Friday, March 13, 2009

PUGS Pointers #15: Are You Callus or Callous?

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

In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling (“PUGS”).


“Jr.” and “Sr.”, CMS #15.19 and CWMS p. 154 and AP p. 134

The abbreviations Jr. and Sr., as well as roman or Arabic numerals such as II or 3rd, after a person’s name are part of the name and should not be separated with a comma.

Examples: James Jefferson Sr. Dexter Harrison III


callous (adjective) means “having calluses” or “feeling no emotion or sympathy.”
“The suspect’s callous hands revealed an occupation involving physical labor.”
“The reporter was a cold, callous man.”
callous (verb) means “to make callous.”
“A childhood of abuse had calloused her to the needs of others.”

callus (noun) means “a hard, thickened area on skin or bark.”
“The calluses on his hands reminded Shannon of a farmer she once dated.”
callus (verb) means “to cause calluses to form.”
“The physical labor callused his fingertips and palms.”

NOTE: mucous/mucus follows the same rule.


The pronouns who and whom can be confusing. But there are some tricks you can use to determine which to use when.

1. whom is always preceded by a preposition because the action has to happen to, with, or for the person being referred to.
The man to whom you wrote the check no longer works at this company.
The bowlers with whom I play won every tournament last season.
The audience for whom the book was written is teenage girls.

2. Try substituting a he/she or him/her pronoun. If he/she fits, use who. If him/her fits, use whom.
Diana, who rented the room, left the window open. (She rented the room.)
Diana, to whom the room was rented, left the window open. (It was rented to her.)


Whenever two spellings are given in the dictionary, the first one listed is the preferred spelling.


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.

For more PUGS Pointers, see Kathy Ide’s Web site. Or get her book Polishing the PUGS, available here.


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 Kathy's Web site.

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