Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A #NOLIMITS Interview with the Grammar Queen

Myra here. Recently I sat down for an enlightening one-on-one, no-holds-barred interview with the Grammar Queen. 

Amazingly, I am still alive to tell about it.

Although she did rap me on the knuckles a few times for getting a little too personal with my questioning. However, when I explained how her willingness to talk freely on certain subjects could greatly benefit the writers and readers of Seekerville, I got her to open up.

Here’s how the interview went.

original photo: bigstock.com

MJ: Grammar Queen, I just want to say what an honor and a privilege it is to spend this time with you.

GQ: Of course it is, my dear. So why don’t you just say it?

MJ: I . . . thought I just did.

GQ: No, dear. You said you wanted to say—oh, never mind. Please. Ask me whatever you wish. I’m always glad to bestow my wisdom upon seekers after grammatical mastery. Seekers—ha ha! Did you notice my clever allusion?

MJ: Yes, of course, GQ. You are ever the witty one. Ahem! Before we begin, I’m liking your stylish new look. 

GQ: I’m so glad! Yes, I felt it was time for a change. My drab black-and-white world had lost its appeal, and my bejeweled crown and corsage do look so much lovelier in color, don’t you think?

MJ: Most definitely, and you do look divine. Let’s get started, shall we? Since you did promise to answer candidly, my first question is rather personal. What exactly is your fascination with grammar-checking every single word or punctuation mark that passes before my eyes? Or pours forth from my computer keyboard? Actually, fascination doesn’t quite cut it. I’d have to say you’re obsessed—OUCH!!!!

GQ: Dear me, I hope that won’t leave a mark.

MJ: [rubbing hand where GQ impaled it with her crown] Okay, we’ll stick with fascinated. So . . . tell us, please. When did your fascination with grammar begin?

GQ: My grammatical beginnings were quite humble, actually. I was once not so very different from you—

MJ: Um, I hate to break this to you, GQ, but you are me . . . in a freakish, alter-ego kind of way.

GQ: Let’s not get insulting, dear. As I was saying, I began as a student hungry for learning and in love with the written word. Then one day, there it was on the blackboard in front of me, a perfectly diagrammed sentence in all its glorious splendor. Subject, verb, direct object. Modifiers, prepositional phrases, dependent clauses. In the presence of such profundity I could only look on in awestruck wonder, utterly speechless—

MJ: Speechless. Right. [Dodges another tiara swat.] I hope you have that thing insured for dents. Next question. I’m sure you have a list of most annoying grammar blunders. Care to share?

GQ: How long do you have? Because this could take awhile.

MJ: What if we narrow it down to the top three?

GQ: If you insist. Number one would be the incorrect use of a subjective pronoun following a verb, as in, “Give Sue and I a call next time you’re in town.” 

MJ: It should be “Sue and me,” right? Because me is the objective case. 

GQ: Precisely. One would never say, “Give I a call,” would one? So a simple test is to restate the phrase with only the verb and pronoun. The same is true for prepositional phrases, also requiring the objective case. For example, it is blatantly incorrect to say “between you and I.” 

MJ: This seems like a simple enough rule to remember. What do you think the problem is, GQ? Because I hear mistakes like this all the time.

GQ: Apparently, some people think the subjective-case pronoun sounds more educated, which obviously could not be further from the truth. This is snobbery. Pure and simple snobbery. And believe me, dear, GQ knows snobbery when she encounters it. 

MJ: You don’t have to convince me, GQ. Do enlighten us further.

GQ:  In a similar vein, let us address the misuse of whoever/whomever. I frequently hear supposedly erudite individuals saying something like, “I will speak to whomever calls first.” In this sentence, whomever is the subject of a dependent clause, so rightly it should be “whoever calls first.” 

MJ: Right. Whatever. Let’s move on to annoying grammar blunder number two.

GQ: Dangling participles, without a doubt. Here’s an example: “Driving home from work, a pebble hit my windshield.” Now really, one must wonder what that troublesome pebble was driving, not to mention where it may have found employment.

MJ: So obviously, the remedy is to make sure the noun the participle phrase refers to is in closest proximity to the phrase.

GQ: A gold star for you, my dear!

MJ: Great! What’s annoying grammar blunder number three?

GQ: There are so many to choose from! Do I go with the lie/lay confusion? The difference between its and it’s or your and you’re? No, I believe I will choose the pluralization of proper nouns. Certainly you’re familiar with the old saying about keeping up with the Joneses? 

MJ: Not “the Jones’s,” right? The apostrophe makes it possessive.

GQ: At the risk of further confusion, if we are talking about something belonging to the Jones family, the correct form would be “the Joneses’ house,” or if only one family member, “Mr. Jones’s car.”

MJ: I think I get it, GQ. My intention wasn’t to turn this interview into a grammar class, so if any of our Seekervillagers are interested in clarification of these rules, just browse the labels list on the right for “Grammar Queen” (or click on this link) and you can access any of GQ’s riveting lectures. For now, though, let’s talk a little about grammar and the fiction writer. Where do we draw the line between proper grammar and the more natural-flowing style of a novel?

GQ: My dear, I understand completely that a fiction writer’s style often includes incomplete sentences and colloquialisms in order to immerse oneself into deep point of view. Also, when writing realistic conversation in dialogue, fictional characters are not expected to speak with correct grammar—unless it is in their nature to do so. GQ will even permit the random mistakenly used lay for lie in a character’s speech. However, commas and other punctuation always require correct placement. In addition, I must insist upon proper pluralization and appropriate use of the apostrophe or apostrophe-s for indicating possession. Certain rules are not meant to be broken.

MJ: I would imagine, then, that you are a strong proponent of securing the services of a skilled editor—or, at the very least, a good proofreader—for anyone planning to independently publish a book.

GQ: Indeed. I also highly recommend careful proofreading of your manuscript before submitting it to an agent or traditional publishing house. First impressions count!

MJ: I’m in complete agreement. One last question, GQ.  In honor of Seekerville’s eighth birthday, how about sharing eight of your favorite resources for help with grammar and usage?

GQ: Delighted to.
  1. Chicago Manual of Style, and also the CMS website, where you can find answers to many questions of grammar, punctuation, and usage. 
  2. Grammatically Correct: The Essential Guide to Spelling, Style, Usage, Grammar, and Punctuation
  3. Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style
  4. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips
  5. Grammarbook.com
  6. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary and thesaurus for checking spelling and for making sure you use the correct word
  7. Easily Confused or Misused Words
  8. Oxford Dictionaries Commonly Confused Words

MJ: Thank you, GQ. And now let’s open the floor for questions from our Seekervillagers. Don’t be nervous, folks. I promise GQ’s bark is worse than her bite—OUCH!!! 

To celebrate Grammar Queen’s royal visit for Seekerville’s monthlong birthday party, we have some giveaways! Be sure to mention in the comments any of the drawings you’d like to be entered in.

  • 1 copy of Grammatically Correct (mentioned above; paperback for U.S. residents, or Kindle edition for anyone)
  • 1 signed copy of your choice of one of Myra's print novels, including her latest release, The Sweetest Rain, for U.S. residents, or Kindle edition (if available) for anyone 
  • surprise package of books from a variety of Christian authors (U.S. residents only)


  1. I'm not surprised that your number one issue is the you and I or you and me conundrum! The other one is there, they're or their. Thanks, GQ and Myra. I love your tiara...though only from a distance. Thanks for sharing your delightful interview. I'd love to be entered into the last two drawings, please

  2. This is a really helpful post. I got confused sometimes since new authors do these mistakes. Great post, Myra!

  3. Grammer Queen, thank you for a most informative post. May I tell you my secret? I have quit using the words affect and effect because I can't get them write, er right. And what do you think of sentences that begin with a conjunction? Not to mention the sentence fragments. What do my characters always want to end a sentence with a preposition for?
    Please tell Myra I'd love a copy of The Sweetest Rain and go easy on her. She does bear a rather striking resemblance to you. Maybe you should try losing the hat. It makes you look so, well, grammerly.

  4. I used to feel confident about my grammar. These days, however, I find myself doubting proper grammar and punctuation. Perhaps with so many tools readily at my disposal I am not thinking things through thoroughly. I need help! I would love any of the gifts mentioned above.

    Thank you for this enlightening post.

  5. Oh, this is tooooo funny! I'm laughing and pretending I don't break the rules on a regular basis....

    Like Captain Jack Sparrow, I consider them more like "guidelines", LOL! Myra, thank you for this, it's marvelous!

  6. I'm keeping this short to minimise any grammatical errors.

    I'd love a copy of The Sweetest Rain thank you. INT

  7. Mardell, I wonder if that's part of the problem???? We grow dependent on technology to clean things up for us... and we don't think quite as much?

    Still giggling!

  8. Great post Myra & GQ! I with Cindy R., I try not to use affect and effect as it makes me think too much and inevitably I get it wrong. Lay and Lie get me as well. It seems when I was younger I was a better speller and user of the English language then time has passed and I question myself more and more.

    I would love to win any of the prizes this week.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  9. Good grief. This is sort of like when Betty Crocker got a makeover. GQ has gotten a makeover. I do believe it is now evident that she is related to Robin Lee Hatcher. Which makes perfect sense. RLH and GQ. Both use initials and both have perfect posture.

    Oh, GQ!! Thank you for joining our birthday celebration.

    Just don't correct the grammar on the birthday cake, dearie.

  10. I think I've always had a grammar phobia. My college English professor used to laugh at me. He had 3 days of instruction: vocabulary, creative writing, and grammar. I aced the first two days and pulled a D on most grammar days. It baffled him that I could write well but wasn't able to graph a sentence. I attributed my writing ability to being an avid reader. My mom attributed my lack of grammatical understanding to my high school teachers who taught me literature and creative writing but who failed to ever mention anything beyond nouns and verbs. Hmmmm...mother knew something didn't she. I think my college professor just laughed at me for the rest of his life.
    I guess I should ask to be put in the dish for the grammar book. It might be a cure for my insomnia. Winning the other prizes would be more entertaining and definitely would deprive me of sleep! I'm willing to suffer for a good book so put me in that hat.
    Happy birthday Seekers. Keep the celebration going.

  11. GQ, thanks for making me laugh this early in the morning, and thanks for sharing these tips and references.

    Myra, I hope you heal quickly. Ouch!

    Tina, did you know is't pharmacist appreciation month? Behind every good pharmacist is a good pharmacy tech. Thanks for all you do in the pharmacy world, and thanks for all you and the other ladies do for us at Seekerville!

    Have a great day everybody!

  12. Thanks for the early morning laughs, Myra and GQ! These tips are always helpful. I'd love to be put in for any of the prizes. Have a great day!

  13. That was an entertaining start to my day! I love grammar, much to my students' dismay. (o: We are a rare breed, I think.

    I'd love to be entered for the signed copy of your choice of one of Myra's print novels or the surprise package of books. Thank you!!!!!!!

  14. Oh GQ, how I need you!

    Comma's are my weak spot. I've EVEN taken classes and still get confused. *SIGH*

    You should know that I'll never 'dethrone' you!

    Terrific interview, Myra.

  15. I love you grammar queen!

    I am always bothered by obvious mistakes while reading. Those mistakes turn me off of some books. My grammar is far from perfect, but some mistakes are like fingernails on a chalkboard!

    Please enter me in all the drawings.

  16. Learning through humor. That's today's post. LOVE it!!!!
    I still get somewhat confused, so the eight top links are wonderful for me.

    I would love a copy of Myra's latest book.

    Hi Tina: thought of you yesterday when I was getting prescriptions filled for my husband. Said a prayer of thanks for you and Seekerville.

  17. Love this post! I love all things grammarly lol. One thing I've learned, you can't edit your own writing. Your brain sees what you meant and won't catch it. My favorite class in college: Linguistics. We got to dissect sentences. Now, please, tell me why I liked that class?! Thanks for the great post!

  18. Good Morning. Your column sure gets one thinking. The lie/lay is the one I always question myself on. Thanks for the hint. If it doesn't sound right is the first clue for me. Critique partners help too. I love your humorous tone, it makes it easier to learn something and laugh at yourself too. Smile. Thanks for sharing. Put in an entry for me for the package of Christian books.

  19. Lot of laughs here, Myra and GQ! I would like to be in the drawing for Myra's newest book!

    Thanks, Jackie, for pointing out it is Pharmacist Appreciation month.....I DO appreciate my pharmacist as well as Tina's and Jackie's contribution to the pharmacy world....YAY.

  20. Welcome Myra & Grammar Queen! I love these grammar posts and have saved all of them. But I must admit that I always feel a wee bit nervous writing a comment when GQ visits for fear of being, well, UNgrammarly.

    NOW I'm also afraid of getting jabbed with a tiara. :)

  21. Good morning, Seekerville! GQ and I are both semi-alert now, after sharing a pot of Earl Grey.

    MARIANNE, our early bird! We'll put your name in the royal jewel case! Yes, it's much safer to admire GQ's tiara from a loooooong way off! ;)

  22. EVELYN, thanks for stopping in for GQ's interview! She does aim to be helpful, but . . . can you spell A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G?

  23. Excuse me? MOI??? Annoying???

    Poor grammar is annoying.

    Misspelled words are annoying.

    Misplaced commas are annoying.

    But moi?


  24. CINDY, thanks for coming to my defense. You're a true friend!

  25. Grammar day makes me uptight Grammar Queen.

    I remember diagramming sentences is junior high and have started teaching it to my kids. We haven't made it very far into the book, but I'm sure it'll get more fun as dive further in.

    I struggle w/dangling modifiers and commas. It seems to me that the commas rules keep changing. Or maybe I just never understood them the first time around. My sister is a college professor and sometimes she gives different advice than others.

  26. My dear CINDY, one must not fear confusing words. One must conquer them! Be brave my dear. Be brave.

    As for beginning sentences with conjunctions, sometimes in fiction one must do so for effect. (Yes, I said "effect," which in this usage is a noun.) Fiction writers are permitted some liberties.

    But always, always, always within reason!

  27. Hi, MARDELL! I second-guess myself on certain grammar issues, too. That's why I let GQ stick around. She thinks about grammar enough for both of us!

  28. Oh, dear, RUTHY, have you seen Captain Jack recently? I do miss his quaint manner of expression.

    You have my permission to break the occasional rule, so long as you do so judiciously, my dear.

  29. MARY PRESTON, I don't blame you. I wouldn't want to risk another of GQ's tiara swats.

  30. Oh, no.


    Why did I NOT see this coming, and I'm not dressed appropriately! EEEEK!

    Okay, GQ, I brought your favorite cookies and cakes.

    You tell me what they are, and I'll pretend they're here, anything to keep you happy, darling!

    And you two drank Earl Grey in the A.M.?????

    (walks away, shaking her coffee-addicted Yankee head)

  31. RUTHY, you are most perceptive. Yes, I fully believe technology must take some of the blame for our grammatical forgetfulness.

    I do hope our Seekervillagers are aware, however, that computerized grammar and spelling checkers are not infallible.

  32. CINDY W, you and MARY CONNEALY should get along just fine! I don't know how many times GQ has corrected her use of lie/lay. But sometimes you have to pick your battles--LOL!

  33. Hi MYRA,
    What a fun post. I always loved literature class, but English class, not so much. Yet, I can frequently spot mistakes, more for how they sound then knowing all the rules, or "guidelines" as RUTHY says, lol.

    BETTIE, I'm laughing at your being "willing to suffer for a good book", haha, me too.

    TINA, you do realize Robin Lee Hatchers initials RLH are the same as Ruth Logan Hernes, don't you? :)

    I had really planned to follow MARY PRESTON'S example and keep my comments to a minimum to avoid mistakes, somehow it didn't happen. It's just too much fun.

    I'd love to read The Sweetest Rain, especially now that I'm sure GQ has edited it ;)

  34. Eeeeeeeeekkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GQ is in the house and I have to get out of here before she notices my affection for the beauteous exclamation mark!!!!! Do you think she's seen me yet?! I don't want to feel the wrath of her lashing crown!!! Yikes!!! I'm out of here!!! Enjoy your day everyone...though what with talking grammar for hours, I don't see how that's possible!!! Oops -- did I say that out loud?! Rats! Now I'm worrying about that comma placement!!! Toodles!!!!

  35. TINA, darling, I promise I shall leave the birthday cake unscathed. Do save me a tiny piece, though. One with extra frosting, if you please?

    I assure you, I am not at all related to this RLH of whom you speak. But, now that you mention it, I do see a slight resemblance.

  36. Hi, BETTIE! Storytelling and grammatical expertise are two separate skills, that's for sure! And you don't always have to know what elements of a sentence are called in order to use them correctly.

    BUT--and I think I can speak for GQ here--when it comes time to submit your manuscript to an agent or editor, it's worth the extra effort to have it carefully proofread by someone who can pick up on any problem areas. As GQ said, first impressions matter!

  37. Well, JACKIE, it certainly was not my intention to inject humor into your day. However, if I brought you a smile, how can I complain, especially when you are so polite and appreciative?

  38. Thanks for reminding us about Pharmacist Appreciation Month, JACKIE!

    Next we probably need a TINA APPRECIATION MONTH (or two or three or twelve)!

  39. Humph. It seems everyone here sees me as humorous. I forgive you, JILL, since you, too, have expressed your appreciation for my unique skills.

  40. KATE, I'm afraid you're going to encourage GQ with that kind of talk!

  41. Now that was fun! The word I see used in real life that is used misspoken is seen/saw.
    I seen that before, I seen him go that way. I wasn't very good in English class but I do catch quite a few of your interview mistakes in the ARC's I get to read. I think I'll go read you post again...
    Please toss me into the drawing please for one of Myra's print novels, or a surprise package of books from a variety of Christian authors.

  42. ROSE, my dear! You know GQ is here anytime you need assistance. Persevere, darling. I have confidence in you!

  43. HELLO MYRA. May you continue to reap the benefits of The Grammar Queen. Thank you for sharing your gleaned knowledge!

    Please put my name in the drawing.

  44. thank you for this fun post and yet important. My mother was an English teacher so I had no choice but to learn to speak correctly or else I was sure to be corrected. Even today her grandchildren are warned they had better not talk a certain way around their grandmother. I am grateful for her training me. That being said I wish I had paid better attention. Thank you for the links to places for help. I find when I am writing I have lots of questions.

    Please enter me in the drawings for today.

  45. MARSHA, I completely understand how too many grammar mistakes in a book can be a turnoff. And with GQ always reading over my shoulder, she never lets me miss a single one! Things get even worse when we hear someone on TV use the wrong word. GQ's correction just pops out of my mouth before I can stop her! I'm afraid she's going to really embarrass me in public someday.

  46. Alas, here's another "learning through humor" remark. Thank you so much, DEB H (note the hint of sarcasm in my tone). Don't think you will butter me up by using words like "LOVE," however. I am well aware of the tactics used by troublesome students.

  47. SALLY, it's always a good idea to get a second pair of eyes on your manuscript. Or have somebody else read the ms. aloud to you. The ear may catch things the eye misses.

    Honestly, I don't know what's so fascinating about dissecting sentences, but for some reason it is! (At least to grammar nerds like us!)

  48. SUZANNE, you poor dear, struggling as so many others with the lie/lay dilemma. I'm considering a year-long remedial lie/lay class. We will meet from nine to four each weekday, with nightly homework assignments. Would you be interested in enrolling?

  49. JACKIE S, we're trying to play down the "lots of laughs" thing for GQ's sake. She's a bit touchy about being taken seriously. We wouldn't want to offend her, believe me! The points of that crown are razor-sharp!

  50. Dear GLYNNA, there is no cause for nervousness. I am here to assist. I'm so flattered that you have saved all my lectures, you dear girl!

  51. Myra, thanks for interviewing Grammar Queen for this delightful post! I've got some salve for those whacks on your arms. GQ may need some anger management. Please don't tell her I said that!

    I'm struggling with her makeover. The new look isn't quite as proper as her grammar. With her confidence, I'm shocked she'd consider redoing anything about herself.


  52. CONNIE QUEEN! Welcome to another member of the royal sisterhood! Oh, my, diagramming sentences is simply the most enjoyable pastime! Make a party of it, my dear, and your children will thank you someday.

    It is true that some grammar rules evolve over time, but the fundamentals never really change. There are also some differences between American and British punctuation. I understand it can be difficult to keep abreast of the various rules, but do persist, my dear, and you shall overcome!

  53. Welcome Myra and the Grammar Queen!!! I have some grammatical pet peeves such as using the words "get" and "got". My college students always use them wrong in their essays. I prefer them to just ignore those two words all the time. Makes me cringe!

    I would love to win some free books. Thank you for the opportunity to learn more! God bless!

  54. Well, of course I am here, RUTHY!!! Where would you expect me to be on this auspicious day?

    Cookies? I am partial to white chocolate chips with macadamia nuts. I hear you are an excellent chef, so I shall await with great anticipation whatever emerges from your kitchen!

    With another cup of Earl Grey, if you please.

  55. TRACEY! Yes, we don't complain too much about RUTHY and her "guidelines." I mean, when her books are so good, she must be doing something right!

  56. Stop right there, KAV! No sneaking out, my dear. There is no escaping me, as you should know by now!

    And please don't concern yourself with all those exclamation marks. These are blog comments, not book manuscripts. One knows when one must make exceptions and remain a little more relaxed about the rules. My dear, I would much prefer to engage in lively conversation than frighten you off like a timid little grammar-averse mouse!

  57. My dear DEANNA, you are welcome to revisit my remarks today as often as you wish.

    Ah, yes, the see/seen blunder. Perhaps in some cases it reflects a regional dialect. As for the ARCs, one would hope the problems will be corrected before the final version. Sadly, however, that is often not the case.

  58. Hi, CARYL! Well, one thing's for certain. I'm stuck with GQ, come what may. And she does prove helpful--when she isn't annoying me to death!

  59. Bless your dear mother, WILANI! She sounds like a woman after my own heart! I do hope you will find help among the resources I provided. And remember, I'm never far from Seekerville should you have a quick question I can assist with.

  60. Hi, JANET! Thanks for the salve. That really helps with the sting. I've been wondering if I should get a tetanus booster. Advice from our medically skilled Seekervillagers???

    You know, GQ has been debating this makeover for a while now. I think she was feeling a bit old-fashioned and wanted to step into the 21st century. I doubt it's going to change her attitude much, though. :(

  61. Hello, dear KELLY. "Get" and "got." More colloquialisms, I suspect. Good for you for correcting your students' essays and offering more educated suggestions for wording!

  62. Welcome Grammar Queen:

    I always look forward to your Seekerville visits!
    I learn more per word with your posts than any others I can imagine!

    So I can't waste this opportunity.

    First, an easy question:

    Do the same rules apply to 'whosoever' and 'whomsoever' as apply to 'whoever' and 'whomever'?


    Can you call something an allusion if you refer to the other thing by the exact word used for the other item itself?

    Can you allude to seekers, for example, by using the exact term seekers? Is it an allusion if you refer to your neighbors by saying, 'you have to keep up with the Jonses,' when in fact, you neighbor's name actually is Jones?

    Could it be that when you use the same exact term to refer to two different objects, that it's more of a double entendre? Or does a double entendre always demand a somewhat erotic connotation or subtext?


    I think there is a basic unfairness to the logic behind dangling modifiers. In this sentence, for example, “Driving home from work, a pebble hit my windshield,” would it make any improvement to change the word order to, "A pebble hit my windshield, driving home from work"?

    Is the cure really to, "… make sure the noun the participle phrase refers to is in closest proximity to the phrase"? Doesn't the logic of the sentence have to change and not the proximity of the words? (That is, the 'you' understood made more explicit?)

    But that's not the real issue. As a plotter at a very early age, I loved diagramming sentences in school. So you can imagine my chagrin when my "A+" ability to diagram sentences was dismissed at my new school in the middle of 5th grade when I transferred to St. Virgil's! That school did not feel that the need to learn how to diagram sentences. (This was my first encounter with anti-plotters!!!)

    In any event, when I had to diagram a sentence like: "Driving to work," the subject would be 'you' understood. I'd have to put a 'you' up in the subject position of the diagram in parentheses. So why can't there be a 'you' understood when a dangling modifier is used? 'You' is understood in these cases by all but those with a perverse sense of humor. No one really thinks the pebble was driving a car.

    So there you have it. What I hope will be optimum use of your valuable expertise. (Of course, no Seeker guest is under any obligation to answer any comments they don't want to. But I'd appreciate it.)

    Thanks so much.


    P.S. Please include me in the Kindle version of "Grammatically Correct".

  63. Hello, VINCE, my dear man! Always a pleasure to chat with you!

    Yes, in answer to your first question, the same rules apply as to "who" and "whom." One is subjective case, the other is objective case. "I will give the book to whomsoever I choose."

    As for your second question, GQ must admit to being a bit befuddled! My dictionary offers this definition:

    allude |əˈlo͞od|
    verb [ no obj. ] (allude to)
    --suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at: she had a way of alluding to Jean but never saying her name.
    --mention without discussing at length: we will allude briefly to the main points.

    GQ intended to "mention" the Seekers "without discussing them at length."

    On to your third question. No, I'm afraid you can't simply move the participle phrase; instead you must rephrase the sentence. "As I was driving home from work, a pebble hit my windshield."

    As you can see, there is no "you" involved here. Clarity, my good man. It is all about clarity.

    And my heartfelt sympathies for the removal of sentence diagramming from your fifth-grade curriculum.

  64. Great post Myra (and Grammar Queen)! I think the misuse of the pronoun in the objective case is one of the top grammar mistakes. I think this is because there has been a mistaken notion that it is never proper to say you and me. Even many teachers will mistakenly correct a child to say I instead of me, no matter the placement in the sentence. Not sure how that ever got started.

    I would love to be entered for any of the drawings.

  65. I do not hold Grammar Queen responsible for this AT ALL, but MYRA you deliberately brought up lay/lie to torment me.

    I sort of think I kinda maybe do it mostly right some of the time usually now.


  66. Hi, SANDY! I think GQ agrees with you--too much emphasis on sounding "proper" with "you and I." Thanks to GQ, I just get so annoyed with newscasters and others in the media who get this wrong!

  67. Sorry, MARY, but how could I resist? You know I love you, right? :)

  68. Vince and Grammar Queen are a scary combination. They seem to understand each other quite well.

    I guess I'll just go hide under my porch until Grammar Queen forgets about me.

    Unless I need grammar help of course, then it's straight to Grammar Queen I go.

    PS a person has to know they need help before they can ask and that is the REAL problem (for me), realizing it's wrong.

    Myra, great interview. Possibly the most fun post ever. Educational, too, if one were open to learning.

  69. Your Majesty! I have been looking forward to your visit. Thank you, Myra, for inviting her.

    You addressed one of my pet peeves in this exchange. How often I have wanted to respond, as Her Majesty did, "So why don't you just say it?"

    MJ: Grammar Queen, I just want to say what an honor and a privilege it is to spend this time with you.
    GQ: Of course it is, my dear. So why don’t you just say it?
    MJ: I . . . thought I just did.
    GQ: No, dear. You said you wanted to say ...

    And ... uh ... by the way ... Myra, look what we caught Her Majesty doing!

    The Grammar Queen said...
    And remember, I'm never far from Seekerville should you have a quick question I can assist with.

    Although, "a quick question with which I can assist" does sound so snobby, doesn't it?

    Thanks for a delightful post, Myra! Looking forward to reading more comments this afternoon.

    Nancy C

  70. My dear NANCY, GQ is not above sounding "normal" in conversation.

    MYRA. Stop snickering at once!!!

    And honestly, this rule about never ending a sentence with a preposition? Methinks it is overblown. Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl) will also attest to the fact that this so-called "rule" is a myth. I encourage one and all to visit her website with all manner of grammatical questions. (See the link in my interview.)

  71. Come out, come out, sweet MARY!!! The porch is no place to hide from GQ. Think of the MICE you might encounter down there. Or snakes!

  72. As a former high school English teacher I know the rules. Yet when I'm plugging along on a manuscript my brain will stop and argue with itself over usage, punctuation and even spelling! (Please enter me into your drawing!!)

    Thanks for the refresher!


  73. Why do I always get a little nervous when the Grammar Queen is around?

    Actually, I do have a question. I've found myself avoiding character's names that end in "s" only because I'm not sure how to make it into a possessive.

    So, should it be "James's hat" or "James' hat"? Or does it depend on the publisher?

    Thank you in advance, Your Majesty.

  74. I know what you mean, STEPHANIE. Except I'm always stopping to confer with GQ. It gets really heard to keep up the momentum when I'm always second-guessing myself about a word choice or where the comma should go. I wish I could muzzle her sometimes and just write, but that's harder than you might imagine.

  75. Hello, JAN, you dear girl! A rule of thumb you might employ is to consider whether the "s" after the apostrophe would be pronounced. My personal preference would be "James's hat," because mentally I do hear the "s" at the end.

    In some journalistic mediums, however, the final "s" is often omitted, most likely for space reasons, as in newspaper articles.

    We also encounter the difficulty of too many "s" sounds in a word, which is why we typically see "Jesus' words" or "Moses' law" without the added "s."

  76. Myra, I'm not medically skilled but the way GQ keeps that tiara clean and polished, I doubt you'd need a tetanus shot.

    I guess Grammar Queen's new look proves everything changes.


  77. Snickering at GQ's insight into Mary's phobias to get her out from under that porch.

    Our deck is open underneath and surrounded with latticework, except for the end not far off the ground. A few years back a duck got under there and died, poor thing. My dh got it out without having to remove the latticework. Quite a feat. Be careful where you hide, Miss Mary. You may not be alone.


  78. Grammar Queen, I'll admit I stick commas in willy-nilly. But the use of anxious when the writer means eager bugs me. Am I overreacting?


  79. Myra and your majesty (oh, gracious--should I have capitalized that last one?). Anyway, thanks for a great interview. Unfortunately, you've now slowed my already snail-like pace of writing, since I'll have to be doubly careful not to make a mistake in grammar. As for commas... no, I don't want to talk about such a depressing subject after the performance of the Texas Rangers yesterday. But thanks, just the same.

  80. Good to know, JANET. I hate shots anyway! I'll just apply a bit more antibiotic cream and hope for the best.

  81. JANET, no, GQ does not believe you are overreacting. There are those who use "anxious" when "eager" would be much more fitting.

    However, one definition I have come across for "anxious" is "wanting something very much, typically with a feeling of unease." So depending upon the circumstances, there may be occasions when "anxious" would be an acceptable word choice.

  82. Sorry about those Rangers, DOC! Maybe a little comma discussion might cheer you up a bit? I know it always works for me--NOT!!!!

  83. Grammar Queen, thank you for clarifying. I totally understand using anxious in the context of a Rita finalist waiting for the announcement of the winner. But when anticipating a piece of Patti Jo's peach pie, I'm just eager. There's no unease involved.


  84. So true, JANET! Let us have pie! I eagerly await PATTI JO's arrival!

  85. Evelyn, us old authors make these mistakes, too. lol

    I've had lie, lay, laid explained to me a gazillion times, and I'm not sure I understand when to use the correct word to this day. My solution? I don't use it, generally. If it's (yay, got THAT one right!) unavoidable, I ask somebody like Her Majesty for help. :)

  86. Cindy R, I am not going to read GQ's answers to you're questions. Because I am in the middle of writing a novel. And I don't have time to second-guess myself. lol

  87. Grammar Queen, did you have a face lift? Or are you using anti-wrinkle creams? I hope I'm not getting too personal, but you have a new youthfulness. I'm envious and anxious...or rather eager to learn your secret!

  88. Your Grace, I would like to ensure/insure/be sure that I'm using the "sures" correctly. Could you provide guidance?

  89. As I feared, it is time to revisit my plan for a remedial lie/lay class. Please see above for the details, PAM.

  90. Mardell, write and enjoy the process of creation. Creation can be messy. Have you ever seen an artist's studio? Or a sculptor's workshop? MESSY!

    I'll admit that when I first started writing after being out of the classroom for over 10 years, my grammar and punctuation was pretty bad. It had been a long time since I'd had to remember how to punctuate say ... dialogue. And, really, it's too hard to read a book and figure out WHY one string of dialogue has a comma at the end when another has a period.

    And, remember, 15-20 years ago, we didn't have access to the internet, so that you could google the proper way to use a word or how to punctuate a sentence.

    It probably took me 5 years to be able to recognize a dangling participle. I kept thinking, "What in the world is GQ TALKING about? Looks good to me. Of COURSE the pebble ain't driving. Are you INSANE? Who would think such a thing?" lol

    But I kept writing, listening, reading, and watching, and when I got really desperate, I asked my sister-in-law, who has a masters in English. Okay, I asked her once, and after my head stopped spinning, I determined to figure it out on my own. Small bites, please! loll

  91. Ah, DEBBY, I owe my exquisite beauty and royally wrinkle-free complexion to the timeless magic of photography. You do know this is why some authors never seem to age, at least according to their publicity photos?

    Now I shall attempt to clarify those "sure" issues for you, my dear.

    Ensure means to make certain, as to ensure that you are using the correct word.

    Insure generally means to provide insurance coverage in case of damage to property or one's illness or death.

    To be sure means not to fail to do something. "Be sure to claim your Seekerville birthday month prize."

  92. Bettie, I'm impressed how you're willing to take one for the team! lol

  93. The pebble ain't driving?

    The pebble ain't driving??????

    Now whose head is spinning, pray tell?

  94. GQ said: I'm considering a year-long remedial lie/lay class. We will meet from nine to four each weekday, with nightly homework assignments. Would you be interested in enrolling?

    Do we get mats and get to take an afternoon nap? I mean, we are talking about laying down ..uh...lying down .... uh.... NAP TIME!

  95. Oh, PAM, whatever shall I do with you?

    Yes, you may lie down for a nap once you have laid your assignment on my desk each day. And after you have lain down for an hour, I shall awaken you. Then we shall all lay our books open to the next exercise and try again.

  96. Jan, I generally avoid giving my main characters names that end in "S" for another reason as well. If I change my mind about their name later on, I have to be extremely careful not to goof up that special punctuation when using find/replace.

    Out of over 200 characters (yes, I have a spreadsheet) in my published works, not one of my main character's first names end with S. I do have a handful of secondary characters (Gus and Mr. Gibbons in Stealing Jake) whose names end in S, but it's just something I started avoiding way back in the beginning of my career and I still do it because...well, it makes life easier. :)

    But who can go through life never giving a character the last name JONES? So, I've paid my dues...

    Augustus P. Jones aka Gus, in Stealing Jake.


  97. I thought Ensure was a supplement.

    Oh, dear.

  98. "I thought Ensure was a supplement."

    Well, that, too, PAM!!!!

  99. Thank you, oh learned one! You've made the "sures" easy peasy! I'm grateful! May I shine your crown or perhaps your shoes to repay your kindness?

  100. The pebble ain't driving??????

    Now whose head is spinning, pray tell?

    And after Myra grabs the smelling salts and revives GQ, she raps Pam's knuckles thrice and makes her wear the dunce hat and sit in the corner.

  101. Really, contrary to the way it may look today, I wasn't a trouble-maker in school! Honest Injun! Scout's honor.

    I was a model student. So sweet.

    So well behaved.


    What has happened to me?

  102. "I was a model student. So sweet. So well behaved."

    Of course you were, PAM. Of course you were.

    MYRA, you didn't warn me there would be hecklers.

    Wait. This is Seekerville. I should have known.

    Alas . . .

  103. At least I have gained a modicum of respect from dear, sweet, always pleasant and well-mannered DEBBY!

    Bless you, my dear! Your kindness has made this experience quite tolerable.

  104. Here's a question for the Queen: When I use himself or herself the word processor highlights and questions usage. Are there rules for herself/her self?

  105. Thank you for your kind words, Dear Queen! I am touched and honored. Shall I send chocolates? Or roses? Or both?

  106. I have a question for the GQ. I am never sure with numbers as to whether I should write them out or not, Here are a couple examples for the book I just finished the first draft so I know there is work to be done.

    “28, 29, 30, clear!”


    Chest compressions continued. “28, 29, 30, clear!” Will it work this time?

    Zap. “We have Rhythm!”

    Here is the second example:

    “Hi, Sis, you have a new nephew. Josiah David arrived about thirty minutes ago. He weighs 9 pounds 5 ounces. Has ten fingers and ten toes!”

    Here is a third example:

    “10,9,8,7, 6, 5,4,3,2,1, Blast Off!” I began pushing Rudy in the wheelchair to x-ray. He had fallen off his bike and broken his arm. We had fun pretending we were in a rocket ship headed to Mars. Our game continued through the x-ray with the technician joining the fun.

  107. Happy to address your question, BETTIE. Himself, herself, myself, etc., are reflexive pronouns. We use them when we want to refer back to the subject in question. Here are some examples:

    I admired myself in the mirror.

    Pam patted herself on the back for heckling Grammar Queen.

    Help yourselves to some of Ruthy's cookies.

    The same pronouns can be used as intensive pronouns to add emphasis to a statement. More examples:

    I myself will come to your aid.

    The grammar lecture itself was interesting, but the test was difficult.

    However, it is incorrect to use a reflexive pronoun as follows:

    Seekerville awarded prizes to Tina and myself.

    The error here is that "myself" has no antecedent. That is, there is nothing else in the sentence for "myself" to refer back to. So correctly the word should be "me."

    And I am happy to accept a prize along with Tina. Thank you very much.

  108. Yes, DEBBY. I shall happily accept chocolates AND roses. You dear, sweet thing! Go to the head of the class!

  109. WILANI, you bring up a very good point. There are some general rules about when to spell out numbers and when to use numerals.

    First of all, if the number begins the sentence, spell it out. (Certain style books make an exception if a year begins the sentence, but leave such decisions to the copyeditor.)

    In dialogue, it is generally best to spell out all numbers exactly as the speaker would say them. For example, when a character gives a date or time, you would write, "The invitation said to come at four o'clock on October seventeenth."

    With narrative outside of dialogue, just follow the standard rules, which typically include spelling out:

    -all numbers under ten
    -time, except when followed by a.m. or p.m.
    -numbers that are rounded or indicate an estimate
    -when two numbers are adjacent to each other (spell out the one with the fewest letters)

    When in doubt, visit one of the resources I mentioned in the interview and search for guidance on numbers.

  110. In regard to your specific examples, WILANI, in the case of the CPR countdown in dialogue, you should probably spell out each number, mainly because a number begins the sentence. The same for the 10-9-8 countdown, since all these numbers are 10 or below.

    For the baby's weight, write it as "He weighs nine pounds, five ounces."

  111. BRAVA

    A Perfect Summation!

    Synopsis writers!
    Precis writers!

    All agree with you:

    "It is all about clarity."

    This is why you're my heroine.

  112. Grammar Queen, I always learn from your wisdom. I confess, I have to watch out for those dangling participles in my writing. I don't always see them. I guess I need to visualize the images better to see them the way readers do. :)

    This was such a great post!

    I'd love to be put in all of the drawings.

  113. Ah, VINCE, you are such a gentleman! And a very wise man as well!

  114. Thank you, JEANNE. Yes, dangling participles often fall into the same category as those dreaded floating body parts.

  115. Oh, what fun!! I always love a visit from GQ!! I have to admit I've called on her services often enough--through Myra. ;)

    What a fun post. Love the new photo, GQ!

  116. I always enjoy you're post GQ. Its sure to put a smile on my face. Two bad I don't need any help with my grammer.

  117. Hey, MISSY! Yes, GQ is always excited when you text us with another grammar question. I should let her have her own phone, I suppose, but then she'd probably use up my data plan tooling around the Internet for interesting grammar sites. Bad enough I can hardly keep her off my computer!

  118. Oh, JAMIE, you are such a clever one! And you have brought a smile to my face this afternoon!

  119. BTW, I, too, used to love to diagram sentences. GQ, do you know of a site where you can learn about diagramming? I'd love to do a refresher. It's been decades since I've studied it.

  120. Here is a site you may find useful, MISSY. I see they have several examples and explanations for diagramming sentences.


    What a joy to find someone as fascinated with this activity as I am!

  121. Missy, here's a site I use to help my kids with diagramming. You type in a sentence and they diagram it for you showing you the parts of speech. http://1aiway.com/nlp4net/services/enparser/ I liked to diagram sentences in school.

  122. Perhaps this is the most entertaining post as of yet....I was laughing throughout the entire post! And trying to avoid those sharp points from GQ's crown...OUCH! I have enough trouble trying to type a grammatically correct sentence in an email or blog post, this is why I leave it to the professional writers (such as yourself)!! Thanks for a glimpse into the proper grammar world, well done GQ, well done! :-)

    Please do enter my name for these two drawings, thank you!
    1. signed copy of your choice of one of Myra's print novels, including her latest release, The Sweetest Rain, for U.S. residents, or Kindle edition (if available) for anyone
    2. surprise package of books from a variety of Christian authors (U.S. residents only)

    And lastly, Happy 8th birthday Seekerville...I am most definitely looking forward to all the fun birthday posts!! :-)

  123. Lol. I'm so glad I read this now vs early morning. I imagine sitting in front of my computer, fingers poised on the keyboard, and...nothing. Fear of poor sentence structure holding my mind hostage. Loved this post, Myra! Still chuckling.

  124. Delighted to make your acquaintance, TRIXI! Thank you so much for stopping in to join in our lively discussion.

    Uh-oh, did you get a teensy little scratch from my crown? Here's some antibacterial ointment and a Band-aid.

  125. Story of my life, DORA! No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get GQ off my shoulder. She can be a pain in the . . . well, you know. :)

  126. Dora, we all quake with apprehension when the Grammar Queen is the guest blogger. Although she can be easily swayed with praise, chocolate and flowers. Just an FYI! :)

  127. Those floating body parts: how do you avoid them? I've seen, many times, he rolled his eyes, she threw her hands in the air, her eyes threw daggers, etc. How do you say these correctly? Or, do you not ever use them? Thanks!

  128. SALLY, some of them I just can't avoid! Rolling eyes and throwing hands in the air, for example. Everybody knows what those phrases mean.

    But I do try not to have eyes doing too many other weird things. Instead, I'll use "gaze" or "glance." "His gaze swept the room." "Her glance fell to his hand."

    I will admit, though, that "she threw up her hands" sounds a little . . . disgusting. ;)

  129. Psst, PAM. Our genteel southern belle is brownnosing GQ, which is precisely why she's teacher's pet. Look, she's even admitted as much to Dora!

    VINCE is a close second with his claim GQ is his heroine. What kind of heroine wears a crown and isn't English?


  130. I hear you whispering behind my back, Miss JANET! Watch out, or I'll have you stay after class next time to wash down the chalkboards and dust the erasers.

  131. I suppose it's too late to bri...uh, offer GQ chocolate, roses, or a soft cloth to buff her crown?

  132. Never too late to atone for your misbehavior, my dear PAM. I prefer See's chocolates, if you don't mind, although I wouldn't turn my nose up at some homemade brownies.

  133. Hmmm, a double batch of homemade brownies DOES sound yummy.

  134. Oh! I almost forgot to ask ... Your Majesty, would you please share any tips regarding the use of mantel and mantle? I invariably use the incorrect word.

    Thank you.

    I would like to sign my name as Nancy C ;-)

  135. Now my tummy's growling! Glad it's almost dinnertime! Hope GQ will share some of those brownies for dessert!

  136. Hello again, NANCY C. Yes, many are confused by mantle/mantel.

    MantEL is the shelf over the fireplace.

    MantLE is a cloak; also a responsibility passed down to an individual;, also a region of the earth's interior between the crust and the core.

    Some people remember the difference by thinking of "mantEL" and "shELf." Does this help at all, my dear?

  137. Oh, HA HA, GQ just caught your clever joke!

    Yes, NANCY C, I give you my permission to sign your name thusly.

  138. "mantEL" and "shELf."

    Perfect! Thank you, Your Majesty!

    And thank you to Myra and Grammar Queen for a delightful day of learning.

    Nancy C

  139. You're quite welcome, NANCY! Anyone brave enough to visit Seekerville when GQ is in attendance deserves an extra helping of chocolate! (Me included!)

  140. Oh, my gosh. Where did all these people come from? I could barely squeeze into the room.

    Is there any food left? I'm feeling peckish.

  141. Hey, TINA, I think there may be a few of PAM's homemade brownies. She was trying to get on GQ's good side after dissing her all day. I won't tell GQ if you snag some.

  142. Thank you so much for the explanation!

  143. You're welcome, SALLY! Have a brownie!

  144. Very interesting. I am rather afraid to comment. :-) I would love to win any of the below items.

    1 signed copy of your choice of one of Myra's print novels, including her latest release, The Sweetest Rain,

    Or the surprise package of books from a variety of Christian authors

    Thank you for the chance to win.

  145. Oh, BECKY, fear not! I don't know who has been spreading such nasty rumors about me!

  146. Well, actually, I DO know, but GQ is not one to name names.



  147. Our dog got hit by a car once, not hard, just banged up a little.
    He crawled under our porch.
    We assumed to die, right?
    So My Cowboy crawled under the porch, which is pretty tight, and dragged him out. The dog healed up.

    And I feel safe in knowing that if I did crawl under the porch, I think he would come for me....eventually.

  148. My Cowboy I mean. Not the dog.

    PS Mice are an excellent incentive to keep me above ground. Nice work GQ

  149. Good to know, MARY. Good to know. Because we would all miss you if he just left you there with the mice and snakes and spiders.

  150. This made me smile -
    Precisely. One would never say, “Give I a call,” would one? So a simple test is to restate the phrase with only the verb and pronoun. The same is true for prepositional phrases, also requiring the objective case. For example, it is blatantly incorrect to say “between you and I."

    I was typing something earlier and had just that conversation with myself.

    Sorry to have missed the day with GQ. Looks to have been quite the entertaining session. I happen to share pet peeve number three.

  151. Oh this threw me into giggles and note taking! Thank you Myra and GQ! What a day! Please put me in the draw for The Sweetest Rain!

  152. LOL, OhioHomeSchool!

    I know the feeling. I am ALWAYS afraid to comment on GQ visit days. It's like going back to Catholic Catechism classes. I know that nun is going to slap me.

  153. Miss Grammar Queen thank you from the bottom of my heart for clearing up the lay and lie issue. I refuse to use those words in my wip because I have a terrible remembering which one to use. So I have become very creative in finding other ways to describe that action. Smile

    Sorry I'm late to the party. It looks like you had a marvelous day. Lots of comments. I bet they all trembled to comment as we all worry about our grammar in front of the Queen. chuckle.

    Blessings and thanks again.

  154. Hmmm, Just read what Debby said. Grammar Queen would you like some Sees Candy? And please eat it now so you won't notice any grammatical errors.

  155. OH MY GOSH ... I'm late, I'm late, for a VERY important date! Forgive me, GQ, but I let the day get away from me making edits, but honestly, had I realized YOU were here today, I would have flung those edits aside to sit at the feet of the master!

    I actually have question that, frankly, reflects my frustration with grammar changes over the years. What in the heck ever happened to good, old-fashioned "Mr. Jones' car"??? Now it's Mr. Jones's car, which annoys me to no end!

    Also, I was a writer/proofreader in a former life (ahem, career), and we were taught to omit the comma before a conjunction. And then all of a sudden, BOOM! The Chicago Manual of Style or some other powers that be decide to slip that pesky extra comma in. Well, I have adapted, but in a world where change is constant, it would be so nice to rely on grammar for some pittance of stability, don't you think?

    Thank you for allowing me to "lay" my grievances at your feet. And now, if you don't mind, I need to "lie" down for a nap. :)


    Pssst, Myra -- this blog was an absolute hoot! :)

  156. You certainly make grammar sound like fun! Please enter me in your generous kindle draw for "Grammatically Correct".

  157. @Julie - I was also taught that names that ended with an "s" had the apostrophe added at the end (no double s). Ms. Jones' diamonds ... Jesus' fishing nets. =P

  158. YAY, ARTIST LIBRARIAN (Jen), glad I'm not alone -- and YOU'RE young, too!!! :)


  159. Enough already: The participled noun laid down her proposition on the objective of his phrase while dodging a tiara that flew past the dependent clause looking for employment as an editor. I'm sorry, I had trouble understanding the problems, let alone the solutions. : ) Which brings us to the topic of irony.... hope GQ verified my commas.

  160. Myra, thanks for this helpful post. I love learning grammar rules! There are so many, but I'll take that over Chemistry any day :) Where I live, there are a lot of little lake cabins with handmade signs on trees/telephone poles pointing to shared driveways. SO many people use apostrophes after their last name(The Peterson's, The Smith's) and I don't think they mean to be possessive (this is our cabin). It drives me insane! Whew. Anyway, please enter me in the drawing for The Sweetest Rain. I would love to read it.

  161. Thank you for your post. I laughed about the pebble driving home from work :)

  162. CATE, sorry to have missed your arrival last night, but one must get one's beauty sleep. How encouraging to know we share some of the same pet grammar peeves. Grammarians unite! We will change the word one pronoun at a time!

  163. And once again, thanks to MS. BLACKWELL, I have become the cause of giggles. But I shall forgive you since you admitted to taking notes.

  164. Now we are disrespecting nuns, TINA? Shame, shame!

  165. Glad to be of assistance with the lie/lay issue, SANDRA. Perhaps if you recite the rules 100 times, you will no longer be forced to suffer this irrational fear.

  166. Omit the comma before a conjunction? My dear JULIE, are you speaking of the serial comma in a list? This often comes down to a stylistic issue, usually when there is a need to conserve every teensy bit of space in printed material. The comma before the conjunction in a series is typically called the Oxford comma, and GQ highly favors this for one simple reason:


  167. Hi, JANET! Glad you enjoyed GQ's lively interview. Thanks for stopping by!

  168. My dear DR. WILLIAMS, what a delightful surprise to find you visiting this morning! I know the Seekervillagers are so looking forward to your arrival tomorrow!

    However, I shall not comment upon your lengthy and--ironically--humorous attempt at grammatical levity.

  169. Oh my, JESSICA, those signs drive me crazy, too! GQ has complained about them more than once in her previous Seekerville rants--er, lectures.

  170. BECKY, if you ever see a pebble behind the wheel of a car, I advise you to turn in the opposite direction.

  171. Thank you, THE ARTIST LIBRARIAN, for chiming in. Let me reiterate that this is an issue of style. But generally, the question to ask yourself is, would I pronounce the "s" after the apostrophe or not?

    If you would like to meet me behind the Seekerville schoolhouse to discuss this further, just say the word. Need I remind you the points of my crown can be lethal?

  172. Dear Grammar Queen...yes, it was an "attempt"..'bout all I can manage.

  173. It's the thought that counts.

    Or so some say.

    And, as they say in the South, bless your heart!

  174. Sorry I missed you, Grammar Queen. You've helped me a great deal. Thanks for your time.

    Myra, congrats on the new book. It's on my TBR. :)

  175. Thanks, LYNDEE! And you always know where to find GQ! ;)

  176. I share Grammar Queen's rhapsody over the perfectly diagrammed sentence. So often I use that thought process in determining correct grammar. I don't have a copy of "Grammatically Correct" (Please pardon the quote marks around the title, as this comment box doesn't allow italics.) and would love to receive a copy.

    Now tell me, GQ, if a sentence ends in a title enclosed in quotation marks, does the second quote mark go inside or outside the final punctuation? I've searched for this in CMOS--and it must be there--but haven't found it. e.g. He won the grammar school writing contest with a paper entitled "My Little Brother." or ..."My Little Brother".

    The final quote would be outside for dialogue, of course. Is it different for a title?

  177. Hello, LEE, and thank you for your question. Yes, my dear, the current standard in American usage is for periods and commas to be inside the closing quotation mark.

    Should the title itself end with a ? or a !, those punctuation marks also would remain inside the quotes. Otherwise, type them after the closing quotation mark.

    So delighted to meet another aficionado of perfectly diagrammed sentences! Are they not exquisite beyond description?

    And here's a little tip for you. When you wish to italicize words in a comment box, simply insert html code before and after. I am using spaces here so that Blogger doesn't italicize instead of showing you the html, but you would type:

    < i >the word you wish to italicize< / i >

    Now, just try those sets of symbols without the spaces between them and see if it works for you!

  178. Thank you so much for taking time out to share with us!!!

    Please enter me into the giveaway for the Grammatically Correct book, paperback please. Also for the giveaway for the prize pack of books.

  179. You're welcome, LADY IN WAITING! Thanks for dropping by.

  180. What a fascinating post today. It had me laughing out loud and saying yes out loud. Your article could have been written by my daughter, Jasamyn. She calls herself the Grammar Police. She is 20 and likes to correct everyone when they are grammatically incorrect. For example today I said, The cat lept off the couch. My 11 year old son son said, shouldn't you have said leaped ? My daughter said, no mom was correct it's lept. She very much enjoyed English in school so I think she should become a writer instead of just using her grammar corrections on us. Please enter me for the Myra Johnson book and the prize pack of books. Thank you.

    Deanne Patterson
    Book1lovingmomma at gmail dot com

  181. I would love to win a copy of Myra's new book!

  182. Hi, DEANNE! I'm sure GQ and your daughter would get along great!

    I typically write "leapt," too, but a couple of editors I've had always change it to "leaped." Maybe "leapt" sounds too old-fashioned for them. :-/

  183. Loved your post, Myra - thank you!! It gave me some laughs, also some good reference books to check out.

    Please enter my name in the drawing for your new book, and also for the gift card. I think I entered these comments previously - on the wrong post. My apology to you and Stanley - it's been a long day, LOL!!