By: Rita Ray | January 29, 2018

My friend posted a selfie on Facebook exemplifying the difficulties of short people shopping for pants. We’re both short—like “have to jump to see what’s on the top shelf at the grocery store” short. I started to comment on her post about my favorite pair of ankle-length jeans (which was definitely floor-length on me) when I paused midsentence with a brain cramp: should I use “were” or “was” with “pair” when talking about my go-to jeans from high school?

I won’t leave you in suspense: the answer was to treat “pair” as a singular noun. But why?

A quick lookup in a dictionary clarifies that the word “pair” is both singular and plural.


So how did I decide whether to make “pair” singular or plural? I looked at the meaning I was trying to convey. I...

Category: Clarification 

Tags: Word Wise 

By: Rita Ray | November 23, 2017

Ever get caught up in how to spell or punctuate the name of a holiday? The Chicago Manual of Style lists the following secular and religious holidays, officially designated days, and seasons:

  • All Fools’ Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Earth Day
  • Election Day
  • Father’s Day
  • the Fourth of July, the Fourth
  • Good Friday
  • Halloween
  • Hanukkah
  • Holy Week
  • Inauguration Day
  • Independence Day
  • Kwanzaa
  • Labor Day
  • Lent
  • Lincoln’s Birthday
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • National Poetry Month
  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Passover
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Ramadan
  • Remembrance Day (Canada)
  • Rosh Hashanah
  • Saint Patrick’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Yom Kippur
  • Yuletide

but

  • D-day
  • a bank holiday

You can find this list in the the 17th edition in section 8.89.


Best Wishes,

Rita Ray

By: Rita Ray | September 24, 2017

National Punctuation Day  


Today is National Punctuation Day! This new holiday was originally celebrated on August 22, the birthday of the founder Jeff Rubin. Rubin wanted a date that he could easily remember, but he changed the date two years later to September 24 so that it landed after the beginning of the school year. He wanted to remind educators to teach students that punctuation matters.


Rubin, a former reporter, would get frustrated at errors he would spot in news articles. He said, "I would sit at the kitchen table with my red Sharpie ... screaming obscenities, which would upset my wife. She encouraged me to find another outlet for my aggravation." (Source: CNN) As a result, in 2004 he secured a listing for National Punctuation Day in the...

Category: Uncategorized 

Tags: Punctuation, Holidays 

By: Rita Ray | July 12, 2017

You’ve read and reread your work multiple times. You are positive your blog, letter, or resume is perfect. You publish your post or send off your letter.

And then you discover that you are wrong—right in the first sentence.


You aren’t alone. Proofreading your own work is difficult. Nick Stockton from WIRED wrote an article called “What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos." Stockton does a wonderful job of explaining “typo blindness” and how it happens. To sum it up, our brains are amazing; despite there being a mistake, rather than halt the process of translating the words into meaning, your brain just automatically fills in the information it knows is supposed to be there. However, that typo may trip up your reader...

Category: Helpful Tips 

Tags: Tips 

By: Rita Ray | July 11, 2017

Hello, Visitor:


Glad you have taken an interest in what I have to say. Check back here soon for blog post regarding writing tips and interesting factoids.


Sincerely,

Rita Ray

Category: Uncategorized 

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