The Letters E & O: Careless Whispers on Careless Twitters


George Michael has taught me many things over the course of my 21 years. First, use a catchy sax riff and you’ll be indirectly annoying the people who know sax players for life. Second, guilty feet have got no rhythm. Third, one little whisper (or a letter in a word) can make a big difference.

I’m not blind to the fact that grammatical errors happen. I’m glad that they do, otherwise I never would have gotten my internship with New Madrid Journal of Contemporary Literature.

“You see, sir. . . We’ve had to let the editing interns go.”

“Great Scott! Why?”

“Well, there was nothing for them to do. They sat around talking about Britney Spears and playing Bananagrams.”

What I am saying is that grammatical errors can make you look stupid. Take it from the girl who once waxed poetic about the fascinating topic of “pubic” relations in a term paper. A little attention to detail can go a long way, whether you’re a writer submitting a manuscript, an editor looking over that manuscript, or a marketer writing a great blog post about SEO.

As a wise wizard once said…

(DMX, “Party Up (Up in Here).”

According to Merriam-Webster, loose can be an adjective, a verb, or an adverb in some cases.

“But Kate,” you say. “It’s a verb. What’s the problem? Get back in your grammar cruiser and eat a doughnut.”

Not so fast there, Speedy Gonzales. I’m going to need to see your license and punctuation.

The way that loose is often misused is as an incorrect replacement for lose. People simply add an accidental o.  Example:

I didn’t think that I could loose my girlfriend because of my poor texting prowess.

The way this sentence is structured, loose is being used as a verb. Unless the boyfriend (ex-boyfriend, excuse me) actually used his girlfriend as a projectile or weapon because of his poor texting, he is using the word loose when he should be using lose. Loose, in its verb form, means to let fly or to unleash. Example:

“Stanley,” said Baron von Mustache to his favorite stooge, “loose the robotic squirrels. There will be great chatter tonight!”

In reality, the boyfriend should have been using lose, as in,

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…

(Lyrics taken from “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.)

Whenever you need to loose your words on the unsuspecting populace, just make sure you don’t lose your meaning. Think of the extra as taking up extra space in the word, loosening it up a bit. 

Cradle your head in your hands, and …. breath?

(Sorry, Anna Nalick, for abusing the only song of yours I know).

This one is a personal pet peeve. Anyone else think that’s a weird term? I read it and picture one of these.

Angry Chihuahua growling, 2 years old
I’d rather take on a pit bull any day. 


Breath is a noun. You take a breath. You buy a floral arrangement that has baby’s breath in it. You may even get excited at the breath of a scandal, but any way you choose to use it,

B-R-E-A-T-H is a N-O-U-N. It rhymes with death, which is also a noun.  

The funny thing about your death/Is once it’s passed, you can’t draw breath.

I never said I was e.e. cummings.

Perhaps I’m jaded from reading one too many short story manuscripts wherein the heroine says, “I can’t breath” before she takes an Elizabeth-Swann-worthy tumble.

I cant breathe swann giff.gif

Misuse like this can make all the grammar pedants in your life want to take a voluntary plunge into the ocean.

The verb is B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

“I can’t breathe,” said Stanley. “I think I’m having a panic attack.”

“Oh, dear,” replied Baron von Mustache. “Try taking deep breaths. I’ll be with you once I finish irradiating these kumquats.”

Think if it like the sound that a balloon makes when it slowly deflates. That hiss of air almost sounds like a long e.

Don’t waste the chance that you’ve been given.

Remembering to check for an errant or a missing can be the difference between a poignant post and a guilty Tweet that has no rhythm.

Have you contributed to Careless Twitter? Sound off your favorite typos in the comments below.






Photo credit

What if I told you there was no dress code for blogging?

Say the word “blog” in front of me. I dare you. I have always thought that to be a blogger, you have to be a certain kind of person. Two ideal concepts of “the blogger” come to mind.

My first image is one of a flannel-clad, bearded hipster who smells like the organic balsam soap he bought from a “really authentic” Haitian woman. Anyone else? Just me? Just me. People who talk about blogging always seem a little pretentious, a little too convinced that the world wants to read each and every achingly arranged thought-out premeditated syllable about their hyper-filtered lives. Then again, I’m not much of a fan of the artfully artificial presented as truth.

The other concept that comes to mind when someone says that word is someone like this guy–

Castle_BaBAM (1).gif

–the type of blogger who tosses words on a page like he’s Emeril Lagasse turning parsley into a projectile weapon. This guy/gal  knows exactly what s/he’s doing, down to every last keyword and SEO best practice. People like John Green and Ree Drummond, the ones who have made it big and know exactly what twist of a phrase is going to make their readers fire up the social media share buttons.

I am neither a bearded hipster nor a word artist of Food Network proportions.

Instead, I’m a writer with a passion for the semicolon and a yen for pop culture; from the Oxford comma to Orphan Black, I’m just a woman who loves words and using them to discuss the amazing things that people are doing with them. I’m a geek and a wordsmith, and I’ve recently realized that this is perfectly okay. 

High school is over. This is not that scene in High School MusicalIf you’re a skater who plays the cello, nobody cares.

Let’s get this pumpkin carriage on the road.

This is, first and foremost, a blog about stringing words together. Expect musings on the slow and tedious slaughter of the English language at the hands of auto-correct and other nefarious entities. Also expect discussions on the various places a writer can end up professionally. As a writer currently trying to navigate the freelancing world and looking into other professional possibilities, I have a lot to say about the job market, the writing of cover letters, and the usage of Ms. as a title. There will also be memes and puns, because life is too short and the internet too vast to avoid it.

Talking mice wanted: apply within.

Interested in doing a guest post? Have some wisdom to share? Are you a hipster blogger? Let’s have a conversation in the comments.