PUGS errors can lead to rejection

Literary agent Richard Curtis wrote (in The Christian Communicator, June 2001):

It was not long ago that the prevailing attitude among editors was, “This book has some problems, but the author is so talented that I’d like to buy it and work with him.” Today such words are rarely heard. A book with problems is a book rejected.

Editors receive so many manuscripts from so many authors every day, they can afford to reject them for the most miniscule reasons. Don’t let PUGS errors cause your manuscript to be rejected!


Capitalization of Family Relationships

“Kinship names” (father, brother, etc.) are lowercased when used generically (“the youngest mother in the group,” for example) or when preceded by a modifier (“my dad,” “your mom,” “our brother,” etc.).

When used before a proper name, or alone in place of the name, kinship names are capitalized. Examples:

“I know that Mother’s middle name is Janice.”
“Will Aunt Becky be singing?”
“Will her uncle Ed be at the book signing?”
“Hey, Dad, are we going fishing today?”


any more/anymore

any more (adjective) means “any additional.”

“I don’t want to hear any more backtalk from you!” hollered Cindy.

anymore (adverb) means “any longer.”

“I don’t want to listen to you anymore,” cried Linda.

NOTE: Adjectives modify nouns. Adverbs modify adjectives, adverbs, or verbs.


each other vs. one another

Use each other when referring to two.

“Angie and Gwen discussed the book with each other.”

Use one another when referring to more than two.

“The critique group members discussed their manuscripts with one another.”


good-bye (with a hyphen) if you’re writing books, or short stories that will be included in books, or articles for popular-style magazines).

goodbye (without a hyphen) if you’re writing articles for newspapers, jounalistic-style magazines, or most newsletters).

Submitted by Kathy Ide, founder and director of the Christian Editor Network.

For more tips on Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling (“PUGS”), and reasons it’s important for writers to polish their PUGS, see my website. Or purchase my book Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling Tips for Writers, available through my website.