Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Fairy Tale Has A Fairy-Tale Ending

Come closer, child, and hear the wondrous tale I have for you.

Okay, I don't have a tale.  But if you are looking for a list of fairy tales, Wikipedia has got you covered.  I was kind of surprised to see The Wonderful Wizard of Oz listed as a fairy tale but Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood was more what I was expecting.

But today's blog post is about fairy tales.  Well, actually, it's about hyphenation, but fairy tales are more fun, right?

And it's Valentine's Day, so some of you curmudgeonly types may think love stories are fairy tales, but us die-hard romantics believe! But if you are looking for a new twist on the fairy tale, check these out:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


Red Riding Hood

Sleeping Beauty

These are super fun fairy tales, very quick and with a bit of a bite. There are several more available and more planned.

Another series to follow the fairy tale format is Laurie LeClair's Once Upon A Romance series. The series starts with the three King sisters and their happy-ever-afters.

Fairy tale is a noun, by the way (remember, this post is about fairy tales writing editing hyphenation, so back to business!). Yes, nouns can sometimes be two words.  (And as a noun, it's two separate words.)  "Read me this fairy tale," says the little girl in her annoying singsong voice.  

When it's an adjective, it's hyphenated: Everyone wants their fairy-tale ending. 

That little hyphen does such a big job: it changes how a word should be used. Sometimes it goes from the noun form (fairy tale) to adjective (fairy-tale ending). Sometimes it goes from the noun form (a jump start) to the verb form (we had to jump-start the car). Sometimes it goes form the verb form (we lifted off) to the noun form (after lift-off, we enjoyed the ride). And when it's missing, sometimes our brains can get caught in trying to decipher what was meant: there's a difference between the man operated machines and the man-operated machines.

Welcome to the English language, where nothing is simple. 

And Happy Valentine's Day!

(I couldn't resist these geeky Valentine's cards, so enjoy!)

Thursday, February 1, 2018


No, that's not me trying to stay awake. It's me wondering why extra body parts are involved in those actions. Okay, maybe not extra body parts, but extra words.

Take, for instance, nodding. 
Is there any other body part that nods besides your head?


Can you shrug anything but your shoulders? (That's not counting shrugging a coat on or shrugging a shirt off)

Leo's got a shrug AND a nod going on here...

Can you blink anything but your eyes?

In these cases, her/his/my head, her/his/my shoulders, and her/his/my eyes act as filler words.  They aren't (generally) necessary for the reader to know what is going on. Maybe I should call them killer words, because I'm going to kill those little darlings for you. (Well, if I'm copyediting.  If I'm proofreading, I will just suffer silently.)