Friday, February 13, 2009

PUGS Pointers #11: Polished Pugs Impress Publishers

PUGS* Pointers
(*Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling)
by Kathy Ide


Polished PUGS impress publishers.

Even if you’ve already had one or more manuscripts accepted for publication, you can really impress your publisher if you “polish the PUGS” before submitting your work. Your editors will be able to focus more on content if they don’t have to worry about the mechanics. And the less time your proofreaders have to spend fixing the mistakes, the less money your publisher will have to spend on that part of the process . . . which will be one more advantage in your favor when you pitch your next manuscript!


Double and Single Quotation Marks
Double quotation marks are used for short quotes within the text (called a “run-in quotation).
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3 NRSV).

Single quotation marks are used to indicate quotes within quotes.
“And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19 NASB).

Note: There is no other use for a single quotation mark.

(See The Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition, #11.33 and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style 14th edition p. 344 and The Associated Press Stylebook pp. 334–336)


accept (always a verb) means “to receive,” “to agree with,” or “to say yes to.”
“Bethany House did not accept Carol’s proposal.”

except (verb) means “to omit,” “to exempt,” or “to exclude.”
“Joe was excepted from the list of those invited.”
except (preposition) means “other than.”
“Everyone except Nanette had the wrong answer.”


anxious vs. eager
anxious indicates fear, nervousness, extreme uneasiness, or worry (anxiety).
“Debbie was anxious about the exam.”

eager means you are enthusiastic, ready to begin.
“Brooke was eager to start writing her new novel.”


brussels sprouts (not brussel sprouts or Brussels sprouts)

PUGS Pointers are based on the current industry-standard references in the United States.

For books:

The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, © 2003)

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, © 2003)

For articles:

The Associated Press Stylebook (© 2004)

Webster’s New World College Dictionary (© 2002)

Many publishing houses have their own in-house style guides that may differ in some aspects from the standard references. However, unless you’re writing exclusively for one particular publisher, it’s best to follow the standard references and let the in-house proofreaders adjust to house style.


Kathy Ide has been writing for publication since 1988. She has written books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. She is a full-time freelance editor, offering a full range of editorial services for aspiring writers, established authors, commercial book publishers, subsidy publishers, and magazines. Her services include proofreading, copyediting, substantive/content editing, coauthoring, ghostwriting, and mentoring/coaching. She also speaks at writers conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Network ( To find out more, please visit

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