Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is a test, just a test

One of my habits while reading or editing manuscripts is to make a list of compound words to check later, just to make sure the spellings are correct. One word, or two? Or should it be hyphenated? I do this even if the word "looks" correct to me.

Here is a recent list from a beta-read I just finished for a pal. Can you tell which should be two words and not one? Take a guess and leave a comment - answers will be posted tomorrow!

taskforce
oversized
timeframe
online
earpiece
sleazebag
mixup
callback
rearview
bookcover
spellcheck
download
snowdrift
sockyarn
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dani Greer runs the Blog Book Tours yahoogroup which teaches authors how to promote their books with a virtual tour. Next class starts May 1. She is a founding member of The Blood Red Pencil. This time of year, she can usually be found in her two-acre garden trying to whip the grow-y stuff into some form of visual interest if not beauty. Occasionally, she may edit.

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11 comments :

  1. Uggh! I HATE compound words. My least favorite is flip flops. I can never remember if there is a hyphen in there or not, and in my last book my mc wore them all the time. Frustrating. :)

    I'll swallow my pride and play this game, but it won't be pretty.

    task force
    oversized
    time frame
    online
    earpiece
    sleaze bag
    mix up
    call-back
    rearview
    book cover
    spellcheck
    download
    snowdrift
    sock yarn

    Isn't it true that some of these would be hyphenated if used as adjectives? (Though that might just be grammar-rules-according-to-Alps, which are definitely not Strunk and White caliber.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'll play. This always makes me crazy.
    task force
    oversized
    time frame
    online
    earpiece
    sleaze bag
    mix-up
    callback
    rearview
    book cover
    spell check
    download
    snowdrift
    sock yarn

    BTW, what's a sock yarn? A story about foot coverings? A story about a punch in the nose? A story about the Clinton's cat?

    ReplyDelete
  3. My guesses:

    task force
    oversized
    time frame
    online
    earpiece
    sleazebag
    mix-up
    callback
    rear view
    book cover
    spell-check
    download
    snowdrift
    sock yarn

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mark, there are a few sock yarns over at http://pdreadful.blogspot.com - A couple of Penny Dreadfuls over at the Socknitters Forum are writers and have contributed some fun stories.

    Glad I'm not the only one tearing her hair out over these words!

    Dani

    ReplyDelete
  5. What the hell is sock yarn? Or sockyarn? Is there yarn that's specifically made for socks? Or is it a "yarn" like a "tale" - so it's a story about socks. Socktales?

    Sorry, what was the test?

    Gayle
    http://gaylecarline.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'll play. My personal demon is affect/effect. I usually wimp out and use impact...or re-word the sentence!

    task force
    oversized
    time frame
    online
    earpiece
    sleazebag
    mix up
    call back
    rearview
    book cover
    spellcheck
    download
    snowdrift
    sock yarn (I have piles of sock yarn in my living room because socks are fun to knit, completely portable once you know how to knit them on a circular needle...and toasty in the winter)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Who came up with these words? You can't frame time unless time is a sleazebag. He, of course, could claim it was all an oversized mix-up and he was being set up by a task force online.

    I could go on and on with this story, but my real question is this: how do you expect a girl from south central Texas to know what snowdrift and sock yarn are? We don't get snow down here and certainly not snow that drifts around. And why would we need sock yarn? We'd have to figure out how to knit socks with a notch so that it would fit our flip flops, which we wear year round.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey, there's a socknitter practically next door to you - http://susanalbert.typepad.com so Texas is no excuse, Helen. Okay, maybe she's just a sock knitter. I don't there are any sock-knitters in the world, except maybe at the ends of worlds and sentences.

    What's interesting is that some words like "download" are run-ons from the get-go (hehe), but related theme words have hyphens. There is no method to the madness, and it's difficult to discern when words actually go into official useage in new forms. For example, (spoiler) the word "snowdrift" is spelled that way in the 14th century. Assuming that particular dictionary citation is correct. Which is another entirely separate issue that might get attention in a future blog post.

    Dani

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so out of it due to medical interventions, blood work and general apathy, that I know I SHOULDN'T do this but I will try--will answers come soon? I am lousy at compound words.

    task force
    oversized
    time frame
    online
    earpiece
    sleaze bag
    mix up
    rearview
    book cover
    spellcheck
    download
    snowdrift
    sock yarn

    Ok, my MAC helped :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. When reading or editing, I often get stumped on the compound words, but strangely enough never bothered writing out a list to check out. Usually I just kinda checked from memory or got my sisters into a debate about how it should be. Sisters are cool.

    Here are my guesses without checking anything.

    task force
    oversized
    time frame
    online
    earpiece
    sleaze bag
    mix up
    call back
    rearview
    book cover
    spell check
    download
    snowdrift
    sock yarn - for knitting socks?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I use the online dictionary for convenience sake, but prefer the printed edition.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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