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

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. A compound is a word marriage. It’s the name grammarians give to two or more words stuck together by a hyphen. Examples are “risk-taking daredevil,” “happy-go-lucky girl,” and “rain-streaked window” …

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