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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. 

By
Mignon Fogarty,
Everlasting Nora

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 quote 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! 

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