Judy Hagey

Freelance Editor - Writer

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 […]

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 […]

Let’s Compare

Tis the season…for comparison shopping. Thanks to the convenience of the Internet, we can still let our fingers do the walking and save ourselves from the crowds. Adjectives are the vehicle of comparison in language. Most adjectives form the comparative by adding er or r when comparing two things, est for the superlative form—comparing more […]

To Apostrophe or Not – 3 Simple Rules

According to the Chicago of Manual of Style, the apostrophe has three primary uses: to show possession, to indicate missing letters (i.e. in contractions), and, “…rarely, to form the plural of certain expressions.” Perhaps the most egregious apostrophe error is its overuse. An apostrophe is not used in the following situations: to form the plural […]

No Illusions: The Skinny on Allude and Elude

Today let’s tackle another pair of easily confused words: allude and elude. And for good measure, let’s throw in delude. All three come from the Latin root: ludere meaning “to play; to mimic, mock; to deceive.” Ludicrous—meaning ridiculous—is closely related. Other “lude” words (not to be confused with lewd) that evolve from this root include […]