Quick Editorial Tips V – Grammar and vocabulary lessons from home


Part of my bio says …

Karen S. Elliott was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day.

Mom and Aunt Agnes – “Ang” – were always correcting our grammar. I’m so glad they were such sticklers.

Lay and lie

Chickens lay eggs; little girls aren’t chickens.

So if I told Mom I was going to lay down, Mom would say, “Lie down. Chickens lay eggs…”


Exact same

“I have the exact same sweater.”

“Wayne has the exact same eyes as his daddy.”

Mom and Ang explained that exact same is redundant and should not be used together.

Continue on

“Redundant,” said Mom and Ang.

Though I hear continue on a lot in conversation and in TV commercials and see it in the written word, I don’t use it.

Me or I?

Just take out the first name(s) to determine if you need Me or I, et voila! (Mom spoke French too.)

Tina and I are going shopping. (I am going shopping.)

Do you want to go shopping with Tina, Ted, and me? (Do you want to go shopping with me?)


I’ve been known to curse like a Merchant Marine when I lose a game of Scrabble. I’ve been known to use “WTF?” or “WTH?” here and there on Facebook.

I certainly don’t advocate using only goodie-goodie words in a police thriller or horror novel or in your memoir or blog.

Mom and Ang said using profanity was proof of a lack of vocabulary. Yeah, well. Sometimes you need a good curse to get over dropping the entire package of blueberries on the floor.

If I want to use a curse when talking with friends or when I’m online, I stop and try to think of an intelligent word (this self-checking exercise does not always work).

Posture and elbows

Mom and Ang also taught me to sit up straight, stand up straight, and elbows off the table!


Stick around for next week’s Halloween Fright Week, featuring Mairi Gairns McCloud, Tonia Marie Harris, Linda Boulanger, Heather L. Reid, Shawn MacKenzie, and me!

I have a new Facebook Fan Page. On this new Fan Page, I’ll be sharing links, resources, and tips on editing, proofreading, writing, and social networking. Hope to see you on the Fan Page!


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Quick Editing Tips

15 responses to “Quick Editorial Tips V – Grammar and vocabulary lessons from home

  1. Your Mom and Aunt Agnes were wonderful role models. Love the pictures.

    • Yup, they were pretty awesome. I miss them both. The pictures shown are old … I think Mom was about 20-21 y.o., Agnes about 24-25. The originals are still in storage, or I’d check!

  2. All my favourite pet hates! And, like you, I try to stop and think before letting a swear word fly, but boy, it sure does feel good sometimes! I wonder why…?

  3. Lie and Lay stil get me sometimes! Maybe I do lay eggs?

  4. Oh I would love to have known your mother and Ang!

  5. Lay as in plaaaaace.
    Lie as in recliiiiiiine.
    How I remember the two. But when I lay an egg…it is over laid, lain and lay (a tense of lie) in usage.

  6. Some great tips there! Redundancy is my biggest enemy.

  7. Beautiful photographs. They both look so pretty.

    A couple more redundant phrases that I’ve heard, “revolving around the sun”, “centered around”. Don’t know where they came from but I’m guilty of using them a few times.

  8. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Madness Survival Kit « Hugs and Chocolate

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