The Question Mark Strikes Again–Word Usage

In preparing my submission for critique at the writing conference, I am searching for all the “(?)” notes in my story. I find this is a handy way to avoid breaking my flow as I write. For example, is “iridescent” the word I want here? Add a “(?)” note and come back to it later. I spent a good chunk of the morning with my dictionary, checking my word usage. However, I don’t always know when to question my usage (homonyms and synonyms). That’s when a good English-major friend (or a well-read grandmother) comes in handy. For example, principle and principal, counselor and councilor, capitol and capital.

Wait, so if it’s a building, it’s a capitol, but if it’s a city, it’s a capital? I’m confused . . .

2 Comments on “The Question Mark Strikes Again–Word Usage”

  1. your last line hits home because i am constantly confusing myself in my latest WIP. i named the head of the school mr. capital, principal capital. do the kids fear his captal or capitol punishment? and dear auto-correct/auto-suggest keeps asking if i mean the other no matter what i use.

  2. Oh dear. English grammar can be so challenging to understand. Times like this are when I miss my grandmother, who first informed me of the difference between principal and principle.

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