Excerpt From: GRAMMAR FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE RULES by Kathleen A. Watson

Yours, Mine and Ours:
Individual vs. Joint Possession

When two people jointly own something, placing the apostrophe can be tricky.

The dilemma: one apostrophe or two?

  • I stopped by Brad and Kim’s house.
  • I stopped by Brad’s and Kim’s house.

What about this construction?

  • The shelves held Eric and Laura’s books.
  • The shelves held Eric’s and Laura’s books.

In the first example, Brad and Kim share ownership of the same house, so the first sentence using just one apostrophe is correct: Brad and Kim’s house.

In the second example, Eric’s collection of books is different from Laura’s collection, so the second sentence using two apostrophes is correct: Eric’s and Laura’s books.

Here are other correct examples:

  • Adam and Kari’s Irish Setters (two dogs, shared ownership)
  • Adam’s and Kari’s golf clubs (two sets of clubs, individual ownership)
  • Craig’s and Brooke’s motorcycles (two motorcycles, individual ownership)
  • Craig and Brooke’s yard (one yard, shared ownership)

Ownership with pronouns

When you are using my, his or hers, follow these examples:

  • The Realtor wanted to tour my and Brad’s house. (not me and Brad’s house)
  • She also wanted to tour his and Kim’s house. (not he and Kim’s house)
  • We decided to tour her and Brad’s house. (not she and Brad’s house)

Test the me/my, he/his, she/her dilemma by simply eliminating the second person.

  • They wanted to tour me and Brad’s
    They wanted to tour my house.
  • They wanted to tour his and Kim’s
    They wanted to tour his house.
  • They wanted to tour she and Brad’s
    They wanted to tour her house.

Other common errors to avoid:

  • Let’s stop by him his and Kim’s house this afternoon.
  • Please drop by mine my and Brad’s house this evening.

Killer Tip: We’re often more relaxed when speaking than when writing because we can read body language to be sure we’re being understood. Yet it’s always helpful to know what’s correct so we can decide how informal we want to be or what kind of an impression we want to make.

Writing and grammar expert Kathleen Watson, fondly known as The Ruthless Editor, has nearly three decades of experience in both corporate and academic worlds. She has taught business people how to fine-tune their communication style, college students how to strengthen their writing, and Ph.D. candidates how to polish their dissertations. Kathy also has experience as a fiction and nonfiction book copy editor, working with a mix of new and experienced authors.

In addition to writing her own book on grammar, she blogs at RuthlessEditor.com, sharing weekly tips on how to write to get the job you want, earn the promotion you’ve worked hard for, and artfully explain your best ideas.

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$.99¢ PROMO ENDS TODAY (8/31)! TRANSMUTED: Space just got complicated. https://amazon.com/dp/B01MQWZ6YA #amwriting #amreading #scifi

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “Show don’t tell.” (Maybe not as much as my editorHIDING IN SOFA thinks about it, but that’s another blog.) And I’ve reached the conclusion that sometimes the adage is over-stressed. Sometimes telling is better than showing. There! I said it. (Was that a knock at the door?  *Turns out lights and hides behind sofa.*)

Does your reader really want to know the day-by-day, real-time movements of MC as MC moves from point A to point B? I think not! For example, A happens—OMG it’s shocking; what is MC going to do? Over the next two weeks MC worries and frets, chats with friends, takes long walks and finally arrives at B with a plan. That boring period between points A and B is told in two or three well-written sentences without losing pace by showing MC’s actions in detail (and employing padding to make those two weeks interesting). Save it for when MC arrives at point B, shoots his neighbor in the head, and then buries her in her own garden under the rose bushes (oops—spoiler). Plot and drama advance without unnecessary words or loss of rhythm.

Am I wrong? Lazy? Just making excuses? Seriously—tell me—what do you think?

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Plotter vs. Pantser: John Scalzi and the Gremlin on My Shoulder

When I started writing, I read all the tips and tricks and how-to blogs and books. I was doing it wrong. Plotters were good; pantsers were bad. I was, and am, a pantser. I tried to plot using every form and method available: the column system, visualized thinking, the snowflake, starting with the ending—nothing gelled. After spending three hours one day struggling to plot a simple chapter, I gave it up, turned to my keyboard, and let the words flow. I haven’t looked back, but ever so often the little gremlin on my shoulder will whisper, “Pantsers are losers.”John Scalzi

A year after I’d thrown in the towel, I read a blog post by my favorite contemporary science fiction author. OMG! He’s a pantser! I jumped from my desk and ran to tell my husband. “You’ll never guess,” I said, excitedly, “John Scalzi’s a pantser.” At which he replied, “Have you got plans for dinner, or do you want me to order take-out?”

And so, I say, “Thank you, John Scalzi. I may never be as good a writer as you are, or have as creative an imagination, but with your help, I slapped down that gremlin bitch.”

Only a thousand words a day—you’re pathetic!” Noooo . . . .


2017 KindleScout winner: TRANSMUTED, book one of the Dark Landing series, available on Amazon. Book two, COLLUSION, coming soon eventually soon.

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Author Spotlight: Diane Morrison

Source: Author Spotlight: Diane Morrison

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5 Things I Learned About Promoting A Book on Social Media

  1. It’s hard.
  2. Hello? Is anyone out there?
  3. You can link directly to your book’s Free Preview on Amazon. It’s more likely to be read than sending a prospect to your sales page and hoping they click “Look inside.” (Of course, there’s a “Buy” button there as well–Amazon knows its stuff, after all.) Instructions to obtain your preview link.
  4. When sharing your Amazon sales page link—ALWAYS use the short version.
    So, THIS: https://amazon.com/dp/B01MQWZ6YA
    But, NEVER this: https://www.amazon.com/Transmuted-Dark-Landing-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MQWZ6YA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501948244&sr=8-1&keywords=Transmuted).
    NOTE: Readers posting a book review who linked in from the long version (tagged [for lack of a better word] as provided by the author) are more likely to have their reviews deleted by the ‘Zon police. If you want to learn more about how important it is to use the right link, check out Amazon Link Anatomy: What you Don’t Know Might be Killing your Reviews by #DaveChesson.
  5. Pimp your book at every opportunity: TRANSMUTED ~ Babylon 5 meets Firefly ~ 2017 KindleScout winner ~ Action, Adventure, Humor, Romance ~ $.99 on Amazon through August ~ Read a free preview!

Okay, I lied–there are only two things. 1. and 2. are cheats, and 5. is just shameless self-promotion. Which is the whole point if you think about it . . . and I do!

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Author Spotlight: Merri Halma

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