camps” believe blogs must be 1,300 to 1,500 words — while others, including me, prefer shorter copy that’s more likely to be read.
- So many people have yet to master the use of apostrophes, something that gives me job security. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t make an it‘s/its correction. Note: it’s always is short for it is. No exceptions!
- There are so many obscure English rules, such as the one calling for no hyphens in clauses formed by an adverb ending in ly plus an adjective or participle, so overly optimistic and cleverly plotted are correct. Most people aren’t aware of this — but I am.
- Writers like to make up their own rules, which gives me a chance to correct them. For example, words like bank and company aren’t capitalized unless they’re within a proper noun — and the word government is not capitalized, even when modified by federal or state.
- English is such a complex language and many people didn’t pay attention when it was taught in school, forgot what they learned, and/or just don’t have the writing gene — thus my skills are in high demand.
One final and very important thank you to everyone who has trusted me to assist them as a writer or editor for the past 14+ years. I deeply appreciate every one of you — whether I did one small project or we have an ongoing relationship. Happy Thanksgiving!
Between or Among?
You might think between is used for two items and among for three or more — but that’s not completely accurate. Between is used when naming distinct, individual items (two, three or more) and among is used when the items are part of a group or aren’t specifically named (must be three or more).
- I can’t decide between pumpkin, apple and chocolate cream pie.
- I can’t decide among the three pie options.
Assure, Insure or Ensure?
To assure someone is to remove doubts, to ensure something is to make sure it happens and to insure something is to cover it with an insurance policy.
- I can assure you that the turkey will be great.
- I’ll ensure we eat in time to watch plenty of football.
- Is your home properly insured?