Case

Just came across an interesting tidbit in The Glamour of Grammar by Roy Peter Clark.

Have you ever wondered why capitol letters are called “upper case” and small letters are called “lower case”?

I had not actually wondered this myself, however when I found out why, it struck me as funny. According to Clark, these names were derived because typesetters used to store capitol letters in the “upper case” and small letters in the “lower case.” The end.

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(¸.•´ (¸.•* Suzanne Costigan writes middle grade and YA novels. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada with James, her children, three dogs and four five cats.

Suzanne’s first novel, Empty Cup, is an edgy contemporary young adult story about a seventeen year old girl who lives through life’s ultimate betrayal. Suzanne lives in Winnipeg, MB.

Writing Clear and Concise

Writing needs to be clear and concise. Wordiness makes for a boring read.

Consider the three following ideas and if your writing reflects any of them then I encourage you to be reflective and reduce your word count.

 1     Cut out useless introductory phrases. The following examples could all be written without the introductory phrase yet maintain the same meaning. The message is clearer as well.

At that point in time, she had missed her bus.

It seems unnecessary to point out that it is now raining.

It goes without saying that you are late for dinner.

2      Reduce wordiness in the body of a sentence by avoiding redundancy and circumlocution.

In the examples, the first word can be removed and the second word can stand alone without losing its meaning. Examples of redundancy:

 end result
grateful thanks
local resident
old adage
past history
true facts
young teenager

Circumlocution literally means “talking around”. The following examples show this type of wordiness; the word that should be used in parentheses:

 Ahead of schedule (early)
In the event that (if)
In this day and age (today)
Succumbed to injuries (died)
The reason is that (because)
Was witness to (saw)
At this point in time (now)

 3      Avoid the constructions it is and there are, as wordiness always seems to follow. For example:

It is time that heals all wounds.
Time heals all wounds.

 There are some writers who cannot help being wordy.
Some writers cannot help being wordy.

There are many persons who find writing difficult.
Many persons find writing difficult.

Avoiding wordiness is essential to our writing. However, I will also say that as I write this the thought crossed my mind that sometimes breaking the rules can create a distinct character. But tread lightly.

Source:
Hopper, Vincent F., Cedric Gale, Ronald C. Foote, and Benjamin W. Griffith. Essentials of English. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2000. Print.

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¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•* Suzanne Costigan writes middle grade and YA novels. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada with James, her children, three dogs and four cats.

Suzanne’s first novel, Empty Cup, is an edgy contemporary young adult story about a seventeen year old girl who lives through life’s ultimate betrayal. Suzanne lives in Winnipeg, MB.

The "OF" Possessive

When your subject is an inanimate object the preposition “of” is used to show possession, as objects don’t generally own anything.

For example:

piles of books   NOT book’s piles

the edge of a chisel  NOT  the chisel’s edge

However, just to add confusion to the norm… which is the norm when it comes to English… exceptions are common. Time, money and transportation often show possession:

For example:

a day’s work

a dollar’s worth

the ship’s compass

This is becoming more common in today’s times. (See what I did there!) We celebrate our book’s success and frown upon education’s failure. And of course, the razor’s edge is acceptable, but not the chisel’s edge… go figure!

Source:
Hopper, Vincent F., Cedric Gale, Ronald C. Foote, and Benjamin W. Griffith. Essentials of English. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2000. Print.

*´¨)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•* Suzanne Costigan writes middle grade and YA novels. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada with James, her children, three dogs and four cats.

Suzanne’s first novel, Empty Cup, is an edgy contemporary young adult story about a seventeen year old girl who lives through life’s ultimate betrayal. Suzanne lives in Winnipeg, MB.

Adequate/Sufficient/Enough

Today I’m providing some clarity for these three words which are commonly used in place of the other:

  • Adequate refers to the suitability of something in a particular circumstance

e.g. an adequate explanation

  • Sufficient refers to an amount that is enough to meet a need but always with an abstract concept as in a mass noun, or a plural

e.g. sufficient water, sufficient information

  • Enough, the best word for everyday purposes, modifies both count nouns and mass nouns

e.g. enough people or enough oil

Source:  Garner, Bryan A. “Good Usage Versus Common Usage.” N.p., 2011. Web. 12 July 2013. <http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/ch05/ch05_sec220.html>.

*´¨)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•* Suzanne Costigan writes middle grade and YA novels. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada with James, her children, three dogs and four cats.

Suzanne’s first novel, Empty Cup, is an edgy contemporary young adult story about a seventeen year old girl who lives through life’s ultimate betrayal. Suzanne lives in Winnipeg, MB.

Opposites: Vol 3… Irony

Irony is similar to paradox, however it implies an insult, sarcasm, or humourous moment at someone’s expense.  It’s paradox with a twist.

There are many types of irony:

Situational: What we expect to happen and what actually happens are two two different things. “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant is an example of situational irony. His main character dreams of a life of riches. She is given the opportunity to live this dream for one night thus borrows a necklace from a friend. The necklace is stolen that night, and the main character spends the rest of her life working to repay the debt. The ultimate irony comes when she discovers the necklace was a fake.

Dramatic: The audience knows the meaning of what’s happening, but the characters do not.

Socratic: Admitting one’s own ignorance ends up exposing someone else’s inconsistencies through questioning.

Verbal: Language that implies a discrepancy between two different levels of meaning. For example, a dad who is finally out of patience with picking up after his son, might say,  “Would Sir Nicholas please let me know when it pleases him to have his humble servant pick up after him?”

An author can make a point with being direct or predictable. This can even make an author memorable!

Source:

Rogers, Cindy. “Opposites Attract: From Paradox to Antithesis.” Word Magic for Writers: Your Source for Powerful Language That Enchants, Convinces, and Wins Readers. West Redding CT: Writer’s Institute Publications, 2004. N. pag. Print.

*´¨)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•* Suzanne Costigan writes middle grade and YA novels. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada with James, her children, three dogs and four cats.

Suzanne’s first novel, Empty Cup, is an edgy contemporary young adult story about a seventeen year old girl who lives through life’s ultimate betrayal. Suzanne lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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