Monday, June 26, 2017

The Letter S by Mary Deal



Drop the letter s. If you believe that one letter couldn’t possibly cause you to receive a rejection, I encourage you to think again, especially if the same mistake recurs throughout your manuscript.

Incorrect usage comes from the lax attitude about our English language. Most people speak in jargon or a brogue that comes from a certain locale. I call it family hand-me-down language.  Truth is, no matter from where you hail, your written grammar must be correct for the broader reading audience.

I’m speaking of the letter s. Check out these sentences:
She ran towards the garage.
The ball rolled backwards.
Look upwards.

These sentences are all incorrect. That is, the use of the letter s is incorrect.
The letter s denotes something plural. In the first sentence, moving toward something means you can only go in one direction. Toward.

If the ball rolled backward, it can only go in one direction. Backward.
To look upward, you can only look in one direction. Upward.
Not surprising, an example of an exception is:
She leaned sideways.

The rule here is that when leaning, you can lean sideways in more than one direction, therefore the use of the letter s.

You’ll find many other words that are incorrectly used with s endings. When you find these, make note of them, maybe a running list. You’ll have the list to refer back to when you question your own writing.

This is but one of the finite idiosyncrasies of producing better grammar when writing stories and books that you hope to sell. Study your own language and speech.

Watch how the s is used or omitted in books that you love to read.


Get into the habit of listening to the speech patterns of others. Think critically of what you hear, but never criticize of a person who speaks that way. Instead, mentally analyze what you have heard. Learn the right from the wrong of speech and your writing will reflect your knowledge.


Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
Art Gallery: http://www.MaryDealFineArt.com
Gift Gallery: zazzle.com/IslandImageGallery*




No comments:

Post a Comment

GOOD READING AND MARIA VON TRAPP by Patricia Crandall

Many of the poets and authors I read in the small press should be on top of the pile rather than a number of the best-selling authors I...