Using Words as Words

Often when we’re writing nonfiction we need to refer to words in such a way that the term being used is itself the subject of the discussion, rather than the concept the term describes. If I say “My Sunday school students have difficulty understanding the concept of propitiation,” it means something very different from “English …

Capitalizing Deity Pronouns

One more post on editing books for the Christian market, and this one’s a touchy subject. The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style calls for lowercase deity pronouns (that is, he and his when referring to God). This deeply offends some people, who see it as a sign of disrespect, despite the fact that for 1800 …

Choose Your Style Guide

I wrote before about three of the most common style books: The Chicago Manual of Style, The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, and the Associated Press Stylebook. Two others are worth considering if you do most of your work online. The Yahoo! Style Guide is a huge compendium that not only deals with spelling issues …

Can a person be a “that?”

Ever had critique partners question a sentence like this? The waiter that spilled coffee on my new dress offered to pay the dry-cleaning bill. Some will say you shouldn’t use “that” for a person. But Garner’s Modern American Usage and other expert sources say it’s acceptable. Are your critique partners wrong? That depends.

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