Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grammar-licious: Making Grammar Fun - April

As with any Grammar-licious blog post, you will find several examples included below, but what makes this article particularly fun is that it is all about examples, specifically the when, where, and how surrounding i.e. and e.g.

There is a difference between the two abbreviations. It’s the similarity that causes the confusion. Let’s get to it, shall we?

In everyday conversation, most of us will say “that is” or “for example.” Yet in writing, many of us prefer to use the abbreviations i.e. or e.g. The test is: which abbreviation matches which phrase?

We now need to break for some Latin language lessons. (I did that for the alliteration.)

i.e. comes from the Latin phrase id est, meaning “that is”. You use i.e. when restating or expanding upon the idea. i.e. is used to give a specific, clarifying example, or more than one, but they are specific.

e.g. comes from the Latin phrase exempli gratia, meaning “for example”. e.g. is used when utilizing an open-ended list of examples.

Real world examples:
I love something sweet, i.e., ice cream, after dinner.
I love chocolate candies, e.g., Hershey kisses, Dove bars, and Ghirardelli squares.

My grandmother enjoys playing social card games, i.e., bridge and gin rummy.
My grandfather enjoys playing solo card games, e.g., solitaire.

Susan plays with her sister, i.e., Paula, every day after school.
Susan loves when her cousins, e.g., Robert, Sheila, and Mark, visit at Christmas.

If everything makes sense now, wonderful! If it’s not quick clicking, read on.

How about thinking of i.e. as “in effect” or “in essence”, or use the ‘i’ and go with “in other words”? And for e.g., think of “example given” or key off the ‘e’ and remember ‘example’, as in ‘for example’. Of course, if you remember the trick for one of the abbreviations, you will probably know when to use the other.

Bonus tip #1 - since e.g. represents a partial list, it is redundant to use etc. at the end of any list following the e.g.

Bonus tip #2 – always use periods after each letter in the abbreviation AND use a comma after the full abbreviation

The best rule to follow, if you want to avoid errors, is to not use either abbreviation in your writing. Simply use “for example” or “that is” and you’ll be fine.

This month’s recommended grammar book is: Essential English Grammar by Philip Gucker.

I like finding ways to remember the ‘rules’ and hope you can find something helpful. It’s my hope the monthly grammar techniques and usage examples will make grammar a lot less frightening and potentially enjoyable (can you imagine?) for you.

If you have grammar topics you’d like to see covered, please leave a comment or email me!

(originally published in The TWC Spotlight for March,2009)

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Marketing by Sally Franklin Christie

Marketing, is a word that strikes a note of fear in the heart of every new writer. Marketing, Promotion, Elevator Pitches, Niche Markets, Fan Base, Social Networking and Blogging are only a few buzz words in the writing community. There is no need to fear.

The Writer’s Chatroom is a great place to help sort through the question of what to do after you have a book to market. It is even better to hang out and learn about this aspect of writing before your book is ready to read.

Most aspects of marketing are fun. The more you learn, the less mystifying it is and you can approach it with the same energy that glues your fingers to the keyboard while you get your story written.

There are many ways to work through the maze of buzz words and techniques. I’ll give you three to get you going. You found your way here to TWC, that is a very good start.

Learn the vocabulary. Google the terms.

Ask other writers how they do it. While some say writing is a solitary sport, the internet has made it impossible to exist in a vacuum.

Begin to take full advantage of social networking sites. It won’t take long to build up a group of friends and their friends ask to friend you.

When I began my Tarot Reading Business I used a book called Getting business to come to you
~ Paul Edwards (Author), Sarah Edwards,. While it deals mainly with Print Media, the advice on niches, presentation, marketing techniques and business planning make it worth its considerable weight.

Another book I found useful is Writing for the Web
~ Crawford Kilian. This book helped me understand what a random reader sees when he or she lands on a web page. It reinforced many of the ideas from Getting Business to Come to you.

The Writer’s Chatroom and Audrey Shaffer offer an excellent forum on Branding and Promotion and the feedback from the leader and participants makes enrolling very worth your time.

I’ve covered three things to dampen your fears, and three of my favorite recourses and I’ll end with three cautions.

Do not make marketing more difficult than it is. You are probably already promoting yourself and don’t even realize it.

Do not try to do three things at once. It doesn’t mean you won’t someday become the best juggler in the world of marketing, but no one should start with every ball in the air. Begin with one aspect, for me, it was as simple as switching from screen names to my real name.

Do not stop writing while you learn to market. Although selling your work is a hoot, after it is sold you need something else to sell. Your readers will expect it.

This is my first Blog Post at TWC and I want to say that without you, our readers, our chat participants, and our guests, we would be a hollow, empty and very dull site. I am honored to step up my role as a participant to that of Moderator and hope to be as helpful and kind to each of you as you have been to me.

by Sally Franklin Christie