Friday, April 17, 2009

PUGS Pointers #20: Compound Predicates

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”).

Compound Predicates
A comma should not be used between the parts of a “compound predicate” (two or more verbs having the same subject).
“Kate took Gail to a writers conference and talked her into signing up for two more.”

See The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition) #6.34 and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style page 150.


capital (noun) can mean “wealth/accumulated possessions,” “a column,” or “a city serving as a seat of government.”

capital (adjective) means “punishable by death,” “chief in importance or influence,” “excellent,” or “not lowercased.”
“the capital importance of criticism”
“a capital book”
“spelled with a capital M”

A capitol is a building, or group of buildings, in which the functions of state government are carried out. (When capitalized, it refers to the building in which the United States Congress meets at Washington.)
“Capitol Hill” refers to the legislative branch of the United States government.

Make sure that every pronoun in your manuscript has an antecedent. Example:
Amanda said she was going to the store. (She refers to Amanda.)

Exception: The pronouns it and who sometimes stand alone.
“It’s a beautiful day” or “It’s going to rain.”
“Who was at the door?”

Caution: Avoid using the stand-alone it as much as possible.

air-condition (verb)
air conditioner (noun—no hyphen)
air-conditioning (noun)
air-conditioned (adjective)


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 at


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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