Tag Archives: editing

SpewagE – There, Their, They’re

Henceforth, I will share my acute and capacious superpowers foisted upon me by Mom (worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader) and Ang (who could complete the NYT Crossword in a day), and the years of research and learning stuff and “Looking Things Up.” 

I will share my experiences … Spelling, Proofreading, Editing, Writing, Apostrophes, Grammar, and English. “SpewagE.” I capped the last E because that’s how the art came out. 


The English language is plagued with gawd-awful homophones. They are a bug-a-boo even for born-in-the-USA English speakers. 


You’re and Your (SpewagE – You’re/Your

To, Two, Too 

Yew, Ewe, You

For, Fore, Four

Bye, By, Buy (not to be confused with the NSYNC song, “Bye Bye Bye.”)

There, Their, They’re


Where? There. 

Where? There!  

Where did you put it? I put it there. 

It’s a place. And the last four letters of Where/There are the same. 

Whoomp, there it is! 


It’s a possessive pronoun. 

Their dogs. 

Their house. 

Their human rights. 

Their body, their choice. 

Little Fin Tips – Having trouble remembering?

It was her choice. It was his choice. It was their choice. 

*Personal note – I support our LGBTQ2S friends. This word is not just a possessive, but it’s a possessive pronoun, like she/hers, he/his, and they/theirs. Whatever pronouns you choose for yourselves, I support those choices. You have every right to choose your own personal pronouns. 


It’s a contraction. Short for “they are.” 

Drop the “A,” slap an apostrophe in it, et voila! They’re. 

They are going to get vaccinated – They’re going to get vaccinated. 

They are wearing masks at school – They’re wearing masks at school. 

They are standing up for women’s rights – They’re standing up for women’s rights. 

  *   *   * 

Get it? Got it? Fabulous!   


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Quick Editing Tips, Words & Vocabulary

SpewagE – You’re, Your

Henceforth, I will share my acute and capacious superpowers foisted upon me by Mom (worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader) and Ang (who could complete the NYT Crossword in a day), and the years of research and learning stuff and “Looking Things Up.”

I will share my experiences … Spelling, Proofreading, Editing, Writing, Apostrophes, Grammar, and English. “SpewagE.” I capped the last E because that’s how the art came out. 

You’re and Your (forget Yore for now)


In written and verbal communication, contractions were first used in English in the 17th Century. You’d think we’d have them down by now. 

Stop the presses! 

I chatted online with my super-duper editor pal Shawn MacKenzie about this contraction thing – regarding the 17th century premise – and she said, “Makes sense – 1600s – end of Elizabethan times, moving into Jacobean…out of the Renaissance heading towards the Enlightenment. Everything was in flux.”

But then we chatted more and gosh darn, she sent articles proving my research wrong, that contractions were utilized as early as 450 AD. See Shawn’s links at the end of this blog post. 

What are contractions? 

Contractions are those funky words you deploy when you want to use shortened versions of Should not, or Could not, We are, They are, He is, She is, They are, You will, She will, Is not, Who would, Were not, Was not, I would, or I will.  If you are interested in a list, google “list of contractions, English.”

You’re and Your

Today we talk about the contraction YOU’RE and its friendly, misused, and twice-divorced cousin, YOUR

Examples of You’re

YOU ARE. Take out the “A,” slap an apostrophe in there, and you have YOU’RE. 

You are smart — > You’re smart.

You are so handsome — > You’re so handsome.

You are so freaking talented — > You’re so freaking talented! 

You are deluded — > You’re deluded. 

Now…let’s look at YOUR. 

Examples of Your  

YOUR is a possessive.

Your grasp of English is phenomenal.

Your flower garden is beautiful. 

Your grandchildren are so adorable. 

Oh no! Someone set fire to your trumpie flag! 

* * *

You’re all caught up on your You’re and Your now, right?

Get it? Got it? Good! 

Shawn’s links 

The History of Contractions

Origins – English Contractions


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Quick Editing Tips, Words & Vocabulary

Ditching the website, still The Word Shark

Ditching the website

I’ve decided to ditch The Word Shark DOT com (and the cost).


Because most of my clients come from referrals or my blog, not the website. Most of the traffic on my website comes from “marketing professionals” and “sales professionals” who know the “sure fire way” to turn my site around and make a bigger profit.

Profit margin vs. website cost

Over the last few years, about 95% of the traffic on my website is from scummy, spammy spammers.

100% of my business comes from satisfied customer referrals.

Word of mouth

I don’t need a website. I’ve got a tribe of happy, satisfied clients to plump my pillows at night.

Still Shark

While I won’t be – officially via a website – The Word Shark, I’ll always be YOUR Word Shark.


Filed under Branding & Platform, Editing & Proofreading, Social Networking

First Ever Word Sharks Conference

I first thought about hosting my own conference years ago. I wondered, “Who would come?” I ruminated, I wondered, I worried.

And then I put the idea out there…on social networking.

I got a handful of responses. I thought, “Hmm, not much interest.”

And then I had another thought: perhaps this first Word Sharks Conference should be small, intimate, personal.

So, the first Word Sharks Conference was created. It will happen this June in Newark, DE, near my hometown. In the home of my brother (the cheapest venue I could find, and he makes awesome ribs).

I am pleased and proud to tell you about the first Word Sharks Conference attendees and presenters.

Prepare for future Word Sharks Conferences. If this one flies – er, swims – we may do it again.

Barbara Forte AbateBarbara Forte Abate –

Finding Your Right Editor

Barbara Forte Abate grew up in Millbrook, New York, and currently lives in a creaky old house in Pennsylvania, where she makes up lies, doses them with truth, and titles it fiction. She is long time married to a very fine man and is the mother of four fabulous children. Barbara is the award-winning author of The Secret of Lies, Asleep Without Dreaming, and newly released, Painted From Memories.

JJ BROWNJ.J. Brown –

Writing for Good – Turning Tragedies Into Tales

J.J. Brown is a health journalist and the author of seven books including short stories, novels, poetry, and nonfiction. Originally from the foothills of the Catskill Mountains of New York, she now works and lives in New York City. J.J. Brown completed a PhD in genetics and worked as a research scientist prior to turning to health education, fiction writing and publishing.

Elizabeth CottrellElizabeth H. Cottrell –

Connect With Your Readers: Strategies for Nonfiction Writers

“An effective nonfiction writer teaches, informs, and often persuades or inspires. Connection and clarity are essential elements to outstanding nonfiction content: connection with the needs and desires of your reader and clarity about what will meet those needs and desires.” ~ Elizabeth H. Cottrell

In this workshop, Elizabeth will share strategies for connecting with your readers so they find your nonfiction book more readable, valuable, and compelling.

For over 25 years, Elizabeth has been a technical and freelance writer with content expertise in the areas of small business/entrepreneurship, biology/medicine, and community banking. Since 1991, she’s owned and operated RiverwoodWriter, LLC, offering both writing and desktop publishing services to help others get their ideas expressed and published. She has helped produce regional and family histories, and has ghostwritten a corporate history, a memoir, and several other nonfiction books.

Elizabeth is a bank board member, community activist, Extra Class amateur radio operator (W4EHC), note-writing evangelist, and (from a former life) published leprosy researcher. She and her husband John live in Virginia on the north fork of the Shenandoah River, where every day she is inspired by her surroundings. Elizabeth blogs at Heartspoken.com about strengthening life’s essential connections—with God, with self, with others, and with nature.

Pam WightPamela Wight –

Exploring the Hidden Stories in Your Mind

“Writing is the act of burning through the fog in your mind.” – N. Goldberg. How do we lift the fog and discover our creativity? My creative ‘wighting’ for fun classes help students explore the hidden stories in their minds. In our Delaware explorations, I’ll share some of the writing exercises and tips I’ve used to encourage pens (or laptops) to flow with ease. All you need to bring (besides your writing accoutrements) is a zeal for the zany and poignant, a sense of humor, and a willingness to be open and honest as you write.

Pamela Wight has an M.A. in Literature and is a writer, editor, and teacher with a focus on adult fiction. She has published two books (The Right Wrong Man and Twin Desires) and writes a weekly blog called Roughwighting. Pamela’s career has included editing medical textbooks, writing medical articles for Advance newsmagazines, and devoting years as the managing editor of the journal Radiologic Technology. Pamela has taught creative writing classes for over 25 years in both the San Francisco and Boston areas.

Karen Sanderson (4)Karen R. Sanderson –

Editing and Proofreading Tidbits and Tricks

Karen will call on her years of research and work with writers to provide editing tidbits and proofreading tricks to help make your writing better and more concise.

Karen R. Sanderson 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. Karen completed writing coursework through UCLA and University of New Mexico and was the winner of the SouthWest Writers 2009 Writing Contest – The Best Hook. She is currently pursuing her BA in English at Minot State University. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. 

Stephen King –

He’s been invited but probably won’t show up.

And if his people tell him about the invitation I sent…I suggested he show up with a basket full of Maine lobsters.


Filed under Special Events