Grammar Girl: What’s your favorite word and why?
Bourne Morris: My favorite word is “concision” although it is rarely used. It’s so much more concise than "conciseness."
GG: What’s a word you dislike (either because it’s overused or misused) and why?
BM: I dislike the use of fancy words when simple ones will do. I don’t like the use of “paradigm” when the word “example” would do.
GG: What word will you always misspell?
BM: I always have to check how I spell "alcohol." I keep putting in an extra H.
GG: What word (or semblance of a word) would you like to see added to the dictionary? Why?
BM: When she was a two-year old, my daughter made up a wonderful word when a toy ring was too large. “We should smallen it, “she said. I think “smallen” would be a great addition.
GG: Any grammar pet peeves we should know about?
Poor grammar stops the reader dead in her tracks. I hate stopping the reader.
BM: I avoid the use of semicolons. For me a comma means pause and a period means stop, and that’s all I need for my stories. Editors love to put in semicolons, and I love to take them right back out.
GG: To what extent does grammar play a role in character development and voice?
BM: To a great extent. Especially in dialogue, grammar helps shape the character. Also, poor grammar stops the reader dead in her tracks. I hate stopping the reader.
GG: Do you have a favorite quotation or passage from an author you’d like to share?
BM: I love James Thurber’s irritation with too many commas: He viewed them as “upturned office chairs unhelpfully hurled down the wide-open corridor of readability.”
GG: What grammar, wording, or punctuation problem did you struggle with this week?
BM: Finding the right description for my latest book. Another word I dislike is “genre.”