Monday, September 29, 2014

Writing a sentences is a complex relationship.

Everything about chapter 4 and 5 just helped me realize just how much I don't really know about the english language or sentences in general. I wish I could go back and just be in elementary school some days and just write those easy sentences. I walked or the cat jumped. That is when life was easy.
But like with all things in life, we must learn and grow. The way to grow as a writer or editor is to master the sentence and its components. If a tennis player wants to be the best, he must master the backhand because there is no way he can win every match with his serves. It's that we should force ourselves to learn but we should enjoy the journey to becoming a better writer.
Dead constructions is something that I catch myself doing a lot. As the book says their main objective is to just take up space. I can't imagine how many times I have used there is or it is just to add a few more words or pages to my paper. I think it's a silly habit that I fell into early on during my middle school days as I was more worried about page length than the quality of my paper. If everything was spelled right, that is really all that mattered to me.
I felt that I handled chapter 5 better than chapter 4 due to the fact that we are taught about verbs almost the moment we walk into first grade. They make sense to me because we are always doing them even when we are sleeping.

The best chapters in the book or so I think.

I really liked chapters 2 and 3 because I felt that it was something that I needed to read at the exact moment that I read them. In chapter 3, it really helped me look and think about some of the things that I have written lately and change somethings.
Chapter 2 was really funny because I catch myself trying to shortcut stuff all the time when I text. I do not like to use abbreviations or a ton of emoticons but I am always shortening my sentences. Especially on twitter, it is hard to say everything you want to say so I always see myself cutting things short. But the funny thing is that people are still able to decode the message that I am trying to send even though it may not be following any of the grammatical rules that we have been learning.
I didn't realize just how important emails were until I started my internship where I communicate mostly through email. If you don't sound professional, that is going to leave a bad impression for the person that you are talking to.
Chapter 3 was something that really hit home due to the fact that I have been struggling coming up with story ideas for a few weeks now. Not that it is easy for me to whip up a story but it is usually hasn't taken me as long as it has been. After reading that we must do research and go on walks to boost our writing, I have already seen the fruits of those labors. Since I have become more aware of my surroundings my writing has greatly improved.


          Something that many people struggle with is the use of punctuation.  Punctuation is something that can even determine the meaning of a sentence or phrase.  For example, the use of a comma is something that is very important to understand.  When speaking to a person, a comma can save a life.  “Let’s eat grandma.”  What’s wrong here?  Well, first of all, we don’t want to eat grandma, I hope.  The proper way to write this would be, “Let’s eat, grandma.”  This saves grandma’s life by using a comma to change the meaning from literally eating grandma to telling grandma that it’s time to eat.
            Another thing to be aware of is the importance of periods because without periods or even commas sentences like this could become very difficult to follow we won’t know when one idea starts and where another ends therefore it is important to understand periods.  Let’s try that again.  Another thing to be aware of is the importance of periods, because without periods, or even commas, sentences like this could become difficult to follow.  We won’t know when one idea starts and where another ends.  Therefore, it is important to understand periods. 
            Punctuation is very important.  When we utilize it correctly, we are better able to get our ideas across. 

Skyeler King - About Me

            My name is Skyeler King and I am from South Ogden, Utah.  I was originally born in Layton, Utah, but my family made the move to South Ogden when I was roughly three.  This class will be my final class here at Weber State University.  I am very excited to earn my Bachelor’s Degree.  I have majored in Spanish and will be receiving a minor in Communication.  I served an LDS mission in Viña del Mar, Chile.  I loved every minute of it.  I am married to my best friend in the world, Andrea.  We have a beautiful daughter, Paisley.  Paisley is ten months old.  She has been the biggest blessing in our lives and is always happy. 
I currently work for CyberTech.  CyberTech is a company that specializes in geographic information systems (GIS), as well as data integration.  I am the Business Development/Account Manager for our law enforcement division.  We primarily offer solutions to law enforcement to help them facilitate and effectively use their real-time crime centers.  I love my job, even though it requires me to travel and be away from my family.  I work with some incredibly talented individuals and have the opportunity to report directly to our CEO, an Indian man who is by far the smartest businessman I have ever met.
I have several hobbies that I enjoy doing.  I primarily enjoy playing guitar.  I have been playing for about 15 years now and I have loved it dearly.  I have played in several bands and for several events.  My three influences are Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Joe Bonamassa.  I love my guitars like they are my children.  I have a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Telecaster that I use as my primary guitars.  In total, I have roughly 8 guitars. 
My other hobbies include 4-wheeling, hunting, fishing, camping, ice hockey, basketball, xbox, and really anything that can be enjoyed.  I played ice hockey growing up and loved it.  I went on to play in college but was injured before the season officially started.  I was illegally hit from behind cracking my sternum and several ribs.  Sadly, that was the day that I hung up to competitive hockey skates and began to play recreationally.  I love fishing with my family.  There is nothing better than sitting by a lake or a pond and catching fish.  We have a large piece of land in the mountains for 4-wheeling and we have also introduced trout into our pond.
Last, but not least, I have to talk about my dog, Mozzy.  He is a yellow Labrador Retriever who is the sweetest dog I have ever met.  He is only a year old, but he is smarter than any dog I have ever met.  He is such a quick learner.  I enjoy taking him and my family into the mountains to spend a weekend and just relax and have fun.  There is nothing better than that. 
I am very excited for this class and ready to learn.  I do a lot of marketing with my company, as well as daily emails and contacts with individuals.  This class is going to help my grammar seem very professional and I am looking forward to that.

Punctuation is more difficult than I thought...

Chapter 8
There is one thing that I have always done in my writing, whether it be a english paper to a news story. Nonrestrictive or nonessential is something that I have always done and I didn't really know why but after reading this chapter it all makes sense to me. The part that can be taken out is called an appositive, I didn't know that before my time in this class. I feel that is something that I do really well in writing and I feel that the appositives can add a lot to my writing.
I really like reading about the misuse of commas and I realized that I have a lot to work on. Semicolons have always been confusing to me and sometimes I would just throw them in because I felt that it was necessary for some reason. The one rule that I would say that I break the most would be "Do not use a comma to separate from its predicate or object". As I have written more for newspapers and other organizations. I have gotten away from breaking this rule but some of my early writing is full of this mistake.

Please, last load in one hour before closing.
I saw this at the laundromat where I go. It doesn't give the reader a distinction of what they need to load a hour before closing. Someone could take that as loading a shotgun or loading a truck.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Online resources

There are several good websites that I use on a regular basis. The first website is I have this page bookmarked as a favorite on every electronic device I own, in addition to having the app on my phone and tablet. I’m obsessed with it (in case you couldn't already tell). It’s such a great reference tool for spelling or thesaurus questions.

My other favorite online resource is Grammar Girl. Her website is I love this girl! She’s smart, funny and applies all of the really hard to remember grammar rules in a way that is easily understood. I used to listen to her podcast on her quick and dirty tips while driving to work. Her advice is straight-forward, easy to understand and applicable. She has also published several books that are a wonderful resource. They include everything from punctuation, troublesome words and misused words. My favorite is her book that contains words to make you sound smart. After all, who doesn't need a little help with this one?

Editing Error

This mistake I happened upon when I tried to send an email to Alice Lane Home Collection. Their website has a Contact Us section. Under the tab is an option to send them an email. The email address is info@alicelanehome.con


The grammar site I found was an online writing lab, or OWL. The Excelsior College website can be found at I think it was a fun, easy to navigate page with a lot of very useful information. First off, I was a fan of the aesthetics of the page. The layout was appealing and the use of owls was a cute play on words. After the looks of the website drew me in, I started exploring the different information it offered. The home page offered eight different choices: locating information and writing with sources, writing process, grammar essentials, essay zone, digital writing, paper capers, avoiding plagiarism and ESL-wow. For the purposes of this course, I decided to explore the grammar essentials. After clicking on the grammar button, six other options were pulled up: grammar essentials, punctuation, parts of speech, 20 most common errors, online writing resources and how to use OWL. For fun I decided to look into 20 most common errors. Some of the errors included quotation error, comma after introductory element, documentation and pronoun reference. The site is very interactive and gives a lot of information on every available topic. I really liked the way the information was presented. It was very easy to read and understand. This may be a website I use to get some answers in the future.

Now, for my grammar error. As exploring my website for this week’s blog post, I came across this punctuation error.

The grammar site that I found helpful was "A Guide to Grammar and Writing."  The site is super easy to navigate, and allows you to pick the part of a sentence or writing that you have a question about, and it breaks it down into fairly simple terms.  You might have to look past the '90s web design madness, but after ignoring the background and horrible table outlines, it's actually pretty helpful.

This week's editing error brought to you by Instagram.

While I absolutely adore the boots, and I'm impressed that her 12-year-old helped her pick them out, her caption is filled with mistakes!  Hyphens missing and "but" instead of "buy" (though I'm cutting her a little slack there because it came from a phone.  Autocorrect is a pain!).  However, if you want your hashtags to work correctly, please spell "heels" correctly.  No one looking for pictures of high heels will search "heals."  I promise.

-:! Punctuation:,.

I took a magazine article writing class over the summer and the semicolon was a hot topic. Whenever anyone used one, the professor always said that semicolons always make the reader pause. Whenever I would use a semicolon, he would ask me if I could re-write the sentence to make is easier to read. But, I personally think that if a semicolon is used correctly, it should still be easy to read. You just have to follow these few easy rules.

1-      The semicolon is used to connect two complete sentences or independent clauses.
Correct Example: My mother loves peanut butter sandwiches; my dad adds bananas to his peanut butter sandwiches.
2-      When using a semicolon to connect two sentences, the ideas must be related
Incorrect Example: I love summertime; I have a pet cat.
3-      When used in a list, the semicolon separates the items listed.
4-      The semicolon can be used to separate parts of a series that also contain commas

The grammar error I found this week was at my new job. I was making a new postcard and was told to change a few things, but they missed one huge error. The word “thru” was used instead of the correct word “through.”
The online writing lab of Boston College is a very well structured and dedicated writing resource.  The website allows for simple submission of your papers through a document uploading button.   Your paper is then received by graduate and undergraduate staff at Boston College who specialize in peer review.  After submission, it typically takes two or three days business days until you receive your paper in the email with the recommended amendments attached.   The staff at Boston College OWL correct more than just grammar.   The writing review specialists also help with the overall construction of your paper, effectiveness of your argument, and provide personal commentary.

One editing error I have ran across recently had to do with consistency regarding the use of hyphens.  Often times in an article a phrase such as “decision-making” will be used throughout the course of an article sometimes written as “decision making” and a few sentences later as “decision-making.”  It’s a seemingly small error, but when noticed it can hurt the credibility and professionalism of an article.

Writing and Grammar

Forgive me, I'm a little behind.

I loved that Chapter 3 first made the case for writing before stressing the importance of grammar.  Even when you're only writing 140 characters on Twitter, the posts that use bad grammar drive me crazy, and it's even more offensive when those posts are coming from legitimate businesses.  If you want me to take you seriously, use correct grammar.  Otherwise, I will write you off as incompetent.

The excuses that "When Words Collide" makes for using incorrect grammar made me laugh.  "I never learned grammar in school."  What school is this person going to, and where do I sign up?  Just kidding, obviously, since I'm in the class.  Sometimes, when I'm editing a friend or family member's papers, though, I wonder if they went to this grammar-less school.  It's horrifying.

My mistake for the week was brought to my attention by my father-in-law.  He is a manager at Wal-Mart, and a customer pointed out that a product they carry has a horrid misspelling on the packaging.

I honestly had to reread the package a couple of times because I was reading the incorrect spelling rather than "Destroy" like the company meant.  I died a little inside that day.  For the love of the grammar gods, proof your work, especially when it will print thousands of times!

What are we yelling about?

Chapter 6
Until I took an english class last fall, I don't think I was ever really taught all that went into making a sentence work. All I remember from high school and lower-level math classes was just reading a book and than doing a report on it. But this chapter really gave me a good reminder of what I had learned in that class.
It still blows my mind that a noun can be some many different things and after reading this chapter, it is starting to make a lot more sense for me. A noun being a direct object has always been hard for me, I never could figure out exactly why it made sense. But after seeing that it can be used with a transitive verb gives me something to build on as I try harder and harder to get that part down.

Chapter 7
When I write, I usually forget that everything needs to have agreement. Even some of my stories don't have much agreement on the topic I am writing about during the first draft. I have always been confused, whether it be talking or writing, about the use of the pronouns like who, whom, he, she, etc. After learning about the three different forms: nominative, objective and possesive. It gave me a better understanding of what I needed to do to clean up that part in my writing. Once I was able to understand the relationship, I feel like the homework and quiz were a lot easier for me. I was able to actually know why I was using that part of speech rather than just thinking that it sounded right.

Error of the week
A house was for sale when I was driving through Pocatello, Idaho this past weekend and it had a sign that said the following:
3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms
Steal this house.

Quick and Dirty Tips

A good editing site I have found online when I need a little extra help is, which features “The Grammar Girl.” I like to reference this site for help because it not only explains the rule for each question that I have but “The Grammar Girl” also provides the background and context for each rule as well. While it is helpful to understand the rule in its simplest form, it is even better to understand the rule and the context both, so you can apply the rule to other forms or formats that may not necessarily be similar to the examples provided.

I have also been trying to find reminders to go along with the new grammar rules I am learning. For example, with the “who vs. whom rule”, you can replace “he” for “who” and “him for “whom” in a sentence to discover which word to use.  I have found some of these reminders on some of the helpful editing sites I have found, including “Quick and Dirty Tips.”

Editing Mistake

Correct grammar and structure in emails is important, especially relating to professional emails sent by a company or organization. I found this error in an email my wife and I received from our veterinarian’s office this week:

We are sending this friendly reminder because our records indicate that ELSA is due for the following services.”

There are two problems with this sentence the way I see it. First, capitalizing our dog’s name makes it seem as if they are angry with us and does not flow well with the rest of the sentence. Second, they should have put a colon after “the following services” to introduce the list of services due for our pet.

Period. Dot. That's the end.

           When it comes to punctuation, I feel like we should all have a pretty clear understanding on how to use the period. If we’ve made it this far, we should right? Wrong! At least a little bit wrong. Yes, periods signify the ending to a sentence or thought, but many people (myself included) tend to mix up where they belong when quotations are involved. The easiest way for me to remember this exception is to picture the shape of the end quotation or the parenthesis. Both marks are rounded and look like a cap to a bottle, or sentence. It makes it easier to picture a bottle cap holding everything in, including the period.  When I figured this out I told my roommate, “it’s a great reminder for visual learners.”
Speaking of quotation marks, “did anyone else” see the “Friends” episode where “Joey” could not “understand” how to “correctly” use the  “air quotes?” If you didn’t see it, you basically just read it. The whole episode he struggled to understand when to correctly air-quote something. It was funny on TV, but not in real life.

Quotations are another simple part of punctuation that can sometimes be skipped over in lessons because it is just assumed they are understood. Unfortunately, they are frequently over-used or improperly used. I didn’t think of any visual cues for these, it’s just important to remember they are only used if you are writing down something that someone said exactly. Quotes can also break up the flow of reading if used excessively. Before directly quoting a person, take a look at what they said and ask yourself if it “is something that can be paraphrased?” As long as you still give the person credit for the idea, it is appropriate to remove quotations and paraphrase wordy or excessive sentences.

This semester I live in a building designated for the dancers in my program. While we have our own apartments, the shower situation is similar a dorm and five girls share each shower. Once a week management comes through and cleans but after a few weeks of girls leaving products in the shower, management posted the following note.
There are so many ways to correct this because it almost needs to be completely re-written.  I would fix it by saying something like:
Please take your items when you finish a shower. All remaining items will be removed. Thank you.

Playing Catch-up: Punctuation Time

One thing I learned this week is that not all punctuations go inside quotation marks. I have always thought that it was a rule that punctuation goes inside. I actually looked this up this week because I thought I ran into an editing error that I saw in an online article.

The sentence in question had a semicolon outside of quotation marks. When I looked up the rule in when rules collide I learned that is was correct. I learned that the period and the comma go inside quotation marks, but exclamation marks, question marks and semicolons go outside of quotation marks.

My grammar mistake this week comes from a post that showed up in my Facebook news feed today. It said, “Check these guys out! They have a shop in Layton, building a new one in Morgan and have mobile detailing avaliable even in park city! Nothing sucks about a clean car!”

There are several things wrong in this post, including a miss spelling word and no company name. Here is a grammatically correct re-work of this post: “Check out Gorilla Shine Inc.! They currently have a shop in Layton. Mobile detailing is offered in Park City and a new location will open soon in Morgan. There isn’t anything better than a clean car!

To whom this blog concerns.

Another week, another eye-opening list of assignments on our wonderful language. I have used who my whole life and will most likely continue to do so. Whom just does not sound right to me and it is not natural when it comes out of my mouth. However, for the sake of this class, I am trying to be correct and use both in the correct mediums.
Hyphens has always been something I have struggled with. It is hard to know where they do and do not go due to so many different phrases and rules for each different one.
The dangling modifiers and parallelism section actually made sense to me! I will probably say this wrong and confuse people, but what I noticed in doing this exercise and rewriting the sentences was just to rearrange everything so that it makes sense. That sounds stupid, I know. But that is all that we were doing. There was no secret to this assignment, no hidden agenda or rules, just common sense being applied when writing a sentence.

OWL stands for Online Writing Lab, not Ordinary Wizarding Levels

          Over the last five weeks, I have found that many of the rules of grammar are easy to apply, but difficult to articulate. Such is the case with dangling modifiers. They are pretty easy to spot in a sentence because they sound (or look) wrong; however, fixing them is challenging. I came across a very helpful page while I did my dangling modifiers assignment. I kept coming up with solutions that removed the modifying phrase altogether and completely restructured the sentence. This site was great! Here is the link:
I didn’t navigate the rest of the site, but I bookmarked it just in case I need some extra help in the future. If the rest of the modules are anything like this one, I know they’ll come in handy! They started out with misplaced modifiers and worked their way up to dangling modifiers. The module provided two ways to fix dangling modifiers.
  1. Leave the modifier as it is.
  2. Change the main part of the sentence so that it begins with the term actually modified.  This change will put the modifier next to the term it modifies.

1.     Change the dangling modifier phrase to a subordinate clause, creating a subject and verb.
2.     Leave the rest of the sentence as it is.

As I did the assignment, I kept coming up with solutions that kicked my sentence into passive voice. Did anybody else have this problem?

Purdue OWL & Chinese Food

My favorite grammar website is the Purdue OWL. I use this site for every paper that I write. I find the citation section especially helpful when writing research papers. The Purdue OWL is very helpful because it gives examples of how to use words correctly, and gives a list of commonly misused words. I find the section titled "Common Words that Sound Alike" to be very useful, and most of the grammar mistakes that I make can be found on this page. This site is very easy to navigate and has been recommended by many of my past English teachers and professors. This is my go-to site for all of my writing and citation needs. I use it in conjuncture with the current AP Stylebook.

The grammar mistake that I found this week came out of a fortune cookie. This seems like a very stereotypical place to find grammar mistakes. The sentence reads:

Soon someone new coming into your life will be a best friend.

I find the sentence to be muddy and confusing. I would rewrite it as such:

You will soon have someone come into your life, who will become your best friend.

This may be a little long for a fortune, but to me it is less confusing and would be a better way to get your point across.

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Grammar Monster!

Ahhh, cheating on the web; what a great tool! A wonderful grammar site I like to use when I need help doing the assignments for this class is Grammar Monster.  The site explains everything such as, punctuation, parts of speech, confused words and even common mistakes in grammar. For every section you wish to gain information on, this site includes multiple examples and definitions to help you understand these tricky rules.  The neat thing about this site is that you can even chose from eight different languages to learn, and the site will convert to that language and teach you the grammar. Most grammar sites focus on English alone, so that’s why I found this site to be so special. 

Grammar Monster does not necessarily classify itself as an OWL, but I have used some of those sites before and found them not to be as helpful as Grammar Monster. Sometimes a good grammar site comes from the writer’s experience and opinion and not necessarily which is easier to navigate. 

This is a funny spelling mistake I came across on Pinterest the other day. I can’t even believe this person messed up the spelling so bad. Even from first glance it is clear that the word does not even look right.

The Grammar Girl Has You Covered

     My favorite way to learn from and amend my grammar mistakes is from the Grammar Girl’s status updates on Face book. For more in depth investigations into my lack of grammatical prowess the website is my go to source. The advice is nice, straight-forward, even compassionate, regarding our grammatical inadequacies; she does not go off all grammar-Nazi on you. Even the most troublesome quandaries are answered with easily understood groovy memory tricks. In a way it is like the Grammar Girl takes you by the hand and walks you through the Punctuation Jungle, or steers you around the Spelling Iceberg, so you come out the other side better prepared to write more effectively.

     This week’s editing mistake comes from an article about an educational campaign for a program in New York. It is ironic that a $650,000 educational campaign would overlook a grammatical error on any of their material. Something as simple as two simple unnecessary commas can really wreak some grammatical mayhem. It just goes to show anyone can get tripped up by rules and regulations of the English language.

New cooking method?

While doing some editing checks recently, I found the Purdue Online Writing Lab - and have used it several times since then.  It has been helpful, and I am sure I will use it often in the future.

It is well organized and easy to navigate.  The site has a good search feature and several categorical listings on the side of the main page.  After I choose a topic, rules of grammar pertinent to that topic pop up, and there are several examples of the rule in sentences, with both incorrect and correct usage/corrections.  This feature was extremely helpful to me in the lesson on dangling modifiers and how to correct them.  It helped clarify a few points in my mind through the examples and explanation.

These features make navigating and searching through the site quick and efficient.  If I cannot find the item using the search feature, I can use the site map to help navigate. 

In addition to helps for grammar, the site also features sections on pertinent topics such as: Undergraduate Applications; Research paper helps (with both APA and MLA style information); Online Tutors; a Blog with questions, answers and examples; types of writing (i.e. creative, technical, literal, social science, engineering, etc); there is even a section with ESL topics.

This site has been helpful to me this semester, I wish I had found it earlier so I could have used it in my other classes.  It is on my bookmark toolbar now!

Now for your editing enjoyment, take a look at a newspaper clipping my brother sent over earlier this week. While it isn't an error in grammar, it shows the importance of proof reading.