Grammar/Syntax

Ahhh, the dreaded technical aspects of writing. It is crucial to make sure your work is as polished as possible before sending it out into the world! Here you can find all of our videos on making your words sparkle. To watch all of the WordNerds’ videos on grammar and syntax, use the embedded playlist. To find a specific topic with regards to grammar or syntax, use the list below or the search bar.

“Suddenly”

E. Latimer discusses the word “suddenly” and whether or not it really needs to be said.

“Tracing” Authors’ Words

Rachel Sargeant talks about how to implement beautiful words into your writing when you read sentences that make you go WOAH.

5 Ways to Show “Confused” Better

Meghan Jashinsky talks about five ways you can show that a character is confused, beyond the classic eyebrow-furrowing and frowning.

Accept vs. Except (feat. Lord of the Rings)

Emma Gisclair teaches the difference between accept and except using the plot of Lord of the Rings.

Active/Passive Voice

Erica Crouch teaches a simple trick to remember the difference between active and passive voice.

Alright? Or All Right?

Meghan Jashinsky talks about whether it’s correct to use alright versus all right, and how language changes over time.

Avoiding Cliches Like the Plauge

Emma Gisclair talks about common cliches and why you should pretty much never use them.

Breaking the “RULES”

Calyn Morgan talks about why you should break writing rules.

Choosing “Good” Words

Emma Gisclair talks about the importance of being specific and cutting out your pet words (the words you might use too often).

Common Grammar Mistakes

Erica Crouch talks about some common grammar mistakes (who vs. whom, grey vs. gray, alright vs. all right, the oxford comma, and more) and how to fix them!

Common Writing Mistakes You’re Probably Making

In this Sunday Special live chat, the WordNerds talk about some of the most frequently made writing mistakes, and how you can catch and fix them!

Crutch Words

Erica Crouch talks about those words you love to use all the time, and what to do when you come upon them.

Dual POV

Erica Crouch shares three questions you should ask yourself before tackling dual point of view.

Farther vs. Further

Erica Crouch talks about the difference between fArther and fUrther … with HERCULES!

Favorite Tropes

Emma Gisclair shares three of her favorite tropes and how to make them work in your own writing without being too…trope-ish.

Filter Words

E. Latimer talks about filter words (to think, to hear, to sound, to feel, etc.) and how to avoid them.

Foreign Languages and Foreign Words

Are your characters and story a little too monolingual? Emma Gisclair talks about why you should include characters who speak different languages than your MC and some cool words from non-English languages.

Homophones

Calyn Morgan talks about homophones, words that sound the same but differ in meaning.

How to Describe a Large Amount

Emma Gisclair talks about how to describe large quantities in your writing.

Hyperboles

Erica Crouch talks about her favorite literary device–the hyperbole! Do you ever use hyperbolic speech?

It’s Not Alot

E. Latimer wan’ts you to know that it’s  A (SPACE) LOT, not ALOT.

Its versus It’s

Erica Crouch teaches the difference between its and it’s. Apostrophes are important!

L. A. Starkey: 10 New Words–You’re Welcome Mr. Webster

L. A. Starkey–author of The Soul Keepers series and The Liarus Detective Agency series–talks about the creation of new words!

Lay vs. Lie

In this two-part series, Calyn Morgan teaches the difference between lay and lie. Part One: Present Tense Part Two: Past Tense

Learning the Basics

Kellie Sheridan points the way to some of her favorite grammar how-to sources.

Literary Devices

In this two-part series, Emma Gisclair talks about the many different literary devices you might be learning in your English classes. Part One: Language Part Two: Storytelling/Content

Mickey Reed on Affect vs. Effect

Professional freelance editor Mickey Reed talks about the differences between affect and effect, and when to use each!

Modifiers (ft. Disney’s FROZEN!)

Erica Crouch gives you a quick lesson on modifiers and how to not leave them dangling! Featuring examples from DISNEY’S FROZEN.

New Words for the New Year

Ema Gisclair shares some words that could add some positivity to your life!

Not-Really-Grammar Pet Peeves

Erica Crouch has some pet peeves, and while they aren’t technically grammatically incorrect, maybe you shouldn’t do them anyway.

Past Tense vs. Present Tense

E. Latimer talks about how to decide which tense you should write your story in!

Personification

Calyn Morgan talks all about personification.

Pro Writing Aid

Meghan Jashinsky talks about ProWritingAid, a great line editing program that she’s being trying out during Pitch Wars!

PROLOGUES

Erica Crouch talks about whether or not she is pro-prologue!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Kellie Sheridan goes over the perils of using the same words again and again in your writing.

SAT Words

Calyn Morgan talks about the wordiest of words…SAT words.

Semantic Change–Nauseated & Nauseous

Calyn Morgan talks about semantic change and the improper–though universally accepted–use of nauseated and nauseous.

Semicolons

Erica Crouch talks about her FAVORITE form of punctuation, the semicolon!

Should You Use that Simile?

Metaphors are fun, but they aren’t always appropriate. Emma Gisclair provides some questions you can ask yourself to determine if you really need that simile.

Show vs. Tell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiEycwrSwJM Emma Gisclair talks about the importance of showing rather than telling in your writing.

Subject & Predicate

Erica Crouch gives you a refresher course on subject/predicate and noun phrases/verb phrases.

Tamara Woods: Infuse Emotions In Your Writing

Tamara Woods–author of THE SHAPING OF AN “ANGRY” BLACK WOMAN–talks about how to take your writing to the next level by infusing emotions in your sentences.

The Dreaded Purple Prose

E. Latimer talks about purple prose–what it is, and whether you should avoid it or embrace it.

The Emotion Thesaurus

Meghan Jashinsky talks about The Emotion Thesaurus and how it can help you in your writing!

The Evolution of a Meaning

Calyn Morgan talks about a few words that have evolved new meanings based solely on our miss use of them.

The Five Senses in Your Writing

In this Sunday Special live chat, the WordNerds talk about how to make your writing stronger and the sentence and paragraph level using the five senses.

The P Word

Emma Gisclair talks about plagiarism and copyright laws.

The Powerful, the Pleasurable, the Indestructable EM-DASH

Meghan Jashinsky details the proper way to use the em-dash.

Then vs. Than

Emma Gisclair teaches the difference between then and than.

To Backstory or Not To Backstory?

Meghan Jashinsky talks about when it is appropriate to include back story in your manuscript.

Top Three Grammar Sites

Erica Crouch recommends her favorite three websites that help with grammar.

Trash Your Thesaurus

Meghan Jashinsky talks about why you should step away from the thesaurus.

What’s In A Name?

Emma Gisclair explores the origins of the names of three famous fantasy characters. Do fantasy writers make up names from scratch or are they just good at research?

What’s the Difference Between E.G. and I.E.?

Erica Crouch talks about how you can remember the difference between e.g. and i.e.

Word Mix-Ups

E. Latimer talks about three sets of words that are commonly misused.

Words We Need to Start Using

E. Latimer talks about some words we should all start using–the cat’s meow, smashing, jiggery pokery, and shenanigans.

Y’all, Ya’ll and All Y’all

Meghan Jashinsky talks about the etymology of y’all, and encourages you to get dialects right in your writing.