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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh, those hateful "ings!" But look at the good they do!

I hate "ings." It's not that they're wrong. It's that I now they're going to cause me work. That's because they are indicators. (That's not a new grammatical term--or an old one as far as know. It's just a word that means what it's always meant, that they point something out to me!).

They are tell me I've used a progressive tenses that could be simplified. Or they point to passive tenses that would be better activated or of wordy dependent clauses and more.

Mind you, I didn't say I eradicate all I just use the find function in my Word program to see if I could have written crisper copy. Do the same thing with those ugly "ly" things that come on the end of adverbs.

Mmmm. Maybe I should love "ings." At least, unlike the grammar check, they do tip me off!

Have you checked out the other posts on this blog for refreshers on grammar, style choices, editing and more?

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at

1 comment:

Yvonne Perry said...

Carolyn, I'm confused by this sentence:
"They are tell me I've used a progressive tenses that could be simplified."

Do you mean to say "They are telling me" or "they tell me"?

Then, there's a disagreement using "a" with a plural noun "tenses". Shouldn't this be written "used a progressive tense" or "used progressive tenses"?

Also, did I correctly use the punctuation outside the quotation marks above?

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