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Monday, August 23, 2010

Blogging Grammar: Sometimes the Rules are Simple!

Back in the days when I was learning to apply classroom marketing principles to the job of running retail stores, we carried collectibles. Because I started out as a journalist (with a little training to be a teacher thrown in), it drove me crazy when people in the gift industry spelled the word "collectibles" with an "a." That is, they spelled it "collectables."

At the same time I was only too aware that when you are writing it is darn hard to know whether to choose "able" or "ible" off the cuff.

Now that retailers are blogging,  such spelling dilemmas become more important. Not just for the "able" and "ible" words but for all the words we make into "able" words like "searchable."

Here's the secret. Look the word up in the dictionary. Sorry, it's the only way to do it if you don't have a memory for such things. If it's listed, spell as suggested. If it isn't listed, that means you get to make up a word. Yay!

The trouble is, you don't have a choice. One of the firm rules in English (at least according to most style guides) is that if you add one of these suffixes to a word, you've got to "able," not "ible."

So, retailers! Happy (and easy!) blogging!

If you'd like to brush up on some other word trippers in small, easy does, try my new booklet. Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips. It's frugal enough! (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

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