Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Grammar Quest #1 - Answers

This is the second half of Grammar Quest #1. If you didn't visit that post, you may want to do so before reading any farther. The answers are below.





Quest #1 passage with mistakes marked:

     Nash paused next to his 72 El Camino and dug in his pocket for his keys.
     “What are you doing?” Vivian screeched from an open second floor window. “Oh, heck no. Your not going anywhere.” She ducked back in.
     Nash cursed and scrambled into the driver’s seat. He had less than a minute to make his escape. Vivian Shacklebolt was a vengeful winch, she’d tear him apart if she got her claws near him.
     He revved the motor and burned rubber out of the drive. His backend fishtailed when it hit the road. He floored the gas as soon as he’d gained control. “Bye.”
     Vivian’s livid, stomping form appeared in his rearview as the smoke cleared. “I hate you!”

Errors:
1. The abbreviated year of the car make should have an apostrophe before it, in place of the first two numerals of the year. Be careful not to confuse a single opening quotation mark for an apostrophe. They curve opposite ways. (CMoS 16th edition, 9.31, pg. 475)

2. The words ‘second floor’ should be hyphenated because they come before the noun they modify, and ordinal numbers follow the hyphenate-before, open-after rule. (CMoS hyphenation chart)

3. In the line “Your not going anywhere,” your is a usage error. It should be the contraction you’re, which means you are. Your is a possessive pronoun.

4. & 5. The last highlighted portion contains two errors. The first is the word winch. This is another usage error. A winch is a device for lifting or pulling heavy items. A wench is a young woman. Nash meant wench.

The second error is a comma splice. The comma after winch joins two independent clauses. Since there is no coordinating conjunction after the comma, this is incorrect. There is more than one fix for this. The writer can add the word and after the comma, trade the comma for a semicolon, put an em dash in place of the comma, or put a period after winch and start a new sentence with she’d. Because these sentences are so closely connected and the pacing of the scene is fast, I chose an em dash.

Grammar Police posts for further study:
(commonly confused words, including possessive pronouns)
(a lesson on hyphens)
(atypical marks of punctuation)
(comma rules)

Corrected version of the passage:

     Nash paused next to his ’72 El Camino and dug in his pocket for his keys.
     “What are you doing?” Vivian screeched from an open second-floor window. “Oh, heck no. You’re not going anywhere.” She ducked back in.
     Nash cursed and scrambled into the driver’s seat. He had less than a minute to make his escape. Vivian Shacklebolt was a vengeful wench—she’d tear him apart if she got her claws near him.
     He revved the motor and burned rubber out of the drive. His backend fishtailed when it hit the road. He floored the gas as soon as he’d gained control. “Bye.”
     Vivian’s livid, stomping form appeared in his rearview as the smoke cleared. “I hate you!”

###

So... How many did you guess?
Did you find them all?


11 comments:

  1. Now I'm trying to remember where I saw one more...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and Liz commented on 'screeched,' although I'm not sure why. I thought people might have an issue with 'rearview' being used as a sort of slang noun, but those kinds of things you can get away with in fiction.

      FWIW, my proofreader looked over it and agreed with my lesson.

      Delete
  2. Wow. I really need to brush up on my grammar skillz, yo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't feel bad. I just got my ms back from my proofreader. It has so many Post-it flags, it looks like a ticker-tape parade.

      Delete
  3. I found more than there were. LOL

    I would have flagged screeched because I keep reading to avoid fancy dialogue tags. But who knows, I've never been a good editor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I pumped this one up a bit because I had to deliver tension and action in such a short few lines. You're right, though. The strength and tone of the dialogue should come from the lines themselves most of the time.

      Delete
  4. Looking at the grammatically incorrect passage is so painful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I didn't do very well either, guess I need to brush up on my grammar skills too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The your/you're ones already drive me crazy.

    ReplyDelete

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