Grammar and Style at Your Fingertips
The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. —Mark Twain Words are the foundation of everything. All societies (civilized and otherwise), relationships, and actions begin with words—whether thought, spoken, or writ- ten. Words and their considered and selective use are the keys to conveying and comprehending all manner of ideas, plans, hopes, and desires. Words are my business and a personal passion.
As senior managing editor for the Berkley Publishing Group, it is important for me to know how to use words and punctuation both correctly and to greatest effect. These are not always one and the same. When I am working with the words of The New York Times bestselling authors such as Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, or Patricia Cornwell, it is imperative that I get it right. The same is true when I review the copy that will be used on a book’s cover. Hundreds of thousands of people purchase the novels and self-help, inspirational, and historical titles I work on each year. I must get it right.
Grammar and Style at Your Fingertips PDF
Here’s the rub: Although I’m a good speller, I’m not a great speller. In my seventh-grade spelling bee, I only made it to third place. I was done in by the word illustration. Many would say it is important to know one’s strengths—I say it is more important to know the weaknesses and to use them as opportunities for growth. I learned from early spelling mistakes and now make quick use of all manner of reference books—I keep online, CD, and hardback copies of Merriam- Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, close at hand both at work and at home. I use them every day. If you’re like me, the correct application of grammar and punctuation rules might come rather naturally.
Perhaps for you, as for me, the flipside of such a lucky coin has been that it hasn’t always been easy to explain the “how” of it to others. I liken my abilities with word usage and style to my driving skills: I always get where I am going, but I rarely