ACE Copyediting: Free self-help writing guide and writer tips for reading, writing, and speaking better
Freelance Editing Services ACE Copyediting.com: Anytime Copyediting Expertise
HOME

BUSINESS SERVICES

AUTHOR SERVICES

AGENT AND PUBLISHER SERVICES

PERSONAL SERVICES

PRICE GUIDE

SELF-HELP WRITING 
GUIDE

QUOTE-a- QUOTE E-ZINE

SAMPLES OF
MY WORK

TESTIMONIALS

ABOUT ME

BOOK STORE
FOR WRITERS

REFERENCE LINKS FOR
WRITERS

QUOTE-A-
QUOTE E-ZINE ARCHIVES


                              FOR WRITTEN PROJECTS THAT ARE SECOND TO NONE
                      
Professional writing and editing services as close and convenient as your computer .
                              C
opyediting   Proofreading   Manuscript Evaluation   Critiques   Revisions   Writer Resources
                                     Grammar Rules   Punctuation Rules   Spelling Rules   Writing Tips   Writer Reference Links

Read it — Write it — Say it Better!   To New MaterialGo To New
 Self-help Writing Guide                                 Material                                                                                                                                                                                     

A FREE self-help writing guide for students of the English language who want to communicate more effectively.

Who will benefit from reading this self-help writing guide?

YOU   BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS, AUTHORS, STUDENTS, AGENTS, NON-PROFESSIONALS

Business professionals: you’re enjoying relative success in your chosen field, but you know you can be more effective, if you only knew how to be precise, accurate, and impressive in your written work and oral presentations.  

Refer to this site often for FREE help in copyediting your documents.   Extensive listing of reference links to research sources.     OR . . . contract for my services.

Students: you have great ideas, but you just can’t put them into words. Your teacher is picky about use of proper grammar and punctuation. You can't spell. You don't know a single spelling rule. Forget participating in class!  You're afraid to open your mouth!  

Refer to this site often for FREE help in copyediting your work and in improving your speech techniques!   Extensive listing of links to research sources. See my Quote-a-Quote site.  You can Change Your Life!

Authors:  you have written an article, a short story, or a novel and submitted it several times to various agents or editors.  You have received nothing but form rejection letters. Perhaps your material needs major editing.  

Refer to this site for FREE help in copyediting of the most common writing errors and for superb writing resources!  Extensive listing of links to research sources.  OR . . . contract for my services.

Agents: you have a publishable manuscript in your hand, but it needs major copyediting, the writer does not have the skills required by today’s publishers, and money is tight.  

Refer the writer to this site for FREE help in simple copyediting of the most common writing errors and for FREE links to superb writing sources for writers!  OR . . . contract for my services.

Publishers: an agent has just submitted a great manuscript and you want to publish it, but it needs a quick copyediting (or a substantive editing, or a proofreading) and all your in-house editors are busy. Time is of the essence.  

Refer this site to your agent for FREE help in copyediting of the most common writing errors and reference links to superb writing sources for writers!  OR . . . contract for my services.

CATEGORIES OF HELPFUL WRITING TIPS:

Click on any category for immediate help.        

THOUGHT OF THE MONTH                  BLOOPER OF THE MONTH

30-SECOND WRITING CLINIC               SPELLING SENTINEL

WORDS IN ACTION                                QUOTE OF THE MONTH

TOP TIP OF THE MONTH                      CLICHÉS

JARGON                                                     REDUNDANCIES

SPOT THE ERRORS                                 AMUSEMENT OF THE MONTH

BOOK STORE                                           REFERENCE LINKS

You might also enjoy and benefit from learning about why you may have reading and writing difficulties.  Your reasons are different from mine or your friends.  The "reasons" may be the cause of your reading and writing problems.  They have created bad habits that can be overcome with self-examination and a determination to change!  Read:

THOUGHTS TO PONDER                    REASONS FOR  DIFFICULTIES

WHAT IS YOUR REASON?                 WHAT IS YOUR BAD HABIT?           

Thoughts to Ponder           You CAN change your life!

The reasons for your reading, writing, and speaking difficulties are important.  

Because of these reasons, you may have lost interest in your work (at any level). Your reasons are different from anyone else’s, so the opinions of others aren't important and comparisons with others don’t count for much. You will find, however, that many others share similar problems.  You're not the only one with reading, writing, and speaking difficulties.  Many of us have problems and struggle with them every day.

It is important to figure out what your reasons are, because when you know them, you will know any of the following:

  • why you aren’t enjoying your career or job or schoolwork, or

  • why you aren’t getting the recognition or grades you want, or

  • why you’re afraid you won’t be promoted, or make it through high school or college, or get into the business of your choice, or

  • why you’re a well-liked leader and good student or employee, but you just can’t seem to get excited about the future, or

  • why you sometimes feel embarrassed, or afraid, or lonely, or ashamed, or defensive in school or work situations

Reasons for reading, writing, or speaking difficulties:

Are any of these yours?

  • You had to change schools too often. You got "behind" and couldn’t catch up.
  • You missed a lot of school in the first few grades, due to illness or frequent moving from location to location.
  • Your parents got a divorce and it continues to upset you.
  • One (or both) of your parents is an alcoholic, or a drug abuser, or a spouse abuser.  Or . . . one of them abused you.  A climate of fear made learning difficult and memories continue to haunt you.
  • When your feelings are hurt, you can’t study or work and the tension at home or work is unbearable.
  • You don’t get any help or encouragement at home or work.  
  • You have to work after school (or two jobs) to help support the family; you’re tired all the time.
  • You have trouble with your eyes. The words slide off the pages. You think you need glasses but don’t want to be called "four-eyes" by friends.
  • You can’t keep from daydreaming.  People have said you may have Attention Deficit Deficiency problems.  
  • You’re afraid of failure. If you work hard and still get poor grades/reviews, people will know you’re "dumb." So, you don’t try and you use "didn’t try" as an excuse.
  • Your family speaks another language at home. That makes learning good English usage harder for you (and an excuse for not attempting to learn what’s correct).
  • You have a hard time making friends; classmates/fellow workers make fun of you, so you hate school/work.
  • You don’t like the way you look or dress. People make fun of you. You feel self-conscious and can’t concentrate.
  • You don’t think you’re as smart as others and acting "dumb" gets a laugh from them!
  • You’ve hated school or your job ever since a certain teacher or manager embarrassed you in class.  Humiliation hurts.
  • You’re trying to "get even" with your parents or boss for being too strict with you, or for not buying you something you want/or giving you a raise or a promotion, or for not "paying attention" to you, or for seeming to favor a sibling or worker. Embarrassing them with poor performance is their "punishment."
  • You are smarter than everyone else you know, you’re bored, and causing trouble is "fun."
  • You’re going to inherit from your grandparents and don’t need good grades or a good job or personal goals. How you speak or write will never matter. Money talks. You’ll "get by."

WHAT IS YOUR REASON?

Bad habits can cause anxiety: 

If any of the above reasons for your writing and speaking difficulties apply to you, you may have developed a few bad habits in order to cope. Bad habits can cause unnecessary mistakes and mistakes can cause anxiety. Did you know that if you feel anxious about doing just about anything . . . you can’t do it very well? A skater will fall down more often; a pianist will miss more notes; a football player will drop the ball; a typist will make more typos; a teacher will "forget’ the correct dates or other facts; a company director will have panic attacks and his voice may quiver during presentations.  Bad reading, writing, and speaking habits can and will inhibit your ability to perform any of these activities well.

Does this sound like something you’d do?

  • You feel anxious about reading aloud in class or in a company meeting (because you can’t read as well as someone else), and you often freeze and cannot read at all.

  • You feel anxious about giving a short report in class or in a company meeting (because you feel someone might laugh or scoff your ideas or ridicule the way you speak); you mumble, so no one can hear you.

  • You feel anxious about doing your homework, or taking your next piano lesson, or volunteering to write a company brochure (because you’re afraid you’ll make mistakes), so you skip the class or "forget" your books, or make lame excuses, or suddenly become "ill" and call in sick.

What is your specific bad habit? 

Any of these?

  • I read too slowly—usually one word at a time—and lose my train of thought.

  • I can’t concentrate on what I’m reading.  I have to read and reread and reread.

  • I can’t figure out words with more than two syllables.  I usually skip them. Then, the sentence doesn’t make sense.

  • I’m too lazy to look up words I don’t know in the dictionary.  I can't figure out what all the symbols mean anyway, or what meaning of the word to choose. I’m stuck on a reading level below my grade and ability.

  • I still read aloud, one word at a time; if I read to myself, I miss the meaning.

  • I don’t understand grammar, and sentence structure doesn’t make sense.

  • I don’t understand topic sentences and how to find what’s most important in chapter sections in my science and history books.

  • I only like math and music. I do that homework first and there’s no time left for the rest.

  • I like to watch television sitcoms at night and talk on the phone with my friends.  My homework probably suffers, because I have to race through it.

  • I am a procrastinator. I wait until the last minute to do everything.

  • I’m a terrible speller. I have been ever since I learned how to read.

  • I read out loud, instead of to myself, and it takes forever to finish a page.

  • I skip words I don’t know, so lots of times the paragraphs don’t make sense.

  • I wait until the night before a test to study, and then try to cram.

  • I cheat a lot. I copy my friends’ papers on the way to school (or cohorts' documents at work).  If I’m caught, I get a zero from the teacher (or dirty looks from my cohorts). I also copy stuff from Internet sources and books from the library. I worry about plagiarism and about being prosecuted or fired . . . but not enough to stop. 

  • I figure I'm hopeless, so why bother trying to improve. 

HELP IS ON THE WAY!            

Print a copy of this self-help guide.  These suggestions can become a source-book for you, IF you are interested in changing your life and your written work and your speech for the better.  Master one grammar rule at a time and make it a game to put it to use every day for a week.  Then, tackle the next rule.  If you can learn the lyrics to a new song by your favorite singer, you can learn to speak and write better!   Try it!   No more excuses.  

  • "Unlearn" your bad reading and speaking habits!

  • Stop trusting your "ear" to hear what is grammatically correct!

  • Don’t trust the "opinion" of anyone offering advice about your difficulties.

  • Learn the rule and know what is correct and why!

  • Practice, until writing and speaking correctly becomes a good habit!

ONE MORE THING—

YOU CAN LEARN ANYTHING YOU DECIDE YOU WANT TO LEARN!

Do you want to learn how to ride a Harley? To program your VCR? To race in a triathlon? To ride a horse? To play the piano? To do the swing dance? To make 10 baskets in a row in basketball?  

Of course you do! And you will!          

GET MY POINT? When you decide you also WANT to and WILL learn how to read better, to write more effectively, and to speak with more confidence and authority, you will!

GO FOR IT!

BOOKMARK THIS SITE FOR FREQUENT REFERRAL!  .

THOUGHT OF THE MONTH

Everything you write or say has two effects:  the intended and the unintended. 

Remember that angry, belittling words are like leftover French fries. 

They taste awful the next day!

BLOOPER BRIGADE

What’s the blooper in this sentence?

"Our school has provided education to people in need of our services for 75 years." 

The school must have educated a lot of extremely ignorant people!

Correct: "Our school has provided education for 75 years, to people in need of our services."

 "For 75 years, our school has provided education to people in need of our services."

HINT: Be careful of where you place your prepositional phrases and commas! The meaning conveyed in your sentence is changed with the mere lack of a comma or misplacement of a phrase.

How would you interpret this sentence?  "Sharon told Laura that she must leave."

Who must leave?  Sharon or Laura?

Correct: Sharon told Laura, "You must leave."  

Sharon told Laura, "I must leave."

"I must leave, Laura," Sharon said.

TAKING ACTION: Make up more examples. Look for bloopers, like the ones I provided above, in newspaper articles. Make it a "game" with members of your family and with friends. Then, everyone can benefit from your new understanding of the proper placement of commas to ensure that the right meaning of the sentence is transferred to the reader.

30-SECOND WRITING CLINIC

LESSON: The use of pronoun cases. Listen to a few family members, friends, television personnel, actors, or even your boss or teacher. Many of them seem to have a problem with pronouns these days! You can learn the simple usage rules and speak correctly. Become informed. Be an example for others to imitate.  Change this shameful American trend, born of either laziness or a concern to be "politically" correct. Not speaking correctly is like having your tattered slip show beneath the hemline of a designer dress . . . or like showering and splashing on some expensive after-shave cologne, before dressing in your sweat-stained sport togs! Your image of respectability is ruined.

Do you make any of these pronoun usage errors?

Wrong:  Him and I are going to see Titanic tonight.

Wrong:  Mary invited both he and I to her birthday party.

Wrong:  Me and her are going to eat out tonight.

Wrong:  Me and John and you should take Spanish lessons.

Wrong:  Who’s going to the party tomorrow?  Myself and her.

Are you asking, "What’s wrong with that?" From this moment on, you’re going to know!

Correct:  He (or she) and I are going to see Titanic tonight

Correct:  Mary invited both him and me to her party.

Correct:  She and I are going to eat out tonight.

Correct:  You, John, and I should take Spanish lessons

Correct: Who’s going to the party tomorrow? She and I.

RULE: Pronouns have three cases: nominative (I, you, he, she, it, they),  possessive (my, your, his, her, their), and objective (me, him, her, him, us, them).

Use the nominative case when the pronoun is the subject of your sentence, and remember the rule of manners: always put the other person’s name first!

HELPFUL HINT: Use this test. Leave out the other person’s name in your sentence and then your own; you’ll get a better idea of the correct pronoun form to use. "Me is going to see Titanic tonight." "Him is going to see Titanic tonight." Obviously, both examples are incorrect!

Practice several other examples, until you understand the rule.

Susan and he will be at the party. (Susan will be at the party. He will be at the party.)

Mary invited both him and me to the party.  (Mary invited me to the party.  Mary invited him to the party!)

Russ and she are the new managers. (Russ is a new manager. She is a new manager.)

He and she are co-anchors. (He is a co-anchor. She is a co-anchor.)

Wrong:  Me and Henry will be late, as usual!

Correct:  Henry and I will be late, as usual!

TEST QUESTION:  

Would you say, "Me will be late, as usual!" or "I will be . . . ."?

LESSON:  Agreement errors: singular subjects with plural pronouns!  Listen to television and radio news and talk show personalities; listen to the text of radio and television ads; listen to teachers and neighbors and family members.  More and more, they are violating a basic rule of agreement in subjects, verbs, and pronouns.  They are choosing to do this, in the name of being "politically correct."  In the past, writers used  "his" as a generic pronoun to include both male and female.  This is no longer acceptable, but we can rewrite our sentences to be inclusive of women, without breaking grammar rules.

A national tutoring program recently had an ad that stated, "Every parent wants their child to succeed in school."  It should be, "Every parent wants his or her child to succeed in school."  The writer of the ad could have written, "Parents want their children to succeed in school," or "All parents want their children to succeed in school."  

A well-known cosmetic company had an ad for its fruit-perfumed shampoos that stated, "Everyone has their favorite . . . ."  Since men are unlikely to buy and use such perfumed products, the ad should say, "Everyone has her favorite . . . ."  Or, the ad could state, "Everyone has a favorite."   

A major food company had a long-running ad for salad dressings that stated, "Everyone has their own kind . . . ."  What should it say?

Everyone and every and each are singular subjects and must take a singular pronoun for agreement.  We expect school children to learn this and to be accountable for knowing it for exam purposes.  Why, then, do adults in advertising expose them to a daily barrage of incorrectly used sentences?  It is just as easy for writers of ads and news articles to either make subjects plural or rewrite the script.  A writer has choices!   Look up the rule, if you have trouble knowing which pronoun to use with your subject,  or change your wording to avoid the problem altogether.  Do not settle for using the incorrect pronoun, in the name of being politically correct.  Rewrite!

Wrong:  Each employee will submit their choice for an HMO by Friday.

Correct:  Each employee will submit his or her choice for an HMO by Friday.

Correct:  Employees will submit their choice for an HMO by Friday.

Wrong:   Everyone has an opportunity to express their concern.

Correct:  Everyone has an opportunity to express his or her concern.

Correct:  All of you have an opportunity to express concern.

Correct:  Everyone has an opportunity to express concern.

SPELLING SENTINEL

Employees who can’t spell well are often at risk when cutbacks occur in the workplace.  Their competency in other matters is questioned, because  sloppiness reflects on the company image, as well as their own. Students who don’t take spelling seriously discover their written work isn’t taken seriously either. Their grades reflect their lack of interest in the importance of the assignment and in proofreading their papers.  Schoolwork is an important preparation for the workplace.

LESSON:   

Alright/all right: One of the most common spelling errors that has been taken from school carelessness into the workplace is the use of "alright."   There is no such word!

Deana Carter just produced a CD with "alright" in the title (Everything’s Gonna Be Alright)! Last year, there was a new sit-com on television with the same name!  Eddie Murphy produced a CD a few years ago with the title, Alright!  Where else have you seen "all right" misspelled?

Wrong: "Celine was alright at grammar, but she didn’t excel at spelling!"

Correct: "Even in contemporary music, it is all right to produce a CD with the correct title, All Right!"

WORDS IN ACTION

LESSON: The use of fewer and less.

The word "fewer" should be used when you can make an actual count of individual units or numbers.

The word "less" should be used when you are referring to quantity or amount.

The rule can also be made that you use "fewer" with plural nouns (fewer spaces in time) and "less" with singular nouns (less space in the room).

Wrong:  There are less calories in hamburgers than in fries. (plural noun)

Correct:  Our school has fewer students than yours. (plural noun)

Correct:  There are fewer members on the company ethics committee than on the social committee. (plural noun)

Correct:  There are fewer chairs than there are Board members. (plural)

Wrong:  They make less mistakes in your order if you e-mail it. (plural noun)

Wrong:  There are less cars competing in the race this year. (plural noun)

Correct:  We have less trouble with school gangs this year. (singular noun)

Correct:  We earned less than $100 for our efforts. (refers to amount)

Correct: It took less effort to learn today’s lesson. (singular noun, refers to quantity)

TAKING ACTION: Discuss fewer and less at the dinner table with your family, or with friends, or with cohorts at work.  Have everyone give examples and discuss the rule for each.  It’s easy, isn’t it? Now, you can confidently use these two words the rest of your life!  Listen for mistakes in television and radio commercials.  There are many these days!  Write the companies and point out the error.  Suggest they instruct their marketing writers in the rule J.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

"Words, when well chosen, have so great a force in them that a description often gives us more lively ideas than the sight of things themselves." —Joseph Addison, 1672-1719, English essayist known for his witty and refined style.

TAKING ACTION Look for paragraphs in a variety of books and magazines that describe the weather, a particular house, the appearance of the main character in a novel, the scent of flowers in a garden, the aromas coming from the kitchen, et cetera.

Do you understand Addison’s comment better? Do you understand why it is important for you to work on your ability to write well, using exact descriptions that evoke visual pictures, sounds, smells, and emotions?   That's fine for a novel, you are saying, but what has that got to do with a company's papers or a school assignment? Business documents can inspire, instruct, challenge, or convince with the use of well-chosen words. School papers can grab the attention of the reader and impress and inform in far more effective ways, if the writer uses the most proper and descriptive words possible.

TOP TIP OF THE MONTH

USING SPELL CHECK ON YOUR PC:  

When you use Spell Check, located in the Tools section of your PC toolbar, remember this important fact. You may have spelled a word correctly in your document, BUT inadvertently spelled a real word that is the wrong word! Typing errors are easy to make and easy to miss (e.g., what or hat for that; deer for dear; when for then)!

Then, too, you may have inadvertently used the wrong word.  The English language has several words that are pronounced the same (homonyms), but spelled differently (e.g., their, there, they’re; deer, dear; to, too, two; maid, made; hole, whole; whose, who’s) and have diverse meanings and origins. Spell Check will not find and correct such mistakes in your document.

If you have used a word found in your word processor program’s dictionary, and it is spelled correctly, no correction to your document will be made.  When your document is read, it may contain glaring errors, unless you take the extra minutes required to carefully proofread your work.  This is the important step that separates the "good" from the "excellent."  It is proof, to the reader, that you are a careful worker who takes pride in the quality of each project with your name on it. This is a trait that will take you further, in school (at any level) and, later, in the work world.

Proofread your papers, after you have used the PC Spell Check program!

HINT: You have three basic choices in verb TENSE, when you write your books, short stories, or articles: past, present, and future. Three more in PERSON: first, second, or third. The great majority of fiction is written in the past tense, third person (80-90%), with the remainder written in first person, past tense.

CLICHÉS

Try to eliminate clichés and hackneyed expressions from your writing. Our speech is often "riddled" with clichés (a cliché!), and we accept them more readily, because they are considered colloquialisms—the way we express ourselves within our neighborhoods or region of the country. (I’m from Texas and people often say, "I’m fixin’ to go for a burger.")  A formally written document is not considered professional, if it is littered with trite phrases.

Here are a few clichés to drop from your writing this week. 

benefit of the doubt          a capacity crowd        took a drastic action       white as snow

equal to the occasion      last analysis                part and parcel                like peas in a pod      

one and the same           slept like a log             ripe old age                     hit the nail on the head                         

JARGON

The dictionary defines jargon as "gibberish; incoherent speech; speech or writing full of long, unfamiliar, or roundabout words or phrases." Sometimes people within a particular profession use jargon (shop talk) that is unfamiliar to others, but understandable to them. If you use jargon merely to impress your readers or to persuade them of your facility in that field of endeavor, it usually fails. We label such "language" with terms like legalese, medicalese, journalese, or pseudoscientific.

Such language is considered gobbledygook or lingo or an affectation when used outside a specific profession. While jargon is absolutely appropriate, if the audience/reader knows it, it can sound pretentious to others.  Often, a paper using prolific jargon is amuck with converted speech that is coined to explain a concept (e.g., turning nouns into verbs: we Webified our business; "our prototype" becomes "we prototyped it"; upsizing), abstractions (e.g., "we subjected the research to scrupulous modeling to ensure an achievable outcome" rather than "we tested the data and it works")or buzz words (e.g., taxwise, shortfall, rollover).

Read the following paragraph from a corporate shareholder document. Is the meaning crystal clear to you, after just one reading?

"In accordance with the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, the Retirement Plan currently limits pension paid under the Plan to an annual maximum of $120,600 (provided, however, that based upon certain provisions in the Retirement Plan in effect as of June 1, 1985, employees may receive a larger pension if entitled thereto as of December 31, 1985).  The Company also has a supplemental plan that provides that the Company will pay out of its general assets, an amount substantially equal to the difference between the amount that would have been payable under the Retirement Plan, in the absence of legislation limiting pension benefits and earnings that may be considered in calculating pension benefits, and the amount actually payable under the Retirement Plan."

Huh?  Could this be said in shorter sentences?  Less confusing language?

REDUNDANCIES

"I believe more in the scissors than I do the pencil." Truman Capote

Business communication and school reports should be as free of wordiness as possible. Try to make each word carry its own weight. Padding not only makes longer documents, it causes confusion. Drop the excess words in your phrases that have the same meaning.

absolute necessity:

Wrong:  Eating three meals a day is an absolute necessity for good health.

Correct:  Drinking water is a necessity too many of us ignore.

attached hereto:

Wrong:  Attached hereto, you will find the material you requested.

Correct:  I have attached the material you requested.

classified into groups:

Wrong: We have classified into groups all of the hospitals participating in the study.

Correct: We have classified the participating hospitals.

component parts:

Wrong: Several of the component parts were missing.

Correct: Several important components were missing.

conclusive proof:

Wrong: We have conclusive proof that the database is accurate.

Correct: We have proof that our data are accurate.

exact same:

Wrong: That is the exact same thought I had!

Correct: That is the same thought I had!

OTHERS:  past history; rarely ever; small in size; join together; original founder; may possibly

AMUSEMENT OF THE MONTH

Found on the Internet.  

"Multinational personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language . . . until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised.  After trying them, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud."

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse . . .
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sleeve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

BOOKS TO READ or BUY

The Elements of Style, by William Stunk, Jr., and E. B. White, Macmillan

The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage, by Theodore M. Bernstein, Atheneum

The Most Common Mistakes in English Usage, by Thomas Elliot Berry, McGraw-Hill

Handbook of Business English, by Katharine Gibbs, Collier Books/Macmillan

For more details or for a more extensive reference list (categorized by business, student, author, agent, or personal references needs), click here: 

BOOK STORE

SPOT THE ERRORS EXERCISE

The following letter contains grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation errors. See how many you can spot and correct!

Dear Sam:

Thank you so very much for meeting with Jack, Sandra and myself yesterday at our office. Between the three of us, we learned a great deal per your product which we feel is truly practicible and may be used by us here at Smithers.

We believe that your the one that has the true facts re this matter based on your past experience. Before we procede to sign a contract with you, we’d like to persue further some of the innumerable opportunities which you presented to us. We hope you will be able to come up with an ingenuous solution to solve our quality control problem which needs immediate fixing.

Per the above, if you have any questions, please feel free to call me here at my office, or if you’d rather, we could meet again in the near future to discuss the matter in person. Thank you again for meeting with us.

Yours very sincerely,

 

John Doe Cantwrite

EDITED VERSION:  

Dear Sam:

Thank you so very much for meeting with Jack, Sandra and myself me yesterday at our office. Between Among the three of us, we learned a great deal per about your product whichthat we feel is truly practicible practicable and may be used by us here at Smithers.

We believe that your you're the one that who has the true facts, re this matter based on your past experience. Before we procede proceed to sign a contract with you, we’d like to persue  pursue further some of the innumerable opportunities which you presented to us. We hope you will be able to come up with an ingenuous solution to solve our quality control problem which needs immediate fixing.

Per the above, if If you have any questions, please feel free to call me here at my office, or if you’d rather, we could meet again in the near future to discuss the matter in person

Sincerely,

 

John Doe Cantwrite

WRITING RIGHT: The following version shows how effective a business letter can be when each word counts, when redundancies and padding are eliminated, and when spelling and punctuation and grammar are carefully proofread for accuracy.

Dear Sam:

Thank you for meeting with Jack, Sandra, and me yesterday. We learned a great deal about the practicable side of your product that might be useful to us. We believe your experience and knowledge will be helpful in solving our quality control problem, but we’d like to pursue a few of the opportunities you presented to us, before signing a contract.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me. Otherwise, I will contact you soon, to discuss our possible relationship in more detail.

Sincerely,

 

John Doe Canwrite

LINKS

The following reference links will take you to other Web sites that offer more detailed information on writing and speaking correctly.  I know you will find many of them helpful.  If you can't find the answer to a specific question, feel free to ask me by fax, or send me an e-mail message. Also see my Reference Links section, where links are categorized for use by: Business, Students, Authors, and Copy Editor resources.

An Elementary Grammar, The English Institute, U.K., Primary Grammar: http://www.humberc.on.ca/~coleman/cw-ref.html

Devry Online Writing  Support Center:   http://www.devry-phx.edu/lrnresrc/dowsc/

H. W. Fowler, 1908, The King's English:  http://www.humberc.on.ca/~coleman/cw-ref.html

Citing Electronic Materials:  http://www-libraries.colorado.edu/ps/gov/gd/cite.htm

Grammar Handbook:   http://www.english.uiuc.edu/cws/wworkshop/grammarmenu.htm

The Elements of Style:  http://www.bartleby.com/141/

Guide for Writing Research Papers:  http://webster.commnet.edu/mla.htm

Citing the World Wide Web in Style:  http://www.tsufl.edu/library/5/citation.htm

Common Errors in English: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/

Common Proofreading Symbols and Abbreviations: http://webster.commnet.edu/writing/symbols.htm

MLA Bibliographic Citation Form Guide: http://www-libraries.colorado.edu/ttp/ser/guides/mla-parenthetical.htm

Phrase Finder: http://www.shu.ac.uk/web-admin/phrases/index.html

How To Proofread and Edit Your Writing: http://cal.bemidji.msus.edu/WRC/Handouts/ProofandEdit.html

Cover Letter Writing Tips: http://www.careerbuilder.com/gh_cl_htg_tips.html

Punctuation Made Simple: http://www.cas.usf.edu/JAC/pms/intro.html

E-mail Abbreviations: http://www.stcloudstate.edu/~isedu/abrev.html

English as a Second Language: http://www.esl.net/

Absolute Authority on Writing: http://www.absoluteauthority.com/writing/

Indispensable Writing Resources: http://www.quintcareers.com/writing/index.html

Guide to Grammar and Writing: http://webster.commnet.edu/HP/pages/darling/original.htm

Analytical Writing for  Science and Technology: http://www1.etl.noaa.gov/write/index.html

On-line Dictionaries, Thesauri, Encyclopedias: http://www.alambina.com/dictionaries.htm

Books on Business Writing (Smart Business Supersite): http://www.smartbiz.com/sbs/bookstor.htm

A Bibliography for Copy Editors: http://www.well.com/user/mmcadams/reference.html

Read and copy my unique FREE Quote-a-Quote online e-zine.  You can Change Your Life!  A fun activity to enjoy with someone else.

Home | Business Services | Author Services | Agent/Publisher Services| Your Personal Services | Price Guide | Free Self-Help Writing Guide | Book Store | Quote-A-Quote E-zine  Samples of My Work | About Me | TestimonialsReference Links | Quote-a-Quote E-zine Archives

Johanson Consulting as ACE Copyediting.com
Nancy O. Johanson, Freelance Copy Editor,
Copywriter, Ghostwriter, Proofreader
08A Ruelle Lane, San Antonio, TX 78209-3953
E-mail: nancy@acecopyediting.com
Business Hours: M-F 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST

PLEASE CONTACT ME 
VIA AN E-MAIL MESSAGE.

 

SEE MY EXTENSIVE LIST OF REFERENCE BOOKS TO ASSIST YOU IN YOUR SPECIFIC WRITING AND SELF-EDITING PROJECTS.  BOOKSTORE

 

ACE Copyediting.com is published by Johanson Consulting,  108A Ruelle Lane, San Antonio, TX 78209.  Copyright © 1998-2013 [Johanson Consulting]. All rights reserved.
Revised: April 14, 2013.

"The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth.  All our work adds nothing to it!"  Proverbs 10:22

"But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth."  Deut. 8:18