Correcting People Is Bad Manners

You know what annoys me? People who correct other people’s grammar. Especially since half the time – and I say this as a former professional proofreader who’s had to deal with such issues for a long time – especially since half the time, the people doing the correcting are wrong. They think that what they were taught in grammar school 50 years ago still goes, which ain’t necessarily so. With language, what used to be wrong may now be considered acceptable. This is because language usage changes, but you’d never know it to hear these people. For example:

One of the Merriam-Webster’s definitions of the word unique is interesting. Yes, folks, unique doesn’t solely mean one of a kind. Also, the word irregardless is defined in Merriam-Webster’s. And you can respond I’m well when someone asks you about your health, but you can respond I’m good when they are asking about your emotional state of mind.

Besides, correcting people’s grammar, especially in front of others, is bad manners, and I’m not the only one to say so (check Miss Manners). In fact, correcting people in general is rude.

Take that, you pompous, braggadocio, self-proclaimed “grammarians”!

To those people, I ask, What’s your source? Source, they say? Source? Why, I’m the source. Terrific, I say, tell, me, what have you published?

I once worked with a professional proofreader, to whom I pointed out that bit about unique to her by showing it to her in the dictionary. “Well, that’s wrong!” she said.

Truth is, grammar is not a moral issue. To learn some humility, check out Cori Stamper’s Word for Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries. She’s a professional dictionary editor, so she knows her stuff. You’ll find some wonderful stuff there about things like the history of the pronunciation of the word nuclear.

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Good vs. Well

Below are sources indicating that it is grammatically correct to say “I’m good.”

“Well” describes one’s health. “Good” describes one’s emotional state.

“I’m Good” Versus “I’m Well”

Good vs. Well

An exception, of course, is when someone asks you how you are doing. In that case, the answer should be the adverb form: “well.”

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Capitalization for Emphasis Is a Bad Idea

Capitalization for Emphasis

Capitalization for emphasis is bad form.

We’ve seen random capitalization on the streets. It’s usually a crude attempt to capitalize for emphasis. Not a good idea. Stick with title case or sentence case.

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Hear hear vs. here here


hear hear!

and not

here here!




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The Correct Punctuation of Donald Trump, Jr.,’s Name

The Correct Punctuation of Donald Trump, Jr.,’s Name:


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Please check out a video from Kory Stamper, a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster. This means that she is a writer and editor of dictionaries.

And check out her book, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries


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Yes and No

People are often confused about how to punctuate occurrences of yes and no.

The answer, according to The Chicago Manual of Style is simple: yes and no

So it is:

She said yes.

and NOT:

She said, “Yes.”

Notice there is no capitalization of the word yes.

The same is true of no.

so was have:

I say no.

and NOT:

I say, “N0.”


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Thank You vs. Thank-You

It can be confusing to know when and when not to use a hyphen with thank you.

Thank-you is the noun form:

— I sent my brother a thank-you.
— Be sure to follow up with a thank-you.

Thank-you is also the adjective form

— She sent the teacher a thank-you note.
— A thank-you gift will be welcomed.

In verb form, use thank you.

— I thank you for your kindness
— Thank you for being there for me.

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Movies, Television and Radio Titles

8.196  What to Italicize.  Titles of movies and of television and radio programs are italicized.  A single episode in a television series is set in roman and enclosed  in quotation marks.

the classic movie Gone with the Wind

The Godfather II

PBS’s Sesame Street

WFMT’s From the Recording Horn

“Casualties, ” an episode in the Fortunes of  War, a Masterpiece Theater series


the ten o’clock news

Formal names of broadcast networks, channels, and the like are set in roman.

Voice of America

the Discovery Channel

The Sundance and Disney channels

8.197  Analogy to print.   Any work available on the Internet or as a CD-ROM (or part of a CD-ROM), whether or not it also exists in print for, is treated in the same way as the works described in 8.164-95.  In other words, periodicals or complete works are italicized; articles or sections of work are set in roman and, where appropriate, enclosed in quotation marks.  For citing electronic works (including such works such a databases ir DVDs) in notes or bibliographies, see chapter 17.

8.198  On line Sources.  Works available on line are treated much the same as printed matter:  books or book-length works are italicized; articles, poems, short stories, and the like are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks.  For citing online material, see chapter 17.

An excerpt from Albert Borgemann’s 1999 book  Holding on to Reality can be found on the University of Chicago Press Web site.

For help with style matters, visit the regularly updated feature “The Chicago Manual of Style” Q&A on our Website.

8.199  Web sites.  Web sites, if titled, should be set in roman, headline style, without quotation marks.  For typographic treatment of URLs, see 6.17, 6.82, 6.110,6.119, 7.44.

8.200  Electronic files.   File names may be italicized or set in roman, capitalized or lowercased        79.

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Punctuating Unpublished Works

8.195  Written Works.  Titles of unpublished works–theses, dissertations, manuscripts in collections, printouts of speeches, and so on–are set in roman type, capitalized as titles, and enclosed in quotation marks.  Names of manuscript collections take no quotation marks.  The title of a not-yet-published book that is under contract may be italicised, but the word forth-coming (or in press or some other equivalent term), in parentheses, must follow the title. For speeches see 8.82.  See also 17.122.

In a masters thesis, “Charles Valentin Alkan and His Pianoforte Works,”…

“A Canal Boat Journey, 1857,” an anonymous manuscript in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, describes…

Letters and other material may be found in the Collis P. Huntington  Papers at the George Arents Library of Syracuse University.

Giangreco’s Third Millenium (forthcoming) continues this line of research.

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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