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Liz Bureman: Editor, Bbp Participant
Member since August 13, 2013

Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.

Website: https://thewritepractice.com/author/liz/

Activity Feed

Semicolon: The 2 Ways to Use a ;
by Liz Bureman in Semicolon: The 2 Ways to Use a ;
09:30 am on October 11, 2019

If the semicolon was just a little less top-heavy, then it would be a comma, and rightfully used and appreciated. Sadly, many writers have a confused relationship with the semicolon, not really sure how or when to use semicolons in their lovely sentences.

Don’t worry, little semicolon. Your virtues will not be lost on this audience as long as I have a say in it.

How Are You? Good vs. Well
by Liz Bureman in How Are You? Good vs. Well
12:23 pm on September 10, 2019

When someone asks you, “How are you?” how should you respond? Should you say, “I’m good,” or, “I’m well?” Which is correct grammatically: good or well.

Since “how are you?” became a standard greeting, the use of good vs. well has been hotly disputed. Let’s straighten this confusion out.

Parentheses: How to Use ( ) Correctly
by Liz Bureman in Parentheses: How to Use ( ) Correctly
09:00 am on September 10, 2019

People ask me all the time (and by all the time, I mean never), “Liz, what is your favorite grammatical/punctuational structure?” It’s hard to narrow it down to just one (although you’re probably already aware of my love for the Oxford comma), but if I happened to be in a life-or-death of language situation, it would probably be the parenthetical statement.

I bet you already figured that out.

How to Use Either, Neither, Or, and Nor Correctly
by Liz Bureman in How to Use Either, Neither, Or, and Nor Correctly
08:59 am on September 10, 2019

My mother seems to appreciate having a grammar lover in the family. For Christmas one year, she bought me the book I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar. (By the way, it is equally correct to say “bad grammar.”) Last week, my mother emailed to ask if she was using the word “nor” correctly, which brings me to today’s post: the use of either, neither, and the connecting words that go with them.

When to Use Ensure vs. Insure
by Liz Bureman in When to Use Ensure vs. Insure
09:00 am on August 16, 2019

Here’s a problem I’ve encountered a lot: the confusion of ensure vs. insure. But wait, those two words are the same, right? Well . . . kind of, but not exactly.

Let’s un-muddle them, shall we?

Every time I hear the word “ensure,” I think of the high-protein flavored beverage that I will never drink. But we’re going to use this ingestible product to help you remember how to use ensure. Win-win (kind of).

Do You Use Quotation Marks or Italics for Song and Album Titles?

I love music. I’ve been teaching myself to play guitar, and I can stumble my way through four or five songs without wanting to poke holes in my eardrums, but my main appreciation for music is when other people play it. I’m an avid Spotify user, and I take a lot of pride in my ability to make kickass playlists. One of my girlfriends has even given me the green light to create her hypothetical wedding reception playlist.

So obviously, when I write about a song or album, I know when to use quotation marks and when to use italics. Let’s discuss.

In Medias Res: Definition and Examples for Writers

One way to tell a story is to introduce the reader to the environment of the story. Descriptions of foliage and dirt roads, or of skyscrapers and clanging subway gears, can get the reader acclimated to the setting and can be a way to introduce the protagonist as a product of their surroundings.

But sometimes you just don’t have the patience for that. You want to hit the ground with the plot running at full speed, and once you’ve gotten the reader’s attention and piqued their curiosity, then maybe you explain what’s going on and how things got here.

Welcome to the world of in medias res.

Give Your Characters the Myers Briggs Test

Back at the end of April, we discussed using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to develop your characters. We covered the more obvious personality traits: Extroversion vs. Introversion and Thinking vs. Feeling. I would feel bad if we didn’t take the plunge into rounding out all of the elements of the Myers Briggs test, so here we’re tackling Intuition vs. Sensing and Judging vs. Perceiving, which are often the harder Myers Briggs character traits to explain.

Why You Need to be Using the Oxford Comma

Most of the fun of writing is using your words to tell a story. They course across the page, delighting in the joys of Maureen finally finding her Henry, shuddering as Ingrid uncovers her third dead body of the day, or mourning with Carlos for his lost mother. But I’m not here to talk about words. I’m here to sing the praises of punctuation; specifically, the Oxford comma.

Most people I’ve met have no idea what the Oxford comma is, but it’s probably something that you have used in the past. What is it?

The Complete Guide to Italicization
by Liz Bureman in The Complete Guide to Italicization
08:01 am on March 10, 2019

Some time ago, we published a post on italicization in album and song titles. And then Joe sent me a screengrab of a Google search with general italicization questions, so we’re going whole-hog and attempting to write an all-inclusive complete guide to italicization: when you do and when you don’t. We’ve covered italicization in song titles and album titles already, so we’re moving on from there.

What Is an Epigraph?
by Liz Bureman in What Is an Epigraph?
09:28 am on January 21, 2019

At this point, everyone’s seen the Buzzfeed list of books that are going to come out as movies this year, right? Because if you haven’t, you probably should. I went through the list and added anything that sounded interesting to my ever-growing library waitlist, and as luck would have it, I got four of them this week. One of them was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and oh my gosh, it is amazing. I devoured it in about three days.

Before Flynn takes you to the actual text of the novel, however, you’re greeted by a quote from Tony Kushner’s The Illusion, which references love and murder and how the two intertwine. That’s not exactly it, but from reading that one sentence, you instantly have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. This technique of using a quote from another author to introduce a novel’s tone, content, or summary is called an epigraph.

Don’t Leave Your Participles Dangling
by Liz Bureman in Don’t Leave Your Participles Dangling
09:00 am on April 17, 2018

You know what’s really fun to edit? Dangling participles. What’s a participle? Glad you asked.

A participle is an adjective form of a verb, usually formed by adding the suffix –ing to the verb. For example, you might go for a light 15k in your running shoes. Or your sister might be screaming because she burned herself with her curling iron. Make sense?

Let’s take a closer look and find out where these participles go wrong.


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