Grammar Gremlins

I no longer believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, but I’m convinced that grammar gremlins visit my manuscripts during the night and insert mistakes. Seriously, how else would apostrophes change into quotation marks? Where do all of those missing words roam off to? I’m sure I wrote them into their sentences, but later when I reread the manuscript *POOF* they’re gone.

Of course, a lot of the mistakes really are my fault. Some of the finer points of grammar escape me.

Here are grammar facts I learned during the editing of Son of War, Daughter of Chaos.

Little League is capitalized.

You capitalize the name of class courses, but not subjects. So World History class is capitalized, but if you’re just talking about algebra in general, it’s not.

I will never, ever, understand when to use lay and lie in their past, present and future incarnations, so I shouldn’t even try. This is one of those times that–as the sage Al Yankovich advises– I need to hire some cunning linguist to help me distinguish what is proper English.

And in case you haven’t heard his song, Word Crimes, (I can’t remember if song titles are supposed to be in italics or are in quotation marks–but I think italics looks better) you really should listen to it.

The best benefit: You can listen to the song without visions of that horrifying Miley Cyrus performance coming to mind. Ahh, that’s much better. Thanks, Al.


  1. Tiana Smith
    August 4, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I also cannot tell whether it should be lay/lie. Usually I just pick whichever one makes Word’s squiggly line disappear…

  2. Janette Rallison
    August 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Thank goodness for the squiggly line–although maybe sometimes it doesn’t catch the mistake, or maybe it’s wrong too, because I still have copy editors changing whatever it was I chose.

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