June

Use exclamation marks sparingly—as if your entire lifetime allotment is a dozen. We may think these add emphasis to our sentences, but they actually weaken them. Someone once said that an exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.

May

Don’t be embarrassed to close the bedroom or bathroom door and read your piece ALOUD. This should help you SEE and HEAR repetitive words, poorly  constructed sentences, misplaced modifiers and more. Think enough of your writing and your readers to spend time crafting your writing.

February

In good writing, the strongest part of a sentence belongs at the end, not the beginning. For example, don’t end a sentence with “in 2010” or any date. That’s weak and boring, a real letdown. Instead, start the sentence “In 2010” and end with something powerful enough to carry the reader on to the next sentence. The same goes for paragraphs and chapters. End each with a strong sentence with an ending that will make the reader want to read further.

November

In the last issue of Word Song, The Grammar Corner addressed the proper placement of commas, periods and quotation marks. As a reminder, commas and periods ALWAYS go INSIDE quotation marks. No Exceptions! Now, let’s think about two more marks of punctuation: colons (:) and semicolons (;). These two underused but important symbols ALWAYS go OUTSIDE quotation marks.There are absolutely NO exceptions to this rule. Remember: commas and periods always inside, colons and semicolons always outside.

October

In honor of National Punctuation Day (September 24), the following is important information for writers: ALL commas and periods belong INSIDE both single and double quotation marks. There are absolutely NO exceptions to this rule.

September

In honor of last week’s National Punctuation Day (September 24), the following is important information for every writer: ALL commas and periods go INSIDE both single and double quotation marks. There are absolutely NO exceptions to this rule.