Archive for the ‘Spelling’ Category

Am I The Only One Who Still Recites I Before E Except After C?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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My favorite writing tips experts at DailyWritingTips.com sent the latest “tip” to my inbox and I had to literally chuckle out loud – at myself.

I was an honor roll and straight A student through grade and high school, excelling most especially in spelling and grammar – BUT – I still stop and recite that old “I before E except after C” reminder – and then have to also go through the ‘exceptions’. It got me to wondering, does anyone else still do this?

Is it any wonder that so many people seem to not “get it” when we make the rules so hard to learn and keep to? Am I alone in noticing or even caring?

Of all of the “rules” in spelling, this is, to ME, the hardest one to gloss over, but, to be perfectly honest, an error I see so often I am actually starting to gloss over myself in print books or signs, etc. and only really notice in documents, blog posts, articles and web pages.

The exceptions are listed in the article I referred to above. I copied and pasted that section out as a document for myself for those times I am in doubt. With so many things changing in the writing world, I do not feel we can ever relax now and just take for granted that the old ways are still the right ways. Ugh!

I try my best to keep up with all of the changes for my proofreading & editing assignments and for my own use.

What are your thoughts? I would love some comments!

Remember, I am a Virtual Assistant who LOVES to do editing and proofreading assignments along with research, blog posts, article submissions and social media maintenance!

Tallent Agency
St. Louis County, MO
Phone: (636) 451-6213
Email: jantallent@gmail.com

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When Do You Use A Comma Before But?

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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This question, along with using a comma before AND are two that seem to come up the most during proofreading and editing assignments. I often lose the argument over the “oxford” comma debate so am moving on.

I, personally, use a comma when two complete thoughts or even sentences can be made from the statement, but then, I also want to hang onto the now old-school use of a semi-colon for the same purpose. Having been an Honor Roll student at best, or a straight A student at worst, it was drummed into my generation of spelling and grammar gurus that if parts of a sentence can stand alone, there MUST be a ; instead of a comma separating them. All of that has changed and I am trying to keep up with the times, even when it literally makes me scream inside. :-)

My favorite writing & editing tips ezine, Daily Writing Tips, has this to say about the comma before but dilemma:

The rule for but is the same as that for the other six coordinating conjunctions: and, for, or, nor, so, and yet.

If the conjunction precedes an independent (main) clause, use a comma: “Jack tried a new diet, but he still gained weight.”

If the but is not followed by an independent clause, no comma is needed: “Jack tried a new diet but still gained weight.”

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I feel that we could debate this all day, but

At Desk

Remember, I am a Virtual Assistant who LOVES to do editing and proofreading assignments along with research, blog posts, article submissions and social media maintenance!

Tallent Agency
St. Louis County, MO
Phone: (636) 451-6213
Email: jantallent@gmail.com

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Do You Rely On Spell Check Or Just Use It As A Tool? – pt.2

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

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As I see more and more instances of writers obviously using whatever spell check and/or auto-correct applications suggest, I felt a need to update this former blog post.

The its and it’s and they’re, their, there issue seems to be out of control – even more so than I have ever seen before! Obviously, programs are just that, programs. Your Word spell check and auto-correct programs cannot know which instance of a word you are wanting to use so you need to also KNOW one from the other …

But it boggles my mind to hear from high school and college friends that spelling and the right instance of a word are rarely, if ever, even pushed in their classes. As a former Straight A and often Honor Roll student in spelling and English, as grammar was called in “my day”,
it saddens me that something I personally find to be so important is considered NOT to be so much so. :-(

Do you find yourself relying on Word’s spell check or the one in your email client? I don’t and here is the reason why …

As was pointed out by my favorite “go to” authority on spelling and grammar questions, Daily Writing Tips:

Writers need to keep two things in mind about spell checkers:

1. They cannot catch any misspellings if a writer doesn’t let the application run.

2. They cannot be entirely trusted to catch every spelling error.

I agree. I use the spell checking options AFTER I perform my own writings, documents, etc. and when proofreading for others. This checks ME to make sure I notice where there might have been a problem or a question because those references DO stand out or get highlighted.

As stated above, the spell checkers often make a “mistake” as far as the instance or appropriate usage is concerned. Things need to be seen in perspective of what is meant and what is stated. Often the spellchecker might go crazy popping up and suggesting a spelling you KNOW you do not want because it can not tell how you are using it.

Often I have seen my correct spelling suggested as wrong with a recommendation
that I mean, for example:

their instead of there or they’re – I do know the difference and which one to use but occasionally the spell check OFFERS one of the other options and if I went by those suggestions I would NOT be the perfection-driven proofreader that I am.

Do NOT rely on the spellcheckers – if in doubt – and I openly admit that on some words
I often am- I just “google” what I THINK it should be OR even what I think IS misspelled
and use that reference to make my decision.

After all, until I “train” it, every spell checking application insists that I am spelling MY name wrongly, lol.

Betty on laptop

animated Betty on laptop

Remember, I am a Virtual Assistant who LOVES to do editing and proofreading assignments along with research, blog posts, article submissions and social media maintenance!

Tallent Agency
St. Louis County, MO
Phone: (636) 451-6213
Email: jantallent@gmail.com

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Over the past 15 years, Jan Tallent has spent countless hours providing writers and webmasters with free friendly tips on how to correct spelling and grammar errors in their written material.

From the feedback received she decided that since proofreading and editing help was so desperately needed, she should build a business around something she enjoys doing, while at the same time providing a valuable service to business owners and writers.

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Jan Tallent
Tallent Agency
Phone: (636) 451-6213
Email: jantallent@gmail.com
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