Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Editorial Tip of the Week: All Together Now

Time to look at how all plays with other words:

When is all of necessary? Leave of at home when all modifies a noun. But when a pronoun follows, all of takes the lead, as in this example from Karen Elizabeth Gordon's, Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, a Beastly Guide Thought the Writer's Labyrinth:
All the activities on board required social graces, so the second skipper was much obliged to skip all of them and skulk about the deck alone.

Already is old news. But if some one is prepared to do the deed, he or she is all ready.

Alright is not all right in polite company, but it may be found when folks are just hanging out. See Grammar Girl for a more thorough discussion.

All together is a phrase that means, "in a group" (think of the Beatles). But altogether is an adverb; think "completely" or "entirely.

Remember that distinction between phrase and adverb when you come to all ways and all most. Each is a two-word phrase, and the words can be rearranged. For example, "the path twisted all ways" or "keep to the path through all the ways it twists and turns."
Always and almost are adverbs. Almost means "at all times" or "forever." And almost means "nearly." Paul Brians keeps it interesting when he points out the difference between most always and almost always:
"Most always" is a casual, slangy way of saying "almost always."
Good to for writers to remember, because sometimes our characters need to loosen up.

Although takes precedence, opening a clause. Though is often used to link words and phrases. Again, quoting Karen Elizabeth Gordon, this time from "Out of the Loud Hound of Darkness":
Although we've never actually met, I feel I know you through and through ..."
Raving mad though I am about most of Manx Vulpino's work, ...

When in doubt, there's the Miriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary.

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