April 2015

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.
He lays the book on the table.
Lay your head down on the pillow.
 

If there’s no object, use lie.
I lie down.
The quail 
lies hidden under the bush.
 

The past tense of lay is laid.
He laid the book on the table.
She
 laid her head down on the pillow.
 

Here’s where it gets tricky.

The past tense of lie is lay.
I lay down for a nap yesterday.
The quail 
lay hidden under the bush when the cat walked by.

Present                Past
lay                       laid
lie                        lay


This isn’t the whole story on lay vs. lie. But if you remember to say “I lay down yesterday” instead of the incorrect “I laid down yesterday,” you’ll be doing better than most.
 
(Notice that
 layed is never the correct spelling for any form of the verb.)


 Writing Tips

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.

proofreading,jpg

 

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. Read exactly what you see above 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—most of 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.



Word Smarts Correct Answer: C

pastoral=countryside
bucolic=rural
noisome=disgusting, harmful
sylvan=woodland

www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/noisome