Writing Notes

(Refer to the Text Fragments post for interesting words and phrases.)


hyphenated words: Generally words migrate from open (two words) through hyphenation to closed (one word).  ‘life cycle’ appear to be skipping the hyphenation phase and though the open form still predominates, the closed form (‘lifecycle’) is gaining.  Before versions are generally considered correct.

get: The helping verb ‘get’ is problematic in phrases such as ‘get married’; in those cases reword to omit the ‘get’.  For example, “we will marry” or “we will say our vows”.  Idiomatic phrases are an issue in certain contexts; a man shouldn’t ask a lactating woman “Got milk?”.

glisten: Moisture is the difference between glistening and glowing – though does that mean that ladies glowing (i.e. politely sweating) are more correctly glistening?

comprise: Avoid the passive use of ‘comprise’.  For example, ‘The set comprises objects 1 through 3’ but not ‘Objects 1 through 3 comprise the set’.  Instead use compose, constitute, or make up.


(Refer to the ‘Words’ section for a comment on hyphenating words.)






Vex, hex, Smash, smooch by Constance Hale, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2012.

Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale,

Wired Style by Constance Hale,

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., and E.B. White

The Careful Writer by Theodore M. Bernstein

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage by xx

Garner’s Modern American Usage by xx

Origins of the Specious by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman

The Accidents of Style by Charles Harrington Elster


Columns and Blogs

Verbal Energy by Ruth Walker in the Christian Science Monitor weekly magazine

Web sites

Constance Hale’s lesson plans based on Sin and Syntax



www.businessdictionary.com and investorwords.com



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