Karen’s Conundrum – The Apostrophe Catastrophe – REVISITED

The Obsessive Possessive – Part One

REVISITED

“Jesus loves me, this I know …” and because of that, I know all will be forgiven when I revisit “The Obsessive Possessive – Part One” to discuss possessive Jesus, and the Joneses and their possessiveness. Let’s start with Jesus—and then we’ll clear up my Jones faux pas.

If we were to follow the revised CMoS rule (as I cited in my original post)—

 7.16 Possessive of proper nouns, letters, and numbers. “The general rule extends to proper nouns, including names ending in s, x, or z, in both their singular and plural forms, as well as letters and numbers.”

—then possessive Jesus would follow the same form as possessive Jones, and we’d all have Jesus’s blessings as we dove to great depths to find Davy Jones’s locker .

Or so you would be led to believe …

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Karen’s Conundrum – That Highfalutin Hyphen

At a recent CWG critique session, one of the members asked me about hyphenation and if there were any pearls of wisdom I could impart about identifying when phrasal adjectives are hyphenated, and when they are one or two words. At first blush I thought this was a moderately simple question. I answered the query with a promise of a well-detailed, low-maintenance, all-inclusive blog post dedicated to the seemingly innocent, childlike hyphen.

With that bald assertion made, I hightailed it to my office, ready to attack this self-imposed project with quasi ease. And that’s when the truth hit me—bull’s-eye—

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Karen’s Conundrum – The Apostrophe Catastrophe

The Apostrophe Catastrophe

Such a deceiving little character the apostrophe is. It’s light and floats above the line. It flits between letters allowing us to add dialect to our dialogue, condense words, and show possession. At first blush, it looks like a harmless, helpful elf that wins our trust with a wink. And then, just like a light breeze in cahoots with puffy white clouds can turn a beautiful afternoon into a severe weather event, that innocent-appearing mark of punctuation has the uncanny ability to wreak havoc in the mind of the writer, causing the flow of words to come to a screeching halt, and for one to suffer an acute case of monkey brain.

I have been jonesing to attack the rules of the apostrophe and today I begin that challenge. I invite you to accompany me on this journey, but I must warn you, the odds of us sinking to the depths of Davy Jones’s locker are extremely high. In fact, it’s pretty much a sure bet. If you’re still game, let’s dive into the deep, apostrophe-infested waters and tackle …

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Karen’s Conundrum – Stalled on the Road to Homonymy

After thirty-nine consecutive days of editing countless pages of legal nonsense, gobbledygook, gibberish, galimatias; listening to pompous attorneys and egomaniacal experts spout meaningless ipse dixitisms, as soon as I resumed my journey on the Road to Homonymy, I ran out of gas. As I felt myself begin to buck and sputter, I shook my head and muttered, “What a pain in my butt.” I was certain that there wasn’t a thing anyone could do or say that could turn my frown around, that could make me chortle. Completely certain … until I received this timely note:

“Is it butt naked or buck naked? These are the kinds of questions I come to you for.”

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Writing Prompt 5

ready set writeNever forget to have fun with your writing. Every week we’ll post a prompt for you to use in any way you’d like. Be it a short story, flash fiction, something to start off an idea for a novel, or a poem; write what makes you happy. If you’d like to share your work, create a post to your website or blog and leave us a comment with the URL. Or, you’re welcome to keep it to yourself if you’d prefer.


This week’s prompt:

Tell a story in six words. 

My favorite one comes from Joss Whedon from this Nov 2006 Issue of Wired.

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
Joss Whedon

Karen’s Conundrum – On the Road to Homonymy

I set forth this week to gather facts and tidbits about the world of homonyms, homophones, and homographs to share with you. Before finding the homonymic state I sought, two words I uttered to a friend ended up sending me on a detour down a path I traveled only a few weeks ago. So, while I promise you that we will get back on the Road to Homonymy (although it will take another post to complete that journey), first pull up a seat, allow me to pour you a cup of coffee, and feel free to smirk as I tell you about my latest conundrum: The Coffee Clutch.

“Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self.”

~Terry Pratchett, Thud!

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Did You Know: St. Patrick’s Day

According to Grammar Girl:

Each year, millions of Americans annoy the Irish by referring to St. Patrick’s Day as St. Patty’s Day. For the record, the correct short form is St. Paddy’s Day. According to the Provisional Government of Paddy, not Patty, the d‘s in Paddy come from the Irish spelling, Pádraig . Visit their site to be chastised in a proper Irish manner.

Karen’s Conundrum – Quotation Marks and Parentheses: The Copious Incurvatures

Recently a request was made for me to address the conundrum of the copious incurvatures—quotation marks and parentheses—and their circuitous relationship with various punctuation marks.
I welcomed the challenge with open arms. And as I attempted to wrap my brain around the task at hand, I flipped the pages of my Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) to Chapter 6, and dove in. In an effort to make the cited rules more embraceable, I have incorporated in my examples quotes (some verbatim, some paraphrased) of George Carlin.
(Disclaimer: All italicized examples contain George Carlin’s words, in one form or another.)

Now, here we go.

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Karen’s Conundrum – The Idiomatic Idiom and the Coquettish Colloquialism

The Idiomatic Idiom and the Coquettish Colloquialism

This past month I have had my serving platter-sized plate heaped with close to two thousand pages of trial and deposition testimony. One of the many challenging, yet fun, aspects of my job as a scopist (one who proofreads/edits transcripts for court reporters), is working with the spoken word. Witnesses, whether they are experts or laypeople—and let’s not leave out the attorneys—often speak in a conversational style and will quickly start using idioms and colloquialisms in ways that can make one want to pull their hair out. Karen's Conundrum Logo Continue reading “Karen’s Conundrum – The Idiomatic Idiom and the Coquettish Colloquialism”

Writing Prompt: 4

ready set writeNever forget to have fun with your writing. Every week we’ll post a prompt for you to use in any way you’d like. Be it a short story, flash fiction, something to start off an idea for a novel, or a poem; write what makes you happy. If you’d like to share your work, create a post to your website or blog and leave us a comment with the URL. Or, you’re welcome to keep it to yourself if you’d prefer.


This week’s prompt:

Random Genre. Use a random number generator to pick a genre below (1-15). Write 500 words in that genre.

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