Grammar Girl: What’s your favorite word and why?
Sara Larson: I love so many words, it’s impossible to choose only one! One of my favorites is "susurration." I adore the way it sounds, and the meaning is just as lovely: whispering, murmuring, or rustling.
GG: What’s a word you dislike (either because it’s overused or misused) and why?
SL: I can’t stand it when people say “supposably” instead of "supposedly." It’s like nails on a chalkboard. It’s even worse when it’s a friend or family, because then I have to decide if it’s more important to avoid embarrassing them or saving myself from cringing every time they use it.
GG: What word will you always misspell?
SL: "Infinitesimally." I rarely ever get it right on the first try—and I don’t know why. I’ve used it enough, you’d think I should be able to spell it right by now!
GG: What word (or semblance of a word) would you like to see added to the dictionary? Why?
SL: I’m not sure about adding a word, but I would sure love to remove the words “daylight saving time”—as in: please, please NEVER AGAIN MAKE US CHANGE OUR CLOCKS so that this phrase has no meaning from hence forth and forever! Ahem. Sorry, I get ornery about losing sleep and the sun setting at 5 p.m. in the winter. I would much rather wake up and get to watch the sunrise sometime after I’m up than have it be pitch black before dinner.
GG: Any grammar pet peeves we should know about?
SL: I can’t stand it when people use the wrong “your” and “you’re”… ooooh, that drives me crazy! It’s such an easy one to figure out. If my phone ever autocorrects it to the wrong one and I don’t catch it before I send it (after getting very upset at autocorrect—something that happens more often than you might think), you can guarantee I will be sending another text with the correct one!
GG: To what extent does grammar play a role in character development and voice?
SL: It can play a huge part. As authors creating characters, we must consider where our characters grew up, what kind of education they had, what their personalities are, and more. All of those factors can and should impact the way a character speaks and what kind of grammar they use. The use of proper (or improper) grammar can set a tone for your character that helps to shape how the reader views that person.
GG: Do you have a favorite quotation or passage from an author you’d like to share?
SL: From the beginning of my writing journey as an adult, I’ve had a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt as the header on my blog, printed off to hang in my room, and now it’s on my website and more. It is so beautiful and hopeful—and powerful, too. She said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” And I truly believe that to be true!
GG: What grammar, wording, or punctuation problem did you struggle with this week?
SL: "Further" and "farther." No matter how many times someone explains this to me, I just can’t grasp it correctly. My poor copy editors. I’m so sorry.