Grammar Quirks: Marie Miranda Cruz on the Word 'Felicity'

Author of "Everlasting Nora," Marie Miranda Cruz talks about how "felicity" sounds like happiness and shares a quote that reminds her that humanity isn't doomed. 

Mignon Fogarty
3-minute read

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

Marie Miranda Cruz: "Felicity." What a lovely word! It’s an old fashioned word, but I love it because it "sounds" like happiness. Saying the word makes me happy.

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

MMC: This one is hard because I love words in general. If I had to pick one, I’d pick "compliance." I think this comes from my feelings on the current political climate. It means submission, obedience, to yield, and right now I don’t feel like it.

GG: What word will you always misspell?

MMC: "Receive." I always pause before typing or writing this word. I once misspelled the word "friend" and someone laughed at me. I am forever haunted by that. Thank goodness for online dictionaries because I still blank sometimes when I try to spell words I’ve used before.

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

MMC: "Banana-que." This is a fried plantain coated with crispy, caramelized sugar served on a barbeque stick. I’d love to include this word simply because it’s fun and because it’s delicious.

GG: Any grammar pet peeves we should know about?

MMC: Mostly about grammar itself! Which is why I began listening to your podcast a few years ago. Whenever I use the word "whether," I remember your show about common misused words.

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

MMC: I think grammar plays a big role in developing how a character thinks and speaks. It’s a distinguishing characteristic, and it gives the reader a clear idea about your character’s background, as in where they live and what level of education they have in terms of their vocabulary.

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

MMC: One of my favorites is by Neil Gaiman.

“A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams, and a world in which there is hope.”

I love this because it means there will always be kind, wonderful people in the world, and because of those people, humanity has a chance.

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

MMC: I struggle with comma placement. My lovely copyeditor had a wonderful time placing commas where there should be commas and removing them from sentences that had one too many. So now, I question myself constantly. I also have trouble with pronoun order. Microsoft Word alerts me, and I have to look it up to make sure I have it right! 


About the Author:

Marie Miranda Cruz was born in the historic town of Cavite City, Philippines, a city established in the late 17th century of the Spanish Colonial period, and spent a large portion of her childhood and teenage years living around the country. Marie moved to the United States permanently after getting her degree in Biology and currently works as a medical technician. She always held a deep love for children's books and writing; "Everlasting Nora" is her first novel.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.