|Image by C12|
Articles: Articles (such “the,” “an,” and “a”) should not be capitalized in a title, except at the beginning.
This: Summer of the Gorgola Monster, One Heck of a Scary Beast
Not This: Summer of The Gorgola Monster, One Heck of A Scary Beast
Double Spaces: No need to put two spaces between sentences. This “rule” is a holdover from the days of the typewriter. Modern word processors automatically adjust the spacing between sentences, so it’s no longer correct to include the extra space.
This: The Gorgola Monster rose from the deep. He shook himself dry and roared.
Not This: The Gorgola Monster rose from the deep. He shook himself dry and roared.
Ellipsis: An ellipsis is always three periods.
This: “I don’t know…” she trailed off.
Not this: “I don’t know…….” she trailed off.
Fewer: Use “fewer” to indicate things that can be counted and “less” to indicate things that cannot be counted.
This: I realized we had fewer flowers and less flour than before the Gorgola’s attack.
Not this: I realized we had less flowers and fewer flour than before the Gorgola’s attack.
Independent Clauses: Use a comma to separate independent clauses.
This: The Gorgola roared and charged, and I screamed like a baby and ran like a duck.
Not this: The Gorgola roared and charged and I screamed like a baby and ran like a duck.
-Ly Verbs: It is incorrect to connect a pair of modifiers with a hyphen when the first modifier ends in “ly.”
This: The politically correct game warden refused to shoot the Gorgola, even when it bit my arm.
Not this: The politically-correct game warden refused to shoot the Gorgola, even when it bit my arm.
Punctuation: Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks; colons and semi-colons go outside.
This: The warden said the Gorgola was “endangered”; I said I was obviously the only one in “danger.”
Not this: The warden said the Gorgola was “endangered;” I said I was obviously the only one in “danger”.
Semi-Colon: Use a semi-colon to divide items in a list when one or more of those items contains a comma.
This: I made an inventory: one bite mark; two yellow, size small sneakers; three crushed flowers.
Not this: I made an inventory: one bite mark, two yellow, size small sneakers, three crushed flowers.
Speaker Tag: Unless the action beat interrupts a dialogue sentence or unless you’re following the dialogue with a speaker tag (he said/she said), don’t end dialogue with a comma.
This: “You’re useless.” I stomped away from the warden.
Not this: “You’re useless,” I stomped away from the warden.
Title: Titles (such as “mom” or “dad”) should only be capitalized when used as a direct replacement for a name.
This: I called my dad and asked to talk to Mom about the best way to deter a Gorgola from a campsite.
Not this: I called my Dad and asked to talk to mom about the best way to deter a Gorgola from a campsite.
Tell me your opinion: Do you ever find yourself making any of these mistakes?
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Story by K.M. Weiland