When to Hyphenate Adjectives

When to hyphenate adjectives or word combinations that act as adjectives has long caused writers confusion. As usual with grammar rules, once you hear the answer and understand the principle, hyphenating compounds turns out to be pretty easy. Hyphens Make Word Marriages A compound is a word marriage. It’s the name grammarians give to two or more words stuck together ... Read More

Types of Nonfiction Writing (Made Easy)

Are you trying to wrap your head around the differences between the types of nonfiction writing? Let me make that headache go away. First, there are two broad categories of nonfiction: research nonfiction and creative nonfiction. Research nonfiction is straight factual writing. Essentially, it means journalism (the kind stuff you find in the newspapers). Creative nonfiction, by contrast, is any ... Read More

When to Hyphenate Adverbs

When to hyphenate adverbs . . . it’s a question I’m sometimes asked as a book editor. The answer is, when you live in England. That sounds humorous, but actually I’m not joking. Grammar rules, you see, are different on the other side of the pond. In England they write closely-watched cards and happily-playing children, while in America, we write ... Read More

Nonfiction Authors: Three Tips to Brighten Your Writing

As a professional editor and writing coach, I find different clients making many of the same writing errors. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say these three are the most common among aspiring authors: Sentences stuffed with “clutter words” Long prepositional phrase trains Grandiose verbiage Here are some tips to help you identify and remove these from your ... Read More

The Rule of Three in a Series

Bet you didn’t know this little rule of thumb, that will make your sentences trimmer and more professional whenever you have a series of something. And the rule is (drum roll): only list three in a series! Not four, not five, not as many items as you would like to list in the sentence, but three. Three period. If you have four, ... Read More