Author. Editor. Poet. Mom. Also a total grammar geek and word nerd.

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Photo credit: Lisa Miller of Studio di Luce

Hello! I’m very grateful to Quy Ma at About Me Stories for inviting me to submit my bio to his terrific publication. As my subhead states above, I’m an author, editor, poet, and mom, and I’m also a total grammar geek and word nerd. I grew up in upstate New…


And how they can add some interesting insights to your writing

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In my Writing Well post on conjunctions, I discussed how conjunctions are all about making connections. Same goes for conjunctive adverbs. To put it simply, a conjunctive adverb creates a connection between two independent clauses, groups of words that can stand on their own as complete sentences.

A conjunctive adverb…


And why understanding how each is used can help you know the right way to go

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In my Writing Well post “Two Tricks to Help You Remember When to Insert a Comma Before ‘So,’” I mention that it’s important to understand how “so” is being used in the middle of a sentence before deciding whether a comma should precede it. …


And why fully understanding participial phrases and how to use them can help you write more professionally

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In my last Writing Well post, I explored participles that express “an action or a state of being (as a verb does)” while modifying “a noun or pronoun (as an adjective does).” …


Though common, such participles aren’t commonly called out

Black and white photo of a barefoot boy in overalls and a straw hat reaching for a jumping frog.
Photo by Elli Gerra on

Maybe it’s the intimidating word “participle” that creates a block in my mind related to this particular grammatical term. No clues arise when I see the word “participle” or “participles.” …

And why you should really try to get some anyway

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Image by Sabri Ismail from

I find it fascinating that the U.K. version of “breathing room” — which in the U.S. means room and time to think things over — is “breathing space.” According to the impressively titled Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the term refers to “a period of rest in order to increase strength…

And why exerting creative effort for no monetary return can be so gratifying

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Similar to so many, my husband and I come from families of workers. Farmers and factory workers dot our family trees alongside many other union members as well as members of the military, small business owners, office workers, and more who plied (and currently ply) their trades day in and…

From the point of view of a protected childhood

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My first glimpses of death in childhood were gleaned while watching the shows my brothers watched when I should have been in bed. I’d remain as quiet as possible in a corner of the living room so no one would notice me. Columbo, each episode of which preceded lovable Peter…


And the exceptions to the rule related to the use of “a” or “an”

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Many words are taken for granted by native English speakers and writers, but none more than the humble articles “the,” “a,” and “an.” I realized how much of a word nerd I am when I started reading about even these three simple words and found myself entering a potential rabbit…


And when to include commas with these nifty words or phrases

Two sisters in knee-length dresses in a lilac field holding colorful bouquets of flowers outstretched in front of themselves, hiding their faces.
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

The term “appositive” is yet another grammatical term that can sound intimidating but makes a lot of sense when you understand it. A guest post on my favorite online resource on all things grammar, Grammar Girl, quotes the American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style, which defines “appositive” as…

Karen DeGroot Carter

Bylines in Publishers Weekly, the Writing Cooperative, others. One Sister’s Song (novel). Not Nearly Everything You Need to Know About Writing (ebook).

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