WHEN TO USE FEWER OR LEAST: http://www.wordgenius.com
It’s All in the Adjective
“When you’re deciding whether to use “fewest” or “least,” the real question is, what word is it describing? If you’re talking about a noun you can physically count — such as people, books, or spoons — that’s when you use “fewest.” “Fewest” is an adjective describing a tangible number of things.
When you’re talking about adjectives, that’s when you use the adverb “least.” A person is the least friendly, a book the least interesting, or a spoon the least shiny. Here’s another way to think of it: Is there a word you can use in place of saying “least friendly” and so on? For example, you can replace “least friendly” with “mean,” and “least interesting” with “boring.” You can’t do this with “fewest,” since it’s only used for counting, not for measuring quality.”
Check out today’s word-of-the-day Great fun. Each day a new word
A traveler or wayfarer.
WRITING: PASSIVE VOICE
I stole this article from “The Passive Voice – Guide to Grammar and Writing” http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/passive.htm
And: “Active and Passive Voice (Why It’s Important to Prefer Active Verbs)”
I thought this information was well written and amusing. As if anything connected with grammar can be amusing.
- The subject of an active voice sentence performs the action of the verb: “I throw the ball.”
- The subject of a passive voice sentence is still the main character of the sentence, but something else performs the action: “The ball is thrown by me
Verbs are also said to be either active (The executive committee approved the new policy) or passive (The new policy was approved by the executive committee) in voice. In the active voice, the subject and verb relationship is straightforward: the subject is a be-er or a do-er and the verb moves the sentence along. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed (The new policy was approved). Computerized grammar checkers can pick out a passive voice construction from miles away and ask you to revise it to a more active construction. There is nothing inherently wrong with the passive voice, but if you can say the same thing in the active mode, do so (see exceptions below). Your text will have more pizzazz as a result, since passive verb constructions tend to lie about in their pajamas and avoid actual work.
We find an overabundance of the passive voice in sentences created by self-protective business interests, magniloquent educators, and bombastic military writers (who must get weary of this accusation), who use the passive voice to avoid responsibility for actions taken. Thus “Cigarette ads were designed to appeal especially to children” places the burden on the ads — as opposed to “We designed the cigarette ads to appeal especially to children,” in which “we” accepts responsibility. At a White House pressthan “The Head of the Internal Revenue service advised the President that her agency was auditing certain members of Congress” because the passive construction avoids responsibility for advising and for auditing. One further caution about the passive voice: we should not mix active and passive constructions in the same sentence: “The executive committee approved the new policy, and the calendar for next year’s meetings was revised” should be recast as “The executive committee approved the new policy and revised the calendar for next year’s meeting.”
The passive voice does exist for a reason, and its presence is not always to be despised. The passive is particularly useful (even recommended) in two situations:
- When it is more important to draw our attention to the person or thing acted upon: The unidentified victim was apparently struck during the early morning hours.
- When the actor in the situation is not important: The aurora borealis can be observed in the early morning hours.
Remember, passives and/or active verbs are neither right or wrong, when used to make the sentence effective. PASSIVES: USED TO DOWNPLAY THE ACTION OR THE ACTOR.
ACTIVES: USED TO DIRECT ATTENTION TO THE ACTOR OR THE ACTION.
1. George’s head was shaking. The reason he left college was that his health became impaired. Amusing. There were a great number of dead leaves on the ground.
1.B George shook his head. Failing health compelled him to leave college, and now, dead leaves covered the ground. How amusing.
2.A. The mountains couldn’t be seen, hiding behind a massive fog cloud, a shroud of mystery in the distance. Julienne’s attention was focused in the world of her book, so she missed the scent of the rain and the onslaught of the wind.
2. B A massive fog-cloud hid the mountains that now appeared like a shroud of mystery in the distance. Julienne focused within the world of her book, so she missed the scent of the rain and the onslaught of wind.
MEMOIR — VIGNETTE ME
Thought I’d check around to see how many people were either drunk as toddlers or knew someone who was. Is there anyone out there? Please comment. I’d appreciate it. My sister, who wasn’t born at the time, told me most people get drunk as toddlers at holiday parties. True?
A Toddler Gets Drunk in Williston Park, New York
So, what happens when a toddler gets drunk? I mean, really drunk.
I’m not sure of my age, but my Great Aunt Nettie Johnson had a Holiday party when I was just a tyke. An afternoon party, I think—lots of food and lots of booze. My Dad and new mom enjoyed themselves, with my Aunt Nettie, Uncle Albert, Grandmother, Grandfather, and others. Lots of others–all present and accounted for. Oh yes, and then there was me!
While they were all talking about this, that, and the other thing, I enjoyed myself too. I sampled all the drinks in the room. All of them. Had to make sure nobody poisoned the beverages, after all. No toddler would want that.
I managed to bump into several relatives, throw-up, giggle, giggle, and giggle, if I remember correctly. As I wasn’t even two yet, I can only imagine what I looked or felt like. What I do know, my father, Uncle Albert, and several other relatives walked me up and down the street. Up and down—up and down. It seemed forever.
The neighbors stuck their heads out their windows or doorways. They giggled, too. Giggled and pointed. Being the friendly child, I was, I waved back—and giggled.
I’ve never lived that down.
ON WRITING A BIOGRAPHY
By Patricia A. Guthrie
I’m going to start off by saying I suck at writing my own biography. Questions like: how long should it be? What should I say and how should I say it? Especially, how should I say it.
Those questions crossed my mind whenever I made the attempt. Yuck. I got anxiety attacks with every effort.
Since I have a new novel that may come out someday (soon, I hope) and I know some of the rest of you may have books coming out next year, I decided maybe I should look into it. So here goes. When I’m done, I going to ask you to give examples of your own biographies. What’s succeeded, what’s failed. This is how we all learn.
What is a biography? You know the answer already. It’s like a resume in a narrative style.
It’s not as boring or stodgy as a resume and is less formal. It highlights your writing style and your personality.
What kind of biographies are there. Do you mean there is more than one? Yes, Virginia, there is a ________ Oops. No. That’s another article.
Today, we’re discussing our “pitch” biographies, not the full novel size biographies of famous (and not-so-famous) people.
There’s the mini-biography, the short biography, and the long biography.
Here’s why you need one.
Biographies are the second – maybe third most important piece of information you need to sell yourself to a prospective agent, publisher, editor, and the reading public. Biographies go into your query letters, blog, website, marketing material, and book jackets.
Alyssa Gregory in ‘How to Write a Professional-grabbing Biography says, “The main goals of a bio are to give the reader an accurate sense of who you are and what you do to establish expertise and credibility and to qualify your experience and background. All of these elements combine to develop trust in you and your brand.”
So, now that you know you need one, what do you include?
Your first sentence will ALWAYS include your name. I’ll repeat. Your first sentence will always include your name.
Your first paragraph will include your profession. Patricia A. Guthrie is the author of romantic suspense novels. You’ll want to add your experience, other publications and presentations you’ve given, and professional memberships held (do you belong to RWA or Romance Writers of America? Mystery Writers of America? Or other important writing organizations?)
Have you won awards, honors, or certifications? (The Agatha Christie or Edgar Alan Poe Awards? Pulitzer Prize in Literature? (Yeah, sure) Master’s Degree in whatever? Hopefully, your degree will be relevant to your profession or the topic of your book.
Note, I have a master’s degree in Music and I haven’t written a book yet that has to do with a musician or music as the theme.
Of course, you’ll include contact information, a photo of yourself and book(s), and important links. That means your website. You have one, don’t you? Your blog spots or sites.
A Facebook page (FB has an author’s page) Instagram, Linked In, Twitter and Google are all important social media sites as is your email address.
I wouldn’t include your address and phone number on social media. That information will go in query letters.
An important tidbit: Almost always write your bio in the third person i.e. Patricia A. Guthrie is __________. Then go by your last name and your pronoun he or she. This shows professionalism as well as credibility.
There are times when you can use a more personal and informal “I.” One example would be introducing yourself to a live audience. “Hi, I’m Patricia A. Guthrie, author of ‘Waterlilies Over My Grave.’ You wouldn’t want to introduce yourself to a live audience with “she did this and she did that.”
Keep your biography short, including pertinent and interesting information. I wrote a biography last week and had to cull 600 words down to 150. (that was a short biography) Thanks go to Bren Cubbage who helped me get rid of all those goodies I wanted to include, but shouldn’t. I repeat: cut, cut, cut.
There are basically three kinds of biographies. The mini-bio consist of one or two sentences i.e.
Alyssa Gregory is a small business collaborator and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a social, educational, and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.
Alyssa was one source I used for this presentation, so I thought I’d include her mini bio or her “elevator pitch.”
The second kind of bio is the short bio and is the most common. That’s the one that falls between 100 and 175 words. Here’s an example of a short bio. It’s exactly 149 words. (It’s mine)
Patricia A. Guthrie is the author of romantic suspense novels, mysteries, and short stories.
Guthrie’s current published novels ‘In the Arms of the Enemy, Legacy of Danger, Eerie Charms of the Short Story, and Waterlilies Over My Grave are available in online bookstores such as Amazon.com., Barnes and Noble, and other prominent online booksellers.
She also has short stories published on Amazon.com, Skyline Magazine, and Affaire du Coeur and non-fiction articles in the Collie Cassette and the online ‘Nature Journal.’
Guthrie is an accomplished musician: opera singer, church soloist, and music teacher. After leaving the opera world, she became a music therapist in a school for children with special needs and then went on to teach music in the Chicago Public School system.
She’s an avid animal lover and advocate and lives in the Chicago area.
My friend Bruce remarked: “It’s amazing how your life can be reduced to 150 words.” Bruce Berg. (that’s supposed to be funny. It’s also true.) I still think mine can be improved.
The third kind of bio is the longer biography when you have more to say and more time to say it. You might want to include a longer biography on an “about me” page on your website. Even with this, keep it to a minimum of a page and include your picture.
Other important tidbits:
Proofread: Have someone proofread your biography. (Just like everything else you write that goes out to the public)
Change as needed: Don’t be afraid to change your biography as your experience changes. You’ll always be evolving and changing and so should your biography.
Photos will give your audience a more personal insight into who you are. I don’t need to tell you this but, make it friendly and personable, complimented by outfits and hairstyles that flatter you.
Include some interesting facts about yourself toward the end of the bio. Example: Hobbies include skydiving, traveling the world on a freighter (Hemingway did that) acting, singing opera (I did that), or you love nothing better than curling up with a good grammar book (just kidding.) How about religion? Does faith rule your personal world? Should you even mention it? Maybe.
Something that will make your audience go “Oh really?” Make your reader want to know more.
Bios should be tailored to fit the situation and the people who read your material. Make the bio personable, conversational, and interesting.
Another interesting biography:
Frank McCourt (1930-2009) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents, grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. For thirty years he taught in New York City high schools.
His first book, “Angela’s Ashes,” won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Award. In 2006, he won the prestigious Ellis Island Family Heritage Award for Exemplary Service in the Field of the Arts and the United Federation of Teachers John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education.
His biography starts with where he was born and grew up. But doesn’t Limerick, Ireland catch your attention? It did mine.
He includes what he does, what he did, published novels, and awards won. (and what interesting and prestigious awards they are) I know we don’t all have credentials like his, but whatever you do, don’t make them up. Find something in your background you can shout out.
Above all, have faith in your abilities. Have faith in your accomplishments. Have faith that people will enjoy your biography AND your accomplishments. And keep writing, reading, and living a fun-filled life.
Sources: Lori McNee from her blog ‘How to Write a Biography that Gets Read.’ 2011
Alyssa Gregory ‘How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Biography’ 2009
#biography #writing #faith #blog #Alyssa Gregory #Lori McNee #Frank McCourt #Angela’s Ashes #Twitter #Facebook #Instagram #marketing #self-promotion #Bren Cubbage
LEGACY OF DANGER LEAGUE OF THE SILVER CROSS
A tidbit of useful information about The League of the Silver Cross found in LEGACY OF DANGER. Hope you enjoy this, and if so moved, will you please leave a comment on this post, and if you want to, if this book is a genre you like, please leave a short review on Amazon.com.
LEAGUE OF THE SILVER CROSS
So, what is the symbol of the silver cross in Legacy of Danger?
This story dates back from the 14th century when Vlad Tepes ruled Walachia and most of Transylvania. (remember Bram Stoker’s Dracula?) At least, he alternated that rule with the Turks. The Turks had the cross and during the wars in the 1300’s the Boyard Princes stole it back. The silver cross was encrusted with rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires-jewels of the most precious kind. The rubies came from Burma, where the most highly prized gems came from. The Boyards called themselves “The League of the Silver Cross.” In the beginning, Prince Vlad was popular among the people, but he became so cruel and later insane they had to do something. It is rumored he was killed by his own men in one of the Romanian-Turk wars in the 1400’s. The silver cross remained in the Dkany Castle until an earthquake in the 1500’s destroyed it– a rumor. The silver cross is fiction as is LEGACY OF DANGER. You’ll find out about that and more while reading LEGACY OF DANGER. But is any of this true? Much of it is. The League of the Silver Cross is Elena and her family’s history. That is fiction based on truth. Vlad Tepes’ history is pretty much true.
I know many authors don’t like Grammarly. I love it. I can’t believe how many mistakes they found in my edited novel.
WHAT IS HEDGING? A TIP FROM GRAMMARLY
This is my first post on a new blog/web site. I thought this was a great article I found online from Grammarly.
Today, we’re spotlighting a new Grammarly Premium check that’s designed to help you show more confidence in your writing.
What Is Hedging?
Take a look at some of your recent emails. What phrases do you tend to use when you’re making a suggestion or asking a (potentially uncomfortable) question? If you’re like most people, you may use a lot of phrases like “I think we should . . .” or “I feel like . . .” or “It would be great if . . .” All these phrases are forms of hedging—they’re little qualifiers that undermine what you’re saying.
Here’s a tip: Grammarly Premium offers advanced feedback on word choice, sentence structure, writing style, wordiness, and more. Learn More
Why Hedging Is a Problem
There are a few reasons a writer might hedge. Hedging makes your statements less direct, and sometimes that feels more polite, especially if you’re expressing disagreement or criticism. Hedging can also feel like an escape hatch. If you turn out to be wrong, well, it was just a random thought you had . . . But the feeling of safety you get from hedging is only that: a feeling. In reality, hedging makes you look uncertain and unconfident.
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Grammarly’s Path to Effective Communication
Emails have replaced letters. Text messages supersede phone calls. An entire generation has stopped using voicemail. And everything — from our relationships…
How to Avoid Hedging
Hedging can become such an ingrained habit that it’s hard to even notice yourself doing it. Our new check alerts you to phrases that undermine your message and offers you clear and confident wording to use instead. Curious to see what it can do? Read on.
1 I think . . .
Hedging: I think we should set up a meeting.
Confident: Let’s set up a meeting.
2 I feel like . . .
Hedging: I feel like we could find space for one more person.
Confident: We could find space for one more person.
3 It would be great if . . .
Hedging: It would be great if you could turn in your application by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Confident: Please turn in your application by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.
4 Should be able to . . .
Hedging: I think I should be able to finish the research phase this week.
Confident: I can finish the research phase this week.
5 Basically . . .
Hedging: Basically, I’m still waiting for Tim to answer my questions.
Confident: I’m still waiting for Tim to answer my questions.
When you show confidence in your own ideas, others are more likely to support them, too. Although writing without hedging phrases can feel awkward and abrupt at first, it gets easier with a little bit of practice. Plus, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re here to help!
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Weekly Grammar Tips
HOW TO WRITE A BLOG POST
For all you writers and bloggers out there, you might be interested in this fantastic artice by Dan Shewan “How to Write a Blog Post.” I’ve recently renewed my interest in improving and updating my website/blog site, and came across this article about blogging. I thought I’d share. Hope you enjoy this.