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Grammar Quirks: Courtney Summers on the Word 'Loveology'

Courtney Summers, author of the book "Sadie," talks about semicolons, spelling, and "Loveology."

By
Mignon Fogarty,
courtney summers's book sadie

Grammar Girl: What’s your favorite word and why?

Courtney Summers: "Sleep," because it’s also one of my favorite things to do.

GG: What’s a word you dislike (either because it’s overused or misused) and why?

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CS: I join many, many people in disliking the word "moist." It’s just so generally unpleasant—unless we’re talking about the state of various foods, such as cake.

GG: What word will you always misspell?

CS: "Recommendation" or "occasion." I just gave autocorrect a little workout to prove my point! I always want to add too many c's to one, and not enough for the other.

GG: What word (or semblance of a word) would you like to see added to the dictionary? Why?

CS: Regina Spektor has a song called "Loveology." "Loveology"! It always struck me as wonderful and whimsical and smile-inducing enough to earn its place in the dictionary.

GG: Any grammar pet peeves we should know about?

CS: Not really, but I’m always annoyed by people who are annoyed by semicolons. I love them and will not let detractors keep them from my novels.

GG: To what extent does grammar play a role in character development and voice?

CS: Grammar plays a critical role in shaping the rhythm and flow of a novel’s voice! There are so many choices you can make that determine the ease of which the words are read, the cadence in which they’re read...every choice you make has an impact.

GG: Do you have a favorite quotation or passage from an author you’d like to share?

CS: "Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within. The world was outside of him, around him, before him, and the speed with which it was changing made it impossible for him to dwell on any one thing for very long. Motion was of the essence, the act of putting one foot in front of the other and allowing himself to follow the drift of his own body. By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal, and it no longer mattered where he was. On the best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere."
—"The New York Trilogy" by Paul Auster

GG: What grammar, wording, or punctuation problem did you struggle with this week?

CS: When you make as many as I do, it’s impossible for one in particular to stand out!

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