Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Do not worry, I will not be giving any grammar lessons, but what I will do is tell you of a few punctuation mistakes I have been making just in case there is someone out there doing the same thing.

I have had my novel edited by someone who is very technical about grammar and well, I made a few very stupid mistakes and I am sort of ashamed to share them, but here goes.

I now know that I should open Dialogue with “(66) and close dialogue with” (99). I Thought any quotation marks would do, which is not true.

I have also been putting a normal hyphen at the end of an interrupted sentence, which is also not correct. The proper symbol is achieved my pressing Alt 0151 (—). “What do you mean—”

Another thing that I am guilty of is putting my full stops and comas outside the quotation marks such as this “I am so hungry”. Instead of writing it like this “I am so hungry.” To me it was so insignificant but I suppose to the trained eye of a literary agent or editors it just screams amateur.

It might all be little things but in the end it creates the wrong impression and I am now working hard to fix it.


  1. I didn't know that about the hyphens. I've been using a normal hyphen all this time. Thanks for the tip. I guess I have some editing to do...

  2. Oh, I've always wondered how to do that longer hypen thingy.

  3. On my Mac I don't have an M-dash that is easily accessible. I just have to type -- and HOPE that one pops up. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

    I'm in love with the semicolon, and find myself using it repeatedly without thinking about it. I love it, it just fits in so well. Apparently that is a big no-no in fiction. Sad face. :(

  4. I didn't know about the long hyphen!
    Good thing you shared!

    I read somewhere that it was postmodern to use single quotation marks rather than double in dialogue! I have yet to see this in practice though.

  5. A big problem with many of us is inconsistency in the use of quotation marks, where we switch form " - " to '- ' in the same piece.

  6. My big no-no is the comma splice. Fortunately, I've had a lot of practice ferreting them out since I work as an editor. :-)

  7. M.J. - You are welcome. I am glad I could help.

    Sarah - I only found out how to do it by accident. I noticed that is what all the published writers are doing in their books.

    Renee - The semicolon is a no no? Wow. Thank you for the info.

    Brianna - Yep, I still need to see it in practice too. Thank you for sharing.

    Bob - I will definitely have to pay attention to that. Thank you so much for sharing and following my blog.

    C R Ward - That is so awesome that you are an editor. Fantastic.


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