Judy Hagey

Nonfiction Editor ~ Freelance Writer

Bringing My Faux Pas to Light

I don’t remember the erroneous sentence, but I well remember my embarrassment when it was pointed out to me that I had written illicit when I should have used elicit. To spare you a similar embarrassment, allow me to explain the difference between the two. Elicit is a transitive verb meaning to draw out or […]

Accepting the Exceptional

“My son,” wrote the proud mother, “was excepted…” Her Facebook post went on to share her joy that her child was chosen to participate in an event for children like her son who have lost a limb. No doubt, her son is exceptional. But the correct term to describe her son’s selection, is accepted.  Accept […]

Is it too much to know which to-two-too to use?

As if two-word homophones aren’t confusing enough, today we tackle the to-too-two dilemma. Too much for you? Not if you keep a few definitions in mind. Easy one first: two – two is always a number. Use two when you are referring to a quantity that is greater than one and less than three. The […]

Put Modifiers in their Place

Engaging prose makes good use of modifiers. Descriptive words—adjectives, adverbs, and phrases—add the kind of detail that draws the reader into a story or clarifies a piece of nonfiction. But beware the misplaced modifier. Confusion or unintended humor can result when the descriptive word or phrase is placed too far from the word it modifies. […]

No There, There?

The English language has more than its share of homophones — words that sound alike, but have different spellings and meanings. It's not a problem in  oral language, but using the wrong word in written communication can be annoying, if not misleading. One set of homophones that is often misused is there, their, and they're. […]