Word Smarts (Ouch! Did I use that word the wrong way again?)
One of the words below has a different meaning from the rest and would not make sense in the following sentence. Which word doesn't fit?
The building was designed in keeping with its _______________setting.
a. pastoral b. bucolic c. noisome d. sylvan
(Find the correct answer at the bottom of this newsletter!)
Grammar To Go Takeout tips for better writing
Lay vs. Lie
In present tense, we lay something (a direct object in grammar-speak) somewhere. Helaysthe book on the table. Layyour head down on the pillow.
If there’s no object, use lie. Iliedown. The quail lieshidden under the bush.
The past tense of lay is laid. Helaidthe book on the table. Shelaidher head down on the pillow.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
The past tense of lie is lay. Ilaydown for a nap yesterday. The quail layhidden under the bush when the cat walked by.
PresentPast lay laid lie lay
This isn’t the whole story onlayvs.lie. But if you remember to say “Ilaydown yesterday” instead of the incorrect “I laid down yesterday,” you’ll be doing better than most.
(Notice thatlayedis never the correct spelling for any form of the verb.)
Five Proofreading Tips —the final step of writing
Proofreading comes after editing, once all revisions have been made. It is the final—and essential—step of writing. It’s not really reading so much as it is careful analysis. Proofreading addresses sentence-level accuracy, such as grammar, spelling and typos, plus style consistency and formatting.
Grammar and spell-check functions can point out possible mistakes, but don’t rely on them for the final say of whether your writing is as professional as you want it to be. Here are some tips to help you take this important step into your own hands.
Always proofread a hard copy. Mistakes pop out more on paper and it’s easier to catch formatting goofs, such as spacing, font size, bolding and indentation. Read your copy aloud. Does it sound correct? You’re more likely to hear mistakes than see them, especially grammatical ones. Use your pointing finger. Just like when you were learning to read, follow your finger across the page. Readexactly what you seeabove your finger, not what you expect it to say. Practice self-doubt. Question what you’ve written. Is it written as one word or two? Does it need a hyphen? Is it spelled correctly? Take the time to check the dictionary. Chances are you’ll find you wrote it right—mostof the time—but you want to eliminate doubt. Ask for help. Get someone you trust to proofread for you. They will read what you wrote, not what you meant to write. No matter how interesting or well laid out your ideas, if your work has distracting typos, misspelled words and obvious grammatical mistakes, it won’t get you the results you want. The professional quality of your final product depends on careful proofreading.