Be kind, Rewind! #writingtip

A few years ago, my spouse was starting a new job with a new manager and this said manager kept getting frustrated with my spouse. You see, my spouse has a couple common phrases that he says ALL the time and one of those phrases is “Sure, sure.” So every time this manager would ask him to do something, teach him something, whatever, my spouse would respond with “Sure, sure.”

His phrase used to be “you know?”

The point is we each have phrases we tend to use A LOT, whether we want to or not. We do this in speech, we do this in writing, we do this in texting. If you’re texting (or in messenger) with me, I will type lol ALL THE TIME. It drives myself insane, but the habit is there and I do it.

So the other day, I’m editing away at one of my new pretty little novels that I’ve finally finished working and you know what I found? I found a brand new phrase I’ve been using abundantly along with a few I knew I always used.

What are your go to phrases in writing that you constantly put into your piece and don’t even realize it?

I literally keep a list on notepad in my computer of “words to delete” which are these overused words and phrases I keep typing.

My newest one is “to be honest”.

My list?

– begin/began
– start/started
– quick

Our phrases/words can and will change. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to have someone else read through your piece before it ever gets near publishing. Other people pick up on this stuff, not us. My spouse still doesn’t know he says sure, sure every five seconds of the day.

In editing other peoples works, I’ve put together a list of common words you can easily find to delete/find and rework. Here’s my list for you to start with.

– that
– feel/felt
– says/said
– ask/asked

Start there and then really look for what your personal preferences are in your own work. I guarantee you have them.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Weary v Wary

Hello friends,

This is the last Grammar Wednesday of the year! Since next Wednesday is Christmas, I will be taking it off from this adventure. This week we’ll be looking at weary and wary–two things that should not be happening during the holiday season. But here we go.


She was wary of going to a new church on Christmas eve, not knowing anyone generally didn’t bode for a pleasant service.

Being weary of the holidays, Rusty decided to take a nap on the edge of her bed, curing into a tight ball before slipping off into slumber.


have a great 2014!!

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Effect v Affect

These are two that are actually less mixed up than they used to be. Affect is to affect something, while one thing has an effect on another.


Rusty was affected by the dog that moved into the house.

Rusty made an effect on the dog when she smacked him on the nose.

The effect of the lights in my eyes is to blind me.

I’m affected by strong lighting.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – It’s v Its

There was no Grammar Wednesday last week due to Thanksgiving and travel. This week we’ll focus on what that is consistently incorrect in many things that I edit. One would thing that it would be easy because “it’s” is a contraction of “it is,” but it’s still messed up.

The easiest way to look at this one for correction is to try it out as “it is” and to look to see if “its” refers to something or someone.


It’s easy to say that Christmas comes quickly when one is having fun.

Christmas has its moments with family and friends and strangers all coming together.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Apart v A part

There is a massive issue when these two are mixed up, mainly because they mean the complete opposite.

She stood apart of the crowd.

She stood a part of the crowd.

Both have very different meanings. “A part” means together and with, while “apart” means separate and away from. Thus they are very different in how they are used.


The piece was a part of the whole.

Rusty was a part of her mom and a part of her dad.

Rusty was apart from Seeley for the better part of a week during a move.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Peek v Peak v Pique

These are fun ones and are very often misused. I think the easiest way to differentiate is to just write sentences with them.


Peek a boo! I see you!

The peak was over six thousand feet high.

The concept piqued the child’s interest, so they gave the child more to study.

We played peek a boo with each peak as it peeked around the corner; it was just enough to pique the toddlers interest and kept zir attention.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Lead v Led

While lead is a word that would be used in a sentence, it is not the past tense of “to lead.” Lead is actually a metal…led means “to lead” in the past tense. This is a very common mistake that is made, and I constantly have to correct it in other’s work and in mine. It’s not that I don’t know the difference, it’s that my fingers think for themselves sometimes.


Once they had led them to the cemetery, they started the ritual killing.

Lead is an element on the periodic table of contents.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Patience v Patients

It has honestly surprised me how many times I have seen this one mixed up. I’m not sure if it’s because of just random typos, but it does seem to happen more than it should.

Patients are people; they generally reside in a hospital but can be found in other places.

Patience is something that an individual has with someone or something else.

Now, it seems to be confusing because patient and patient are the spelled the same even though they have different meanings.


The patients at the hospital were patient when waiting for their doctors (yeah, right).

Her mother exerted the most amount of patience she had ever seen when she described what had happened to cause her brother’s black eye.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Faze v Phase

Tricky bugger!

You can phase out of something and not have it faze you. That’s how this one works.


The star ship phased out of reality and into the third dimension.

The captain stared at the view screen, unfazed by what was happening.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Reek v Wreak

This is a rather easy one to figure out.

One can wreak havoc with things that reek. =P

Reek is a smell, nasty, but a smell nonetheless

To wreak is a verb; it is something that someone does to something else. It is also not to be confused with “wreck,” which I have actually seen before.


Rusty’s litter box reeked from lack of cleaning. Whoopsies.

Rusty wreaked havoc in the middle of the night when I was trying to sleep; the darn cat never wanted me to be fully rested.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Awhile v A while

Now this one is confusing for a lot of people. “Awhile” as one word basically means “For a while” with two words…so if someone writes “for awhile” they basically write “for for a while” which is confusing and incorrect. This makes it hard. If there is a “for” generally the “a while” will be two words.


It had been awhile since she went to the gym, but she really needed to start working out again.

A while had passed since she had gone to the gym.

For a while she thought she was good with just walking to and from work

Every once in a while she would go for a longer walk to get ice cream.



Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Then v Than

These are two that get mixed up ALL the time, and it annoys me to no end. They mean very different things and can completely change the reading of a sentence and what follows.


Rusty, the wonder kitten, scarfed down her food and then vomited it up.

Rusty thought it was better to lounge on the cat tree than to indulge in more kitty nip.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Defiantly v Definitely

These are two words that I do see mixed up on occasion. It might just be typos, but I figured it’d be better to explore than to not. These two have very different meanings.


Rusty defiantly stood at the window, waiting for the threatening kitten she saw in the glass to arrive again.

Rusty definitely was high on cat nip.

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Passed v Past

Here’s two that get mixed up often…I even get confused on it. Passed is an action, used primarily with people passing by something or another person. Past is used with time.

She passed by him in the past. (if you want to get in your wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey mindset)


Soldier, the white dog, passed by Arwen, the black and white dog, while they raced for the ball.

Time past so slow, each tick on the clock reminding Adrian why she wasn’t out of class–her professor would not stop talking.


Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Gentle v Genteel v Gentile

Here’s a three-fer.

Gentle means to be nice, to be kind and soft and comforting.

Genteel means to be polite and respectable.

Gentile is a person who was not a Jew in Biblical times. Someone who was not of the monotheistic faith.



He was gentle when he brushed the tangles out of his daughter’s hair.

He was genteel in the way he introduced himself, but the gaze he gave her was anything but.

Paul welcomed Gentiles into the Jesus Movement.


Got it? Good!

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups — Lightning v Lightening

Good morning folks! I almost forgot that today is Wednesday. My life has been a bit crazy this week. This week we’re still looking at word mixups, I have quite a few of them.

Lightning and Lightening. I promise, they are two different words.

The lightning struck down from the sky, bearing the world as if it were day for three brief and heart stopping moments.

The lightening didn’t work, so I added more white to the blue, trying to make the color brighter and lighter.


The sky was lightening with each lightning strike.

o_O I feel so smart for that last one!

See the difference? Got it? Good!


Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups – Who vs. Whom

So I might be cheating a little bit this week. Throughout moving, school starting, work starting, and some medical stuff that’s going on, I don’t have the energy to write up an entire post. HOWEVER, I was emailed this awesome, awesome, AWESOME explanation of who versus whom. I think it’s one of those word mixups that  a lot of people mess up on, myself included.

All you have to do is click the link below and find out when to use who and when to use whom.

How and Why to use Who or Whom in a Sentence

Grammar Wednesday: Word Mixups — Further vs Farther

I recently read a book, not to be named, where the author could NOT figure out the difference between further and farther. It occurred to me that this author was probably not the only one with this issue. Both have an essence of distance.

Farther is physical distance.

Further is metaphorical distance.


Rusty the Wonder Kitten looked from the desk to the chair, knowing that it was only a little bit farther than before.

Rusty the Wonder Kitten knew she could push a little bit further and her mother would be charged with insanity.

“It’s only a bit farther,” her father said as she begged to know how much farther to the gas station–she really had to pee.

“If you go any further with that comment, you will lose your job,” his boss shouted.


Get it yet? Hope so! Check back here if you have questions.

Grammar Wednesday: TENSES — future

This is the rarest of all for an entire story/novel to be written in. However, there are often sections that require this.

example time!!

Rusty would be going to visit her brother in Washington, D.C. for a week. Then she would be going to the west to visit some family. She couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of traveling and seeing everything. Rusty would go to the national monument and the Lincoln memorial, maybe she would even stop by and see the White House. She wondered if the president would be around, maybe she could catch a glimpse.

Example done. *sigh*

Yes, future tense is necessary, but I do only suggest small doses of it! =P

Grammar Wednesday: TENSES — something that happened

This is where it gets confusing for people. When writing in present tense about something that happened in the past. This is where past perfect comes into play when writing in past tense, and past tense comes into play when writing in present tense.

Examples. Usually the easiest way to figure things out.


She flips her phone open and dials the number quickly, waiting for it to ring and the person to answer. Once the line picks up, she starts without so much as a “Hello.”

“You’ll never guess what happened to me.”

“What?” her friend replies.

“I just went online and this chick totally wrote a horrible review. I read it and sat here for twenty minutes, bawling my eyes out. I don’t even think she read the book!”

*** See how there’s a switch from present tense to past when the character is talking about something that happened (also see this sentence). It adds to the depth of the scene.


Rusty sat at the desk, reading over what she had written. Her journal from six years before was filled with scrawls and drawings that made little to no sense to her. She barely remembered even writing those words down. But she had written them. Time and time again, she had written about the little boy, Charlie, who she had thought she was in love with and how she had hated her mother for something stupid that had happened.

So much had changed from them to now.

Now she was happily married to Jimmy and had a fantastic relationship with her mother. Time changed so much in her life that she could barely even remember when everything seemed to be going wrong.

*** Past perfect has to do with setting something in the past in already past tense. The “she had written” is past perfect. This one is a bit trickier to master. I still screw it up!!