• Melanie Wilson

When in Doubt, Look It Up: Your Grammar Query Is Not Unique

Because my business is all about words, and sentences, and grammar, I am always nervous that I will make a word-choice mistake. It happens. I do have great friends who scour my posts and let me know when I do.

Just yesterday, I had a simple typo and wrote "with" instead of "what." Those mistakes need sharp eyes to find because we tend to read right over them.

Other more interesting mistakes that are hard to see are words or phrases you don't pick up on because you believe them to be correct. You won't catch these regardless of how many times you proofread. If you even have a shred of doubt about usage, just google it. I can pretty much guarantee that someone else had they same query before you and you will surely find your answer.

I received a message today about a Facebook post from yesterday. My original post was a comment about an article on women in leadership roles; I had written that they have a "a difficult line to toe." That is proper usage.

Someone who is looking out for me asked me if I meant "a difficult line to tow." I did not. Toe the line means conform to a rule or standard, such as keeping your toes behind the starting line of a footrace.

Both women who reached out yesterday did so in a private message, which was a nice way for me to recover if I needed to make a change. Reminds me of a not-so-nice example. A few years ago we hosted a backyard party, and I was telling a story. One of my guests stopped me mid-sentence to tell me that it should be “between you and I.” I believe I just walked away from the whole conversation.

My children have grown up being sticklers for grammar. It is quite the coup when one of us gets to correct another. When she was quite young, my oldest used to correct adults. We created a rule that we may only correct immediate family.

Reminds me of another time that my son's fifth-grade teacher made a correction to one of his papers. The problems was that my son was right and her correction was incorrect. I believe we were a little obnoxious and showed up in her classroom with grammar books and teacher voices. I mean, she was a teacher...I didn't think we needed to toe the line in that instance. #grammarpolice #writingbootcamp #grammarruleoftheday

#wordsmatter #grammamatters #writingworkshops



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