‘Begs the Question’ or ‘Raises the Question’?

No, esteemed author friends. "Begs the question" does not mean "raises the question." What is our language coming to? I sound like a pedant, but honestly ...  the rash of "begging the questions" we're now seeing everywhere, even on news shows and in presumably "edited" books, is enough to drive a sane editor around the bend. People think it sounds ... Read More

Banish These 2 ‘Stammer Verbs’ from Your Fiction Writing

 The following article by Jessi Rita Hoffman was originally published as a guest post on www.JaneFriedman.com. (Jane Friedman is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest.) As a writer, you’ve probably heard the advice about avoiding passive voice and colorless verbs, such as is, was, went, and so on. But you may not be aware of what I call the “stammer verbs” that ... Read More

Period Inside or Outside the Quotation Marks?

Perhaps you've wondered: should you place the period inside or outside the quotation marks? Believe it or not, it depends on where you live. If you’re an American, the period always goes inside. If you live in Great Britain, the opposite is true. The same can be said for the comma, where quote marks are concerned. Are you American? Tuck ... Read More

Can a Sentence End in a Preposition?

Authors sometimes ask, “Can a sentence end in a preposition?” They were under the impression it couldn’t, yet here I am, their book editor, changing some of their sentences so the preposition appears at the end. What gives? What gives, is common sense. What wins, is natural language. Decades ago, grammarians insisted that no sentence could end with a preposition, ... Read More

Narrative Writing: Definition and Examples

In case you’re wondering what is meant by “narrative writing,” the definition is pretty simple: It’s any kind of writing that tells a story. That’s because “narrative” means story. But be a little careful: narrative writing is not the same as fiction writing! Fiction writing is just one kind of narrative writing. Storytelling certainly occurs in fiction—it is the very ... Read More