I’m combing through my completed manuscript, editing for errors, searching for stronger verbs and making sure I use the right words before I submit it to my editor and pray she will publish it.

If you are an English major like me, the wrong word in a sentence is akin to running fingernails across a chalkboard. Sometimes, when you see it in print, it may be attributed to a spellchecker error because running your piece through spellchecker doesn’t catch this – It was their, right on the table in front of them. The right word, obviously, is there. Forget spellchecker, that’s just sloppy writing.

Sometimes, it is a grammatical error, one that we may hear and say everyday and think is correct. LIKE and AS are perfect examples. Most times, folks will say, “Like I said, the weather is really unusual this year.” Cue the fingernails for me.

More correctly, it should read “As I said…”

You should use the word LIKE only when you are comparing something. It has to have an object with it. She ran like a bat out of hell. He sang like a banshee.

The word AS needs a clause with it. As I said, the weather here in Central Illinois is wonderful.

Like, do you know what I mean? No, that’s incorrect usage.

I’m hung up on PASSED and PAST right now. I want my heroine to run past the hero. Or should she run passed the hero?

According to dictionary, any use of the word PAST most often has an element of time related to it. As a preposition, PAST can mean: “Beyond in time; after; beyond the age for or time of; (in stating the time of day) so many minutes, or a quarter or half of an hour, after a particular hour.”

An easy way to remember — The past is behind you. Passed is in front of you.

PASSED is the past participle of the verb “to pass”. “To pass” means “To proceed, move forward, depart; to cause to do this.” He passed the puck. I passed my driver’s exam. The week passed quickly.

But here is the clincher – the word PAST can also be used as an adverb.

So in my case, my heroine will run past my hero because the verb is run.

Do I have that write? Or do I have that right?


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