What’s in a word?

Someone asked me the other day if I had an easy way to remember when to use “then” and when to use “than” in a sentence.  The only suggestion I could give her was what I learned in elementary school; Than is used to compare, such as, “I like apples more than oranges.” Then indicates time, as in “I’m going to the store and then I’m going to the gym.”funny-picture-spelling-is-hard-555x428

Our conversation turned to other words, such as there, their, and they’re, and to, two, and too.

  • Use to as a preposition before a noun or as an infinitive before a verb; Use too as a synonym for also or a word describing excessiveness and Use two to spell out the number 2.
  • There refers to a place; They’re is a contraction of “they are”; Their is the possessive pronoun.

But these are common errors that occur every day. The words that I have the most problems with are further, farther, judgment, embarrassment, occurrence, accommodation, noticeable, harass, inoculate, dilemma, argument, calendar, unlovable, separate, and others.

  • When the base word ends in an e, the e is dropped before the -able ending is added (e.g. advise; advisable or inflate; inflatable). When it ends in a consonant,the consonant is doubled (e.g. forget; forgettable or regret; regrettable). BUT–
  • If the letter before the final e is a c or g, (such as in notice and outrage) we need to keep the e before a suffix that begins with a, o or u. Therefore, the correct spellings are noticeable and outrageous.
  • Use farther for physical distance and further when speaking figurative. For instance, “How much farther do we have to go?” vs “I would like to study this case further.”

Spell check is great, but because it’s not 100 percent accurate, we shouldn’t rely on it. I keep a list of misspelled words in a word document on my desktop, so I’ll always know how they are spelled. Every time I find a word that I have to look up, I add it to the list.

Spelling correctly is important for everyone; students, business professionals, and anyone who writes emails or posts on social media.  But for someone who has made writing their life, it’s imperative.

Everyone makes mistakes; but when every other word is misspelled, you lose the respect of your reader. And that is something I do my best to avoid.

I am still in the process of editing “Mya’s World,” and have caught a few typos, even though I use spell check religiously. These words aren’t actually misspelled; they are real words that are used incorrectly, a byproduct of thinking as I’m writing. Or writing what I’m thinking.

That’s why they call it a “rough” draft.







It’s all about the journey

It’s been more than a month since I wrote a blog post. I could offer a variety of excuses,but the truth is, I just haven’t myasworldhad the time. My spare time, when I have any, has been filled with my many projects. Most recently, I’ve been busy putting the final touches on the third and final book in my “Between Worlds” series, “Mya’s World.”

I started editing last week, but it’s slow-going. I have to be careful about how I go about it. As other writers will agree, it’s tough trying to edit your own work. We stop seeing the mistakes. We know what we intended to write, and our minds can play tricks on us. Handing it off to someone to edit is always a good idea, but if you are like me, I have to look at it one more time before I submit it, and that’s usually where I get into trouble.

I end up wanting to rewrite some of it, and that usually takes even more time. Then I have to hand it back to my editing buddy, and well, you know what happens. It ends up becoming a perpetual and never-ending cycle of editing.

I literally have to force myself to stop writing, or I would never finish a book.

As daunting as the editing process is, it doesn’t compare to the feeling I have when I open the cardboard box and pull out a finished version of something I created.

But satisfaction isn’t the only thing I gained from this experience. Since I started the “Between Worlds” series 3 years ago, I have not only become a better writer, but I have become a better storyteller, too. There is a distinct difference between reporting a news or feature story and trying to engage a reader while telling an interesting tale. I have learned more from this experience than I ever did sitting in a classroom.

I don’t have a lot of reviews of my book on Amazon, but the people who have read my books say they enjoy them. And though I am grateful I can write something that people enjoy, I have my own selfish reasons for writing them.

I write because I love to write. It’s what I do. And if I couldn’t do it, well, I’m not sure what I would do. Most likely, I would just suck it up and move on, but there would be definitely something missing from my life.

(You can read a preview of the book by going to my website.)