Edit Nation Blog

Serious Editing for Serious Authors
Schedule a Consultation

Killer Biography!

Do you enjoy reading biography? Then run, don't walk, to abebooks.com and pick up a copy of Madame An Intimate Biography of Helena Rubinstein, by Patrick O'Higgins. The story is terrific, but the writing...my dears, the writing is outstanding. Out. Standing. The first...

Compliments of CNN.com: How NOT TO use commas!

Ah, the joys of reading CNN.com. I appreciate CNN. I do. But, a lot of the time, its punctuation leaves something to be desired. Or, in the case below, its punctuation left something out. Here's the sentence: The princess is a well-known international figure, being...

A writers group that can't write

It's not particularly funny when you arrive at the website of a so-called "association" of writers and find beaucoup mistakes. It just isn't. Here are a couple of easy-to-spot mistakes on one group's introductory, thanks-for-joining email. The Florida Writer’s...

The Perils of Outsourcing Your Writing

Every community has its spelling vagaries. Here in Sarasota, we have two community "secrets" that, if you don't know them, will immediately expose you to laughter and ridicule. The first is that Michael Saunders is a woman. There's that old story that goes around...

Never edit an editor.

Listen, when someone proclaims that he or she is an "editor" of any stripe, give that person a little credit. No matter what, we give you carefully considered writing. Let me put it another way: If you find a mistake in my writing and tell me, you are my new best...

Discouraging Writing

It really is discouraging to read writing like the three examples below. I'm just going to paste and comment. Members of the organization that have attended these conferences in the past know what a great learning experience the writer gets from attending. I just cut...

Worst bio ever!

As the kids say, OMG. I've seen a lot of jaw-droppingly bad writing coming out of WordPress WordCamps. A. Lot. But this, this takes the cake. Just cast your eyes over this amazingly, appallingly bad bio from the Miami WordCamp site. I'm not sure if it's a joke, but I...

Lordy, don't you love it when…

Man, I just love it when I get an invite to connect through LinkedIn and (since my mamma didn't raise no dummy) I go to that person's profile and find that this invite is a thinly veiled come-on to buy something. It's just too fun when that happens, and it puts me in...

Funny Franchisors, Part II

I met some very nice people at the Franchise Expo, sincere people who are sincerely committed to their concept and sincerely convinced that it'll make them (and you!) a million bucks or more. A lot of these sincere people have very snazzy, big-bucks websites (as...

The Number One Rule of Good Writing

As an editor, people ask me all the time about the number one rule of good writing. That’s easy. It’s so easy, in fact, that it’s the very same rule for the millions of striving attorneys as it is for the lonely (but optimistic!) Zamboni repair service. No, it’s not...

Funny Franchisors

Welllll, when I say "funny," I really mean the opposite. There was nothing funny about the writing I observed at this weekend's Franchise Expo in Ft. Lauderdale. I suppose it was a good thing, since it proves my point—as if I needed any proof!—that business people...

LinkedIn "Learning" stinks!

LinkedIn "Learning" stinks. LinkedIn "Learning," at least as far as American English goes, is jaw-droppingly horrible. I think I already said that—somewhere, sometime, and if I didn't, I meant to!—but I continue to get emails from LinkedIn, and those emails continue...

How to punctuate with parentheses, Part I.

Hey, this is easy. Parentheses are used to create an aside to the reader, and are less of a break than dashes, but more profound than the break created by a comma or commas. And, unlike commas or dashes, parentheses only come in pairs. Though the decision whether or...

Editing: Why bother?

Gee, why bother to breathe? When you use your language with authority, then by gosh and by golly, you look like an authority. With authority comes credibility, and with credibility comes that most important coin: trust. A couple of weeks ago, I took my car to a car...

How to use a semicolon, Part II

The second main use of the semicolon is to separate items in a list when one item has its own comma. For example: My favorite books are Gone With the Wind, Alas, Babylon, and The Bronze Bow. How many books are in that list? Three? Four? Not sure? It helps to remember...

How to use a semicolon, Part I

There are two main uses of the semicolon (;): to join two complete sentences without benefit of a conjunction, and to separate items in a list when one (or more) of the items has a comma of its own. In the first use, the trick is to imagine a see-saw. (Do we still...

I love you, Randy Rainbow!

Yes, it's official! I have publicly declared my love for YouTube star Randy Rainbow in The New York Times! Permalink: https://nyti.ms/2NdtCe5#permid=28486337 If you don't know Randy, you need to! "Hey, USA we just elected us a mean girl!" Genius!! Here are YouTube.com...

Would you pay for this person's advice?

Question: If someone advertised that he (or she!) is a WordPress "expert" and a "business adviser," but misspelled the word "adviser," would you have any confidence whatsoever that his (or her!) advice would be worth, well, anything? Answer: Hell, no! But, gee, that's...

Yukking it up on LinkedIn

I know a lot of people—and a lot of people I respect, a lot—think that LinkedIn is the greatest thing since sliced bread. While I've never been enamored of the whole "connectedness" thing and the thought of having a million billion "followers" makes me feel like...

Yours in Good Grammar: "Breakthrough"

Yours in good grammar: The Space Makes the Case! A “breakthrough” is defined as “a significant or sudden advance, development, or achievement that removes a barrier to progress; a person’s first success.” “Breakthrough” is one of a group of words, like cleanup, login,...

Problematic WordPress copy with answers, Part I.

These sentences are part of the 52-sentence group I pulled from a local "WordPress expert's" site. I'm all for WordPress, and I understand that it's "open source, " etc., etc., etc., and that lots and lots of very cool people have flocked to the WordPress banner, but...

Yay! More quizzes!

Oh, I'm so happy to have my blog back. What an ordeal! Yippee! Okay, here we have a wonderful, stupendous quiz, featuring material from the same website and, get this, this is a WordPress developer's website! God only knows what his and her clients' websites look...

Another "editor" who sucks!

I am constantly and consistently amazed when I go to a self-proclaimed editor's website and find a morass of mistakes in his or her content. I don't get it. How can someone who plainly doesn't understand the rules of good grammar and correct punctuation hang out a...

Parsing the New York Times editorial board

Well, as it happens, I do have a punctuation suggestion! Well, a few, actually. Let's look at this sentence: A raid on a lawyer’s office doesn’t happen every day; it means that multiple government officials, and a federal judge, had reason to believe they’d find...

How do you make 9 mistakes in ONE sentence?

It's easy for BNI! Besides needing a comma, there are two mistakes made over and over and over and over again. The offending (and offensive) sentence: The process to become an Ambassador starts with exemplary leadership in their chapter, they are nominated by someone...

Just ask!

This morning I was tweaking an introduction, and I came across a place that made me pause: is the possessive of CBS written CBS' or CBS's? I liked the latter, simply because you do pronounce that last "s": C-B-S-ess. I went back and forth and then I had a brainwave:...

Contact

Email

Liz@EditNation.com