This month’s quiz focuses on adjectives, which are covered in CMOS paragraphs 5.68–96. Adjectives are words that describe things, like the word “favorite” in the heading above. To learn more about this descriptive part of speech, take the quiz.
A prefix is a partial word that joins to the front of another word (and sometimes a phrase) to create a new word with a different meaning. The pre- in prefix is a prefix, for example.
I’ve used this space before to caution copyeditors against scrubbing voice and character out of fiction manuscripts by adhering too closely to a style manual.
For this month’s quiz we return to the grammar chapter—specifically, paragraphs 5.172–95, which cover prepositions. The main job of prepositions is to set up other words, an important job that usually goes unnoticed (except, maybe, at the end of a sentence).
If you work with words, you’re probably familiar with the related but supposedly antithetical concepts known as prescriptivism and descriptivism. And people take sides. Either you’re a stickler (you’re a prescriptivist) or you go with the flow (you’re a descriptivist).
Do you sometimes dither over whether to put a comma between two or more adjectives? Although the guidelines for deciding in CMOS work well for any kind of writing, there are times when creative writers prefer to ignore them.
This month we return to chapter 5, on grammar—specifically, paragraphs 5.156–71, which cover adverbs. Adverbs are not only amazingly versatile; they’re also incredibly useful. Find out how useful by taking this quiz.
We learn from CMOS 6.23 that “a comma is not normally used to separate a two-part compound predicate joined by a coordinating conjunction.” In other words, when the subject isn’t repeated after a word like “and” or “but” in a compound sentence, a comma is usually omitted.
When you write a book to send to an agent or editor, you are preparing a manuscript. And even if your ideas, characters, and plot twists are colorful and creative, your manuscript format should not be.
Grammatically speaking, “appositive” is a fancy word for “equivalent.” For example, when we refer to your dog Smurf, “Smurf” and “your dog” are appositives—or the same thing (or animal, in this case) restated in different words.
Starting a novel is an exceptionally personal affair, so I’m always amazed when someone decides to tell us all the best way to do it. Nonetheless, there are some basic guiding principles a struggling writer might find helpful. If you’ve been burning to begin but can’t seem to type the first word, read on.