by Shirley Holder Platt
As a writer, do you struggle with grammar and spelling? I admit, spelling isn’t as big a deal now—especially with the advent of auto-correct—as it was back in the day of typewriters, with the incessant need for white-out. But for fiction and non-fiction books alike, it’s still a thing.
As a reader, I often notice the misuse of there, their, and they’re. This always jumps out at me and jars me out of a story. So if you’re not sure, here’s the rule:
Use there for location.
Use their to show possession.
Use they’re instead of “they are.”
Example: They’re over there getting their photos taken.
Which brings us to you’re vs. your.
Rule: Only use you’re when you mean “you are.” If you’re not sure which to use, replace “you’re” with “you are”; if your sentence still makes sense, you’re on the right track. It’s simple, right?
Oh, don’t get me started on its vs. it’s!
Okay, I’m already started . . . .
The rule? Here you go:
Use its when you need a possessive pronoun—like “hers” or “his,” except for a non-human.
Example: The dog offered its paw for a friendly shake.
Use it’s instead of “it is” or “it has.”
Example: It’s been a long time since the dog had its bath.
And what about that ellipsis I used earlier? For some reason, I enjoy using those three dots. Need a rule for that?
Use an ellipsis (shown as three dots with a space before and after each) when omitting text. In the case of the sentence I used above, the omitted word or words must be implied by the reader. I may have meant to say, “Okay, I’m already started, so it’s too late for that,” or maybe I meant, “I’m already started and might as well finish the thought.”
What about at the end of a sentence? According to Daily Writing Tips, use the three dots and add a period after, so four dots.
Now, I will admit, the four dots seem strange to me, and I’m not sure what Daily Writing Tips would say about using an ellipsis to show someone’s speech being interrupted. I use three myself.
Want one more? Where does the punctuation go when using parentheses?
Here’s the rule:
If the entire sentence is parenthetical, put the period inside. (Here’s an example of that.)
If only part of the sentence is in parentheses, put the punctuation outside (like a comma or semicolon).
Now you know!
Shirley Holder Platt is the author of five romance novels and one chick lit novel. Her book-in-progress, Mama Needs New Shoes, won the October 2018 Most Buzz Award, and several of her now-published novels appeared first on ChapterBuzz.
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