Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The (dreaded) return of Grammar Queen!

Grammar Queen
Good morning, class. Yes, I realize today’s lesson will seem a bit familiar to some of you, but alas, poor Myra. She is swamped by deadlines and was absolutely at her wit’s end for a fresh blog topic. Thus, she prevailed upon me to revisit an earlier lecture (with a few minor updates) and regale you with my intelligence and charm.

Was that a snicker I heard? Go stand in the corner, whoever you are!

Our subject today, as with each of my guest lectures, concerns . . . yes, let’s all chime in together . . .


As writers, certainly you do not have to be told that GRAMMAR IS YOUR FRIEND.

However, as many of you already realize, Grammar Queen is not here to be your friend. Grammar Queen is here to INSTRUCT YOU IN THE RULES OF PROPER GRAMMAR.

Ah, yes, I’ve heard it all before. “But I write fiction. Fiction writers have permission to break rules. We start sentences with and and but. We use incomplete sentences. We let our characters say ain’t, or even to WHO it may concern.”

Believe me, Grammar Queen is not here to compromise your elusive writer’s voice or correct imaginary speakers who may not be as well educated as moi.

Grammar Queen is here to ensure that when you do break the rules of grammar, you are not breaking the rules that truly matter.

What might those be? you may ask. (Notice correct placement of question mark.)

It shall be my greatest pleasure to enlighten you on a select few of my personal favorites. (Any reference to real people, alive or dead, is purely coincidental and is not necessarily to be construed as fact.)

Do not dangle your modifiers.

No, no, no, I am not referring to your overly long beaded necklace that is dragging through your soup. Let me offer some examples.

Incorrect: While feeding the rooster, Ruthy’s new shoes became soiled with chicken poop.
Correct: While feeding the rooster, Ruthy soiled her new shoes with chicken poop.

Incorrect: After searching the house, Mary’s manuscript turned up next to her computer.
Correct: After searching the house, Mary found her manuscript next to her computer.

The point here is that the phrase that begins each of these sentences modifies the subject of the sentence. Ruthy’s shoes obviously were not feeding the rooster, and Mary’s manuscript was not searching the house. Need I say more?

Do not confuse possessives with plurals.

Possessives indicate possession. Plurals imply more than one. How much simpler can it be? One of Grammar Queen’s greatest annoyances is coming upon one of those darling little carved wooden signs indicating ownership of a cabin, boat dock, or some other such charming property. Perhaps you have seen them:

Janet simply needs a sign that states this lovely home is where the Deans live. No need for the possessive form. Therefore the sign should read:
The Deans
As for Missy, she should have informed her sign maker that her sign must read:
Welcome to the Tippenses’ Cabin 
Yes, yes, I know the “es” attached to Tippens seems like too much . . . something or other. But trust me, this is the correct way to imply that the entire Tippens family, not just Missy, owns the cabin (unless she spent some of her advance money without telling her husband).

It would also be correct to say:
Welcome to the Tippens Cabin
Here, “Tippens” is simply used as an adjective modifying “Cabin,” so again, the possessive form is not necessary, nor is the apostrophe in any shape or form!

Unfortunately, the Grammar Queen could go on ad infinitum on the subject of grammatically incorrect wooden signs because she has seen far more in one lifetime than any true grammar aficionado can abide. So we must move on.

Do not forget who is calling whom.

Now we come to the eternal who versus whom debate. “Who” is a nominative case pronoun; “whom” is a subjective case pronoun. But what you call them is not nearly as important as how you use them. To simplify, “who” performs the action of the verb; “whom” receives the action of the verb (or in other uses becomes the object of a preposition, which is a subject unto itself).

Even in my tricky little sentence above, “who” is still performing the act of calling “whom,” even though here “who” follows the verb “forget.” Any questions?

Lest we decide Grammar Queen is becoming slightly too picky, please remember that in naturally written speech (or even in deep POV narration), it is usually perfectly acceptable for your more casual and/or less educated characters to use “who” willy-nilly when perhaps correctly they should really be saying “whom.”

On the other hand, using “whom” incorrectly usually makes even the most intelligent among us appear quite pretentious if not scathingly illiterate.

“I wonder” is a statement, not a question, and therefore requires a period, not a question mark.

Incorrect: I wonder where I put my glasses?
Correct: I wonder where I put my glasses.

Or in dialogue, use a comma:

“I wonder where I put my glasses,” Sandra mused.

There are certain variations of “I wonder” phrasing where different punctuation might be required, but Grammar Queen is already tired of this subject and suggests you invest in a helpful grammar reference book such as Grammatically Correct, by Anne Stilman.

In a compound sentence the comma is placed before the conjunction (and, but, or), not after the conjunction.

Debby writes for Love Inspired Suspense but, Julie writes for Revell.
Correct: Debby writes for Love Inspired Suspense, but Julie writes for Revell.

Incorrect: Debby writes 600-page sagas, but Julie’s novels can easily be read in less than a day.

Oops, that has nothing to do with grammar! Moving along . . .

Do not restrict your nonrestrictive descriptors, and vice versa.

Let us begin by explaining the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive. A restrictive descriptor is essential to the meaning of the sentence, whereas a nonrestrictive descriptor, if removed from the sentence, would not affect the meaning. Nonrestrictive descriptors are set off by commas; restrictive descriptors are not.

Are we clear on this? Perhaps more examples are in order. What is wrong with the following sentence?

Audra’s friend, Tina, is a multiple Golden Heart finalist.

Think . . . think . . .

Alas, if we take this statement as true, it means poor Audra has only one friend, the tireless and loyal Tina. But of course, we know Audra has many, many friends. Thus the sentence should have no commas:

Audra’s friend Tina is a multiple Golden Heart finalist.

The same is true when mentioning a spouse:

Incorrect: One day Cara hopes to meet Pam’s husband Orlando [name changed to protect the innocent]. 

We know for a fact that Pam is not a bigamist, which means we must insert a comma in the above sentence so that it reads:

One day Cara hopes to meet Pam’s husband, Orlando.

And one more example, this time regarding restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses:

The avid fan, who accosted Glynna at her book signing, was quickly wrestled to the ground by Myra.

It should be clear to anyone who has read Glynna’s books that she has more than one avid fan. Therefore the sentence above should contain no commas.

Correct: The avid fan who accosted Glynna at her book signing was quickly wrestled to the ground by Myra. (Although Myra-the-wimp informs me this entire tackling scenario would be highly unlikely and dear Glynna would have to fend for herself.)

We could spend hours and hours discussing Grammar Queen’s pet peeves, but then we would have no time to enjoy today’s sumptuous breakfast buffet. Feel free to nibble on the mixed berry crepes, eggs Florentine, and buttermilk spice muffins while you chat amongst yourselves about any and all grammatical concerns.

As added incentive for our many wonderful and chatty Seekerville friends, Grammar Queen is delighted to offer a fortunate commenter his or her very own copy of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, by fellow grammarian Mignon Fogarty.

Also, should you have any questions for Grammar Queen, feel free to post them in your comments. Grammar Queen is never far from her Chicago Manual of Style and innumerable other grammar reference books. (And she promises not to interrupt Myra’s train of thought any more often than necessary.)

From time to time, Grammar Queen tweets about various grammar topics. You can follow her at http://twitter.com/TheGrammarQueen

Learn more about Grammar Queen's alter ego, Myra Johnson, at www.MyraJohnson.com and on Myra's Facebook page.


  1. It is a great teacher who can add humor to her grammar lesson. Or maybe that was cause I stayed up late to read this post! Have a great day, everyone!

  2. I'm scared to comment! What if I put my comma in the wrong place? I really need this book. Loved your post, it was helpful and funny.

  3. GQ, you little hussy, I'm always half in awe of your brilliance and half ready to smack you.

    Such a conundrum!

    I love funny little weird grammar signs on facebook.... and I bet most of us cringe at the frequent misuse of homonyms or the lack of apostrophes or the people who type everything in lower case without punctuation.

    Sr. Mariel would turn over in her grave to see the way people abuse this sweet language!

    Thanks for being here today, and remember to tell Myra that deadlines are a blessing....

    Deadlines are a blessing...

    Deadlines are... well, you get it!

    Put my message on a note when you slide her breakfast tray through the slot under the door of her writing cell!!! :)

  4. I always love it when Grammar Queen makes an appearance here at Seekerville. Lessons and reminders are always worth our time spent reading them. Thank you.

    I could really use the book you are giving away. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hi Myra,

    I deleted previous comment because of a typo. I need caffeine. Thanks for a great post, and I hope you make your deadline.

  7. Hi Myra,

    I deleted previous comment because of a typo. I need caffeine. Thanks for a great post, and I hope you make your deadline.

  8. Could I hire you, GQ? Do you make house calls??

  9. Where do you buy your crowns. I'd like one?

  10. "Always great information from the Grammar Queen," Rose said bracing for comment corrections. ; )

  11. Grammar makes my head spin, Myra! However, your lessons are always helpful. I need all the help I can get. Thank you.

  12. I would love to be in the drawing for this book.

    I had a wonderful weekend in Florida but now it is time to get back to reading and writing.

    While I was away I came up with a possible solution to a problem with my wip. I am so excited to get back to working on it.

    By the way I met in person Shelley Shepard Gray and mentioned how much Seekerville is an encouragement. She told me that you are a great group of Ladies. Just wanted to pass along the compliment.

  13. Welcome back, Grammar Queen!

    For tackling such a dry topic, you make grammar a hoot!! (Feel free to correct my grammar at any time!!)

    Thanks for reminding us of our usage. I've printed this post off before and I'm printing it off again -- should that be "but" rather than "and?"


  14. GQ,
    I too find the wooden signs annoying. If you're proud of your cabin, you should be proud enough to write a correct sign. It's not that hard.
    Thanks GQ,
    Kathy Bailey

  15. Good morning, dear Seekervillagers! I see it is our own MARIANNE who was first in line for today's lecture. GQ does admire an eager student!

    And TERRI, my dear girl, incorrectly placed commas are my raison d'état! Do not fear my wrath. I only desire to edify.

  16. GQ, I stand in awe of your expertise!

    I look forward to the mornings I awake to find you on Seekerville.:-)

    Grammar is my big headache, thanks so much for your help. You make it fun and easy to understand.

    I already have the book! :-)

  17. RUTHY, I'm sure you were the terror of grammar school! Careful with the smacking, though, or you might dent my tiara.

    Alas, poor MYRA, slaving away in her little writing corner. Yes, I will deliver your message. Deadlines ARE a good thing, as long as one can maintain one's sanity.

    And lately, Myra's is in serious question.

  18. Good morning, CINDY, you sweet, sweet dear! It is always so nice to be appreciated. Certain among this gathering are not always so welcoming.


  19. Hi, JACKIE! Thanks for the encouragement! Sorry I had to invoke GQ today. I tried for Cap'n Jack, but he was out raiding.

  20. Oh, no, GQ! I'm horrified that you revealed to my husband that I've bought a cabin with my advance money!!


    BTW, thanks for clarifying some of these things. I always need a good review! Then I don't have to bug you with multiple, panicky text messages at copy edit time. :)

  21. Uh, oh. Tina is going to buy a crown. How will we be able to bear her royal highness after that??!!


  22. TINA, my services are beyond priceless, as you well know. Also, it appears fuel prices are creeping upward again, so house calls are rather iffy. Not to mention it's really, really hard to get away without Myra. She is such a hanger-on.

    However, GQ is always willing to field the occasional grammar conundrum via email.

    As for my crowns, I have them shipped over from London. The Queen (the otherqueen) and I shop at the same elite crown and tiara boutiques.

  23. Good Morning Grammar Queen. If I make any grammarly mistakes in this comment, please forgive me as I am just now sipping my first cup of coffee. I think I really need that book. In the meantime could you enlighten me on the correct usage of affect/effect? I use other words instead of having to choose between these two.

  24. Ah, ROSE, such a tease! GQ would suggest a comma after "said" in this comment, however. [smiling regally]

  25. CARA, you have put me in mind of a scene from The Exorcist. Not a pleasant thought on so lovely a morning!

  26. WILANI, welcome back from your trip! Florida sounds lovely this time of year, although I saw on the news this morning that the latest cold front may soon reach the area.

    Yes, the ladies of Seekerville are dears, aren't they? (Especially since they put up with me.) Thank you for passing along Ms. Gray's compliments.

  27. AUDRA, my dear, "and" or "but" notwithstanding, GQ remains delighted that you think enough of her infinite wisdom to print off this post.

  28. Yes, KATHY, a woman after my own heart! Why would anyone want to broadcast to the universe that they do not know how to correctly place an apostrophe?

  29. MARY H, thank you for your kind words. It is truly a delight to find such a devoted student in our midst!

  30. GQ, what a great post. You helped me to better understand modifiers. Thank you for that!

    It's because of you I'm realizing I'm not as good with grammar as I once thought. Thank you for the large spoonful of humility. And for teaching us well. :)

  31. MISSY? You mean the cabin was meant to be a secret??? Oh, dear, my deepest apologies! I merely assumed your husband was aware since you had volunteered to host an all-Seekerville retreat at your marvelous cabin on the lake.

  32. I really dislike things which show possession when they really shouldn't! I think I had the comma rule switched for when you tell what friend is helping. I think I would put it to tell which of her many friends when I guess I was supposed to put it only if there was one! Good pot.

  33. BTW, I finally copied that restrictive/non-restrictive stuff and put it in my note app on my computer. So maybe now I'll be able to figure this out more quickly next time!!

  34. Fun way to read about all the bad grammar habits I've developed over the years. Thanks for making smile and groan at the same time!

  35. Good morning, CINDY R!. Oh, yes, the affect/effect dilemma.

    Affect is ALWAYS a verb. Any decisions made today will affect [have an effect on] what happens tomorrow.

    Effect is SOMETIMES a verb and SOMETIMES a noun. Storms had a detrimental effect on the crops. However, a few sunny days will effect [bring about] a quick return to normal.

  36. Welcome back, Grammar Queen. Your visits are always so helpful. The examples you use definitely make the rules more clear. Thank you!

  37. JEANNE, it takes a strong and confident grammar student to admit her weak areas. GQ applauds you.

    In the words of a certain fish:

    Just keep studying.
    Just keep studying.
    Just keep studying. . . .

  38. BECKY, I'm so glad you found some valuable assistance in today's lecture. Bless you, my dear!

  39. EILEEN, I do try to inject a little humor into my lectures. Grammar does not have to be a dull and boring subject. Look around you. The world is filled with grammatical hilarity.

  40. You are so welcome, JILL! I do appreciate your attentiveness!

  41. Tina, my dear, I think you need a crown. Please wear one to the ACFW genre dinner this year!

  42. Good morning, Grammar Queen! I love your lessons. They're entertaining and I learn something I should have already known every time. We own a sign shop. The next time a customer requests a "wooden sign" and we're not sure the apostrophe is in the right place I hope you don't mind if I send you a tweet. It's very rare, but does happen.

  43. JAMIE, I would be delighted to assist with your apostrophe placement! So much better to check first before firing up the wooden sign engraver!

  44. I'm gonna have to save this one. I just WONDER about these things all the time.

    I wonder why???

    Do not restrict your nonrestrictive descriptors, and vice versa. <<< I find this confusing. I'll read it and finally understand it but then I can't REMEMBER it!

  45. Also, now I'm so nervous about my lost manuscript, I really can't focus on anything.

    Ruthy can always get new shoes but I will never be able to rewrite that manuscript.

  46. I'm afraid to comment for fear I might make a mistake, so please enter my name for the drawing. Thank you! ;-)

  47. As an editor, I loved your post! Welcome to Seekerville :) I look forward to checking in throughout the day.

    I'd love to be thrown in Ruthy's cat dish for the contest.

  48. Does THE GRAMMAR QUEEN have a Dummies Edition? I sometimes need help in forming simple sentences.... LOL

    This was a great post! Thank you for sharing.

  49. MARY, you lost a manuscript? Oh, dear, dear me!!! When did this happen? How did this happen? Have you called out the search-and-rescue mice?

  50. Now, MELANIE, there is no reason for trepidation. GQ is here only to assist and advise.

  51. LESLIE, thank you so much for your interest! However, GQ does NOT use a cat dish for my drawings. Only the finest bejeweled crown will do.

  52. CARYL, indeed I have seen a "Grammar for Dummies" edition offered on Amazon. Perhaps I shall consider it as a giveaway to accompany my next lecture in Seekerville. Thank you for the suggestion.

  53. The Grammar Queen rocks!

    I wish you well as you race toward your deadlines, Myra.

  54. Thanks, KELI! It's been a crazy couple of weeks!

  55. Thanks, Grammar Queen! Loved your tips!

    Possessives vs. plurals. Yes! I see those common mistakes on department store signs, in grocery stores ads, and even on school billboards. A pet peeve of mine is punctuation misused AFTER quotes. Example--> The man "snored". Aarrgghh. Drives me a little crazy.

    Oh, and true story: In my local paper a few years ago, there was a poignant story about a man who'd been involved in a terrible car accident. The headline went something like this--MAN RECOVERS FROM BEING IN A MONTH-LONG COMMA. And... to make matters worse, it was a front-and-center story! Where. Was. The. Editor? They needed you, Grammar Queen! :)

    No writer should be without the most recent edition of the CMoS. I refer to mine often. Would love to be thrown in the cat dish for your book! *giggle* WELL... not me, of course. My name.

    Here's to a super day! :)

  56. CYNTHIA!!! Oh, dear, that poor man trapped in a COMMA!!! How utterly painful! So very glad he recovered at long last!

    Yes, I, too, have seen some disturbing headline errors. Hard to imagine these things slip by so easily without some sharp-eyed proofreader catching them.

  57. Haha :) This grammar lesson made me laugh several times. Thanks for sharing! The older I get, the more of a grammar nerd I become.

    No need to enter me for a copy of the book! I've read it--great book!

  58. And when I talk about possessives in my previous comment and leave the apostrophe off!!! Anyone else catch it? *blush* :)

  59. I must not be seeing it, CYNTHIA. Where is the apostrophe missing?

  60. Hi Grammar Queen:

    I leanred a lot I didn’t know and didn’t know I didn’t know with your post today. I do have a few questions.

    1) do I need any commas in my first sentence above?

    2) In the below example were you being funny at the expense of meaning?

    Incorrect: While feeding the rooster, Ruthy’s new shoes became soiled with chicken poop.

    Correct: While feeding the rooster, Ruthy soiled her new shoes with chicken poop.

    I think the correct one should read:

    More Correct? While feeding the rooster, Ruthy’s new shoes were soiled with chicken poop.

    The first ‘correct’ example makes it seem like Ruthy intentionally soiled her shoes with poop. Just take the word ‘chicken’ out of the sentence and you can see how forceful that intentionally appears to be. When I first read this sentence I had the mental image of Ruthy bending over and rubbing poop on her shoes.

    Is that grammar or is it syntax? Who wins in a case like this: Grammar or meaning?

    BTW: Should I have written More Correct? as More Correct:?, More Correct?: or should I have left the colon out as I did? In addition: can something be more correct than something else? This gets into the comparative verses the superlative. (Quiz show comment: “Is that answer correct enough to count as right?”)

    3) The rules seem to be changing. I really don’t know the right way to write this sentence:

    The Jones boat sank.
    The Jones’s boat sank.
    The Jones’ boat sank.
    The Joneses’ boat sank.

    4) Right or pretentious.

    Linda and I went to church.
    Linda and me went to church.
    Me and Linda went to church.

    Which is right? Sometimes using ‘I’ sounds like one is putting on airs.

    I hope all these questions do* not take too much time away from your deadlines. I’d be happy with the answer to any one of them.

    ALSO: Microsoft Word just made me change “I hope all these questions does not take too much time” to “I hope all these questions do not take too much time”. I think it should be ‘does’ because answering my questions is a singular event. Who do you think is right? Vince or the algorithm?

    Thanks. I think it is self-evident that I can use all the grammar help I can get.


  61. Dreaded? No, but intimidated, humbled, and enlightened! (The above thoughts are not complete or punctuated correctly....I'm almost afraid to comment!)

    Grammar Queen, I always learn from your visits to Seekerville. I would never have a question mark in the MIDDLE of a sentence, but I'm learning.

    I don't want to distract anyone from deadlines or such, but I'm confused about punctuation after would. Does the following sentence have a period or question mark?

    Would you please tell me how many Seekers' books were published in 2014_____

    Am I asking or demanding?

    Thank you, Grammar Queen!

  62. Dangling modifiers? Restrictive and non-restrictive

    These are some of the rules that don't stand out to me. I'd never notice them in writing and sure don't in my own. I feel a headache coming on.

    Am I the only one who believes ignorance is bliss?

  63. So, Grammar Queen, let's say the last name of your character is Boden.
    Cole Boden and his brother and sister come to visit.

    You say, "The Bodens are here."
    Is that correct? No apostrophe?

    What about if their name is Vargas
    Cole Vargas
    You say, "The Vargas's are here?"

  64. GRAMMAR QUEEN I just found out I lost a manuscript when I read your blog.

    Up to now, I thought I knew where they all were.

  65. You all know (VINCE AND GRAMMAR QUEEN!) that I am unparalleled in my willingness to mock Ruthy.

    But c'mon people, Ruthy is way too smart to not watch where she steps in the chicken yard.

  66. VINCE, what a delight to field your questions!

    1. No, no comma necessary.

    2. No, I'm sorry, Vince, but my original example of correctness must stand. "While feeding the rooster" refers to RUTHY, not her shoes, as the subject of the sentence (isn't that just like her, stealing the show?).

    If you really want to make your version correct, you must word it thus: While Ruthy fed the rooster, her shoes became soiled with chicken poop.

    And, to be honest, I believe something is either correct or it is not. Just as something is either perfect or it is not. But that is a completely different subject.

    Moving on to item #3.

    3. "The Jones boat sank" would be acceptable. Jones becomes an adjective modifying boat. The only other correct statement is:

    "The Joneses’ boat sank."

    4. "Linda and I went to church." Pretentious or not, this is the only correct statement. Live with it, my dear man.

    ALSO. In your final question, your algorithm (whatever those confounded things are!) is correct informing you to use DO.

    Or you could have said, "I hope answering all these questions DOES not take too much of your time."

    So the question becomes one of which is taking my time: the questions themselves, or answering them.

    Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to pontificate on grammar issues. I feel it my queenly duty and my great privilege.

  67. My dear SHERIDA, your statement is one of those cases where it would be perfectly proper to end the sentence with a period, as in a formal request. A question mark might also be used in a friendlier context.

  68. Welcome, QUEEN CONNIE--excuse me, CONNIE QUEEN! (Don't you just love hobnobbing with royalty?)

    I'm so sorry for your headache, my dear. Try a cool cloth and some ibuprofen and call me in the morning.

    No, dearest, when it comes to grammar, ignorance is not bliss.

  69. MARY, yes, the Bodens have arrived.

    I see the Vargases have also arrived. And no, they do not need an apostrophe because this is the plural form, not possessive.

  70. So . . . are you accusing moi of misplacing your manuscript, Miss MARY???? Implying that, perhaps in some strange way, it is my fault???

    If I were you, I would check RUTHY's chicken coop. But watch where you step.

  71. Grammar Queen, it should be: in grocery stores' ads. I forgot the apostrophe. Ooops! :)

  72. Oh, yes, now I see it! You get a gold star, CYNTHIA, for discovering your own mistake!

    Alas, this is evidence of how easy it is to overlook small details during proofreading. The eye often sees what it expects to see.

  73. Okay, since they're my shoes, I like Vince's take on the chicken poop better.

    And you clowns should assume I've thrust my pink toes into farm boots because my shoes are way too cute to ruin with chicken dung!!!!

    Oh my stars, this is always a fun day. I've made cookies, and I didn't let my little friends help because:

    If Ruthy let the children help, the cookies would be loaded with boogars.

    If Ruthy let the children help, boogars would find their way into the cookies.

    In any case, right or wrong, Ruthy exercised parental judgment and didn't let the little, adorable, disease-riddled urchins near the cookies.


  74. Thank you, Mary.

    I love you.

    My shoes are precious.

  75. Oh dear, oh dear!!! Do keep the boogers out of the cookies!!!

    I believe this is one of those instances where the appropriate phrase is TMI!

  76. I also love that the rules (despite the queen's edict) change about possessive following "s"...

    Jesus' name

    Jesus's name

    Depending on who's signing the check, they do it differently and because I loved SIGNED CHECKS I smile and nod.

    And then I do it their way, like Burger King!!!! :)

  77. My 15yo is quickly turning into a grammar princess, and we are having some fantastic discussions! :-)

  78. Jesus and Moses--two biblical names that often bring up questions when it comes to forming the possessive.

    A good rule of thumb for any name ending in S is how you would naturally pronounce the possessive. Do you find yourself naturally speaking the "s's," or is it more natural to make only one "s" sound?

  79. A 15-year-old grammar princess--how lovely, MEGHAN! I hope you are helping her select a tasteful tiara.

  80. I'll be studying away, GQ. :) That song comes to mind often . . . with fitting lyrics for the moment.

    And I'm so glad you answered the affect/effect dilemma. I struggle with that one too. Copied and pasted so I can remember.

  81. Grammar Queen, I'm always delighted when Myra allows you to take her slot in Seekerville! I love that your feisty spirit is wrapped in a layer of persnickety.

    Please give us a peek at your personal life. Is there a Grammar King? Any little Grammars?


  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

  83. Myra, hope the writing is going well!


  84. Love 'ya, Grammar Queen! I keep note cards of your examples on my desk so I can check on them as I write! Your help is so appreciated. Thanks!

  85. Thanks, JANET! Busily working on revisions to my first-ever Love Inspired contemporary, scheduled for November 2015!

  86. LYNDEE, you are such a dear! I'm so glad to be of help!

  87. Poor Glynna. Left to fend for herself against an avid fan.

    Always a welcome lesson from the Grammar Queen, though I will never get "who" and "whom" correct and that properly placed ? would have blown me away.

  88. WALT, dear lad, whenever you need assistance with your who/whom dilemma, you always know where to find me.

  89. Hello, Grammar Queen. Thanks for the refresher course. Most of these I "know," but the reminder of what they are properly called and the examples of each is greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful day!

  90. Oh, happy day, another QUEEN has joined us! It's a delight to chat with you, STEPHANIE!

    Yes, so many grammar rules we know instinctively (some of us, at any rate) without being aware of what they are called.

  91. It's always a joy to read your posts, Grammar Queen. Thank you for today's lesson!

    The nonrestrictive and restrictive clauses can be a problem at times. Must remember your examples.

    I must admit that Joneses looks odd to me...yet I know you are always right. :)

  92. Of course I am always right, DEBBY. I'm so glad you agree. For that, you shall receive a gold star!

  93. I think most people think you have to use a possessive when referring to family names. Of course, these same people probably don't use possessives correctly when they are supposed to. Even though I am an English teacher by trade, I have to admit your nonrestrictive and restrictive rules made me look twice. Please enter me into the drawing.

  94. Hi Grammar Queen:


    I’m delighted that I got the first one right. I really derive more useful help that I can use immediately from your posts than any others. I think it is time for you to write a book. You could do it in just a few days.

    Here’s the title:

    The 117 Most Common Mistakes Fiction Writers Make and How to Correct them.

    Just list 117 common mistakes and how to correct them and presto you have an instant best seller. Have Myra compile it for Kindle with her Scrivener program and you can be up on Amazon selling books in a week.

    At a low price like .99 to $1.99 a writer would be negligent not to buy it. Better yet, you’d be performing a public service.

    I recommend saying ‘fiction’ writers and going with the odd '117' mistakes because this is more specific and thus more likely to entice a fiction writer to buy it. (She is not likely to own a similar book already.)


  95. Good afternoon, Your Majesty. Incorrect signs are so nerve-racking. I have resisted correcting them so far. There is, however, a sign on one particularly dangerous road hereabouts that is tempting me more every day. The sign is positioned at a 90-degree turn and reads "Drive Slow."

    Someday let's discuss the use of racking and wracking, wanna?

    Nancy C

  96. SANDY, if I made you think twice, I have succeeded!

    Yes, unfortunately, many are possessive/plural challenged.

  97. VINCE, I shall certainly pass your suggestion along to Myra, as I am a slave to her schedule. What clever marketing ideas, too!

  98. NANCY, do grab your can of spray paint and add -LY to that sign one of these dark nights soon.

    Your rack/wrack discussion may have to wait until my next visit, as it is rather late in the day for more serious thought.

  99. Doggone it, Grammar Queen, you get me every single time!!

    I had NO IDEA the complexities of the word "I wonder" in a sentence, so my bad.

    But this??? YOUR bad! "Incorrect: Debby writes 600-page sagas, but Julie’s novels can easily be read in less than a day."

    I wonder if GQ knows that the subtle sarcasm was not lost on this CDQ????

    Great post, my friend, as always, and I forgive you ... ;)


  100. Well, of course, dear JULIE, GQ bows to the CDQ, and I am so grateful you understand GQ's subtle sense of humor was meant only in the kindest way. Hugs, dearest!!!

  101. Thanks for the reminders. I definitely have developed some bad habits. I wonder if we would all benefit from going back to basics and getting rid of some of the slang that is prevalent in conversation.

  102. A little late today Miss Grammar Queen. You always scare me because my punctuation is sooooo bad. chuckle.

    Love you though. Thanks for all the help.

  103. Thank you for your post. I am a grammar rule breaker. I would love to win your book.

  104. MARDELL, thank you for stopping in! I suspect we will never be free of slang, however. Nor, IMHO, will we ever escape those dreadful abbreviations used in texting! ;-D

  105. SANDRA, I love you, too, my dear! But I simply do not understand why everyone fears me so! Have I not repeatedly expressed my deepest desire to be helpful?

  106. BECKY, how kind of you to visit my class! Just remember, whenever you decide to break a grammar rule, GQ may be watching!

  107. The Grammar Queen is not dreaded at all. Thanks for reminding me of appropriate grammar. Sign me up for the drawing to receive a copy of your book.

  108. No doubt Your Highness is as troubled as I concerning the current incorrect use of the nominative case in constructions such as "Thank you for inviting my husband and I to dinner." I hear this from the pulpit, from the market places of America, and read it frequently from people who should know better. My online crit group agreed (Mine being the only dissenting opinion) that the author is correct in this mistake because that's the way people talk and think. She wrote something (not in dialogue but in the character's deep POV)to the effect of, "The officer arrested Dale and I." Languages do evolve and change over time, but surely we cannot redefine "I" as objective case.

  109. Oh Great Grammar Queen,

    I am always informed, intrigued and inlightened by your posts!!! Today was no exception!!! I would love to win that book!!!!
    Is there a rule about exclamation points???!!!

  110. CAROLYN, you are so sweet to say so! I have dropped your name into my crown for the drawing.

  111. Thank you, LEE, for this profound observation. Indeed, if correct grammar goes by the wayside, we shall all suffer immensely. And, truth be told, the correct use of language lies firmly in the hands of writers everywhere. We must stand united!

    Do I hear an AMEN!

  112. EDWINA, I'm delighted to see you again, and so happy to know you feel you have benefited from my lectures. Dropping your name in my crown right now!

  113. I love grammar and loved this post, too!

  114. Grammar Queen reminds me how much I have to learn!