Word Pairs Is an E-Book

Over 2,000 word pairs with parts of speech, definitions, usage examples, and idioms – now just a click of the mouse away.

Buy the word pairs book at margieholdscourt.com, and run it on any and all of your devices. Have it running in the background as you are editing so that you can quickly confirm whether it is “…has to forgo/forego that money…” or “…rack/wrack your brain….”

What if you have rabbit, and you know that it is not a bunny and that we are not talking rabid? Quickly find rabbit, and you have that other elusive spelling that fits your context. [I am leaving it up to your curiosity to find what that spelling is! J]

And who among us doesn’t have to check affect and effect once in a while?

This is how it works: Look up the word you know, the word you have in your notes. With just one click of the mouse, find that word, and the other possibilities will pop up with it.

Once you buy the e-book, you will have it on all your devices, including the app to run on your smartphone, be it an iPhone or an android.

Buy the word pairs e-book at a special introductory price of $45.00 – good until September 15. Use this code to get the special price when you purchase the book at margieholdscourt.com: ebookword.

Happy punctuating!


More on Hyphens

Remember that hyphenating words in front of a noun is done to indicate those words form a unit.

…long-range plans…
…old-fashioned ideas…
…five-month-old baby…

When the words are already considered to be a unit, no hyphen is required. This occurs with multiple-word compound nouns.

…real estate transaction…
…social security payments…
…high school diploma…

One trick for hyphens is to test whether the first adjective modifies the combination of the second adjective and the noun. If so, there is no hyphen.

…sunny breakfast room…

First, it is a room; then it is a breakfast room; then it is a breakfast room that is sunny. This equals NO hyphen.

…large green bug…

First, it is a bug; then it is a green bug; then it is a green bug that is large. This equals NO hyphen.

Happy punctuating!


The Word “That” — Omitted

We have to be aware when the word “that” is omitted — which usually makes something a dependent clause, needing no comma, rather than an independent clause, which would need a comma.

Suppose [that] a patient arrives on an afternoon and [that] you’ve been in there in the morning.

No comma before “and” because the “that” is understood, beginning a dependent clause, not an independent clause.

…I know that Mr. Smith has drafted a lawsuit in this case and [that] it’s got a petition in it and [that] the petition has sort of the legal crux of what the case is.

Happy punctuating!


To Cap or Not to Cap “Social Security”

Generally speaking, unless you add the word “administration,” “social security” does not need to be capped.

…He is not old enough for social security.
…I will use my social security for that.

A reporter just presented this context, where I think it should be capped as it is talking about the entity.

…Did you speak with Social Security about that filing?

FYI: I will be at the ILCRA convention on September 12. Hope to see some of you there!

Happy punctuating!


The Dilemma of the Word “O’Clock”

There are three separate English rules on how time values should be expressed. These rules depend upon how the number is said:

with “o’clock”             …I got there at — o’clock.
with “A.M. or P.M.”     …I got there at — P.M.
or by itself                  …I got there at —.

In our current era of searchable documents, I believe that we have to alter how times on the hour should be expressed so that the attorney can find them in his search. I believe the form should be with the colon and ciphers for all times on the hour.

The idea that “:00” means “o’clock” is one that grew up many, many years ago. I have never been able to confirm that as an actual rule, however. And in reporting, we do not, with rare exceptions, convert a word that is said into a symbol.

So if you are using the colon and ciphers for times on the hour, whether you are going to add “o’clock,” when it is said, truly depends on how verbatim you want to be. It is my opinion that, if “four” is said, “4:00” should be transcribed and that, if “four o’clock” is said, “4:00 o’clock” should be transcribed.

There are many who disagree with this.

Happy punctuating!


Punctuation Precision This Weekend

Just checking in with a final invitation to join us for a course in punctuation. It is a 20-hour course, divided into two-hour sessions and spread over the next several weeks. At just under $20 per CEU, it is the best deal in town!

Recordings will be made of each session. If you have to miss a session, you may write a detailed summary of the session for credit.

Here is the link for details and registration: http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/component/content/article/43-loocs/450-cre303-punctuation-precision

Happy punctuating!


“Such As”

The phrase “such as” is punctuated according to the rules of essential/nonessential.

…The sciences such as chemistry and physics are viewed to be…
…Cars such as Ford and GM are beyond…

..He enjoys Pepsi products, such as Mug root beer, more than…

Frankly, it is difficult for me to think of a good example where it does take a comma. It is most often essential and does not need punctuation.

Happy punctuating!



A great reference — onelook.com is a dictionary website. It is most useful for the the FORM of a word. You already know the meaning of swap meet, but is it one word or two words or hyphenated? Put in the entry in each form and see how many dictionaries list it as one or two or hyphenated. For this word, for example, approximately 20-plus dictionaries list it as two words and only a few as one word. You conclude that it is two words.

When the number is even on both sides, default to Merriam-Webster, remembering that the hardback is almost 20 years old. Work with a current subscription of M-W.

Happy punctuating!


Letter-for-Letter Spelling

When a person is spelling a name, there are several rules that apply:

The spelling looks exactly as the name looks when simply typed.

…My name is James Edwards, J-a-m-e-s E-d-w-a-r-d-s.

Leave spaces where there are spaces in the name.

…My name is Mark Van Meter, V-a-n M-e-t-e-r.

If someone says “cap” or “capped,” there are two choices:

…My name is McDonald, M-c-D-o-n-a-l-d.
…My name is McDonald, M-c-cap D-o-n-a-l-d.

If someone says “double…,” there are two choices:

…My name is Miller, M-i-l-l-e-r.
…My name is Miller, M-i-double l-e-r.

Happy punctuating!