Tiffany Rosenhan, author of "Girl From Nowhere," shares the grammar quirks she's acquired while writing.
Grammar Girl: What’s your favorite word and why?
Tiffany Rosenhan: "Poronkusema." It’s an untranslatable Finnish word meaning “how far a reindeer can walk before needing the toilet.” It’s brilliant in its universality, because it can be applied to children as well. Every morning of my mothering life, I have left the house under a timeframe of poronkusema. (I first found this word in "What a Wonderful Word" by Nicola Edwards and Luisa Uribe and promptly asked my Finnish neighbor who confirmed its authenticity!)
GG: What’s a word you dislike (either because it’s overused or misused) and why?
TR: "Duh." It should be used only when essential, duh.
GG: What word will you always misspell?
TR: "Witch" and "which"! I type too fast to counterbalance my Hogwarts education.
GG: What word (or semblance of a word) would you like to see added to the dictionary? Why?
TR: "Techilliterate"! I made it up one night, desperate to describe myself.
GG: Any grammar pet peeves we should know about?
TR: Boring pronouns.
GG: To what extent does grammar play a role in character development and voice?
TR: It becomes more important the farther I get into revisions! During the creative stage, when maintaining flow is essential, constantly editing poor grammar is far more distracting than simply skimming over mistakes. However, once I start to ruthlessly edit, grammar and syntax become key parts of each character’s voice.
GG: Do you have a favorite quote or passage from an author you’d like to share?
TR: “Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company” - Lord Byron
GG: What grammar, wording, or punctuation problem did you struggle with this week?
TR: Punctuation kills me. I’m not detail oriented enough to catch misplaced parenthesis and quotation marks!