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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quick! It's an adjective. "Grammar" or "Grammatical.?"

When I was doing the final edit for the second edition of my The Frugal Editor (the e-book), I received some input suggesting I should use the adjective grammatical rather than the noun grammar when it was being used as an adjective. Makes sense.
Nevertheless, I decided to check with my grammar guru June Casagrande without telling her my preference for grammar. (I liked it better because it sounded less forced). Here’s what she said:

Just my opinion: ‘grammatical mistakes’ seems to call more attention to itself than ‘grammar mistakes.’ And because ‘grammar mistakes’ is no more vulnerable to criticism than ‘paint store’ or ‘vacation day,’ I think ‘grammar mistakes’ would be my preference.”
This little anecdote illustrates how flexible our language is. It also illustrates the difference between grammar rules and style choices. I think it should also serve as a warning that we should be very careful when we criticize someone else’s editing choices. This difference between grammar rules and editing and style choices is one of the rarely discussed things that my The Frugal Editor helps you with.
You may want to learn more about June--maybe even buy some of her books along with mine so you won't have to pay for shipping on Amazon. She is the author of the brand new Best Punctuation Book. Period.

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 (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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