Judy Hagey

Nonfiction Editor ~ Freelance Writer

Head toward the Hills

It doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal whether you use toward or towards in a sentence like this: Joe waved to his mom and headed toward the school bus. Or:  Joe waved to his mom and headed towards the school bus. The difference is one of several between American English (AmE) […]

Dishing on Dis

Ever since I discovered that ruth, meaning compassionate or merciful, was an antonym for ruthless as well as a woman’s name I’ve been on the lookout for other words with little-known or rarely-used roots. As it turns out, there are quite a number of words with the prefix dis that have little or an obsolete […]

Predominately predominates

In Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northrup writes about his wife’s mixed blood ethnicity, “It is difficult to tell whether the red, white, or black predominates.” Were Bryan Garner (A Dictionary of Modern American Usage) to have edited Northrup’s work, he would have been just as likely to write, “It is difficult to tell whether […]

Word of the Week – limelight

Awards season is about to begin. The Golden Globes airs Sunday. The NFL crowns a champion in a few weeks, and in March we get the Oscars. All these events put folks in the spotlight. The original spotlight was technically a limelight, also called a Drummond light or calcium light. The source of light was […]

Can We All Just Agree?

I think we can all agree that subjects and verbs need to agree with one another. A singular subject takes a singular verb. Nancy is the school librarian. Plural subjects take plural verbs: Nancy and Ned are friends. But we don’t always write with such simple subjects. What is the correct verb form in these […]