Minding your Ps and Qs

The aristocracy – never had a problem with it until I decided to write a short story about werewolves in high society. Now it turns out there’s a bit missing from my grammar playbook.

Do I write:

‘I’ll bring the car around, Ma’am.’

or is it:

‘I’ll bring the car around, ma’am.’

Teatime and Macaroons by Joanna Kosinska (@joannakosinska)

I was pretty sure it was the second one because I ran across a similar problem while I was writing the Quisling Orchid. The book has a lot of dialogue (as all good books seem to), and a lot of Nazis (not necessarily a requirement for a good book). In this case, I knew I should write:

‘And why did you feel the need to let her go, sargeant?’

Small ‘s’ for sargeant, so I figured it was the same for the aristocracy:

‘I’ll have him flogged, your ladyship.’

though I had this notion that maybe ‘ladyship’ needed a capital letter:

‘I’ll have him flogged, your Ladyship.’

And that just looks weird.

Time for a [insert your favourite search engine here] search, and one of the first results that came up was from Merethe Walther’s seriously excellent blog. This page covers every common capitalisation rule, and a couple I hadn’t thought of. Definitely worth a read if you’re not sure, and still worth a read if you’re absolutely positive you’re doing it right.

The Curious Case of the Missing Comma – Part II

You might remember that last year, I wrote a piece about a legal battle in Oakhurst Dairies of Maine and its drivers. The case was over $10million the drivers said they were owed in back overtime pay, and hinged around a comma missing in law concerting overtime payments made years before.

If you need a refresher, here it is:

The Curious Case of the Missing Comma.

Turns out both sides have agreed to split the difference: in February, the company agreed to pay its drivers $5million to settle the dispute … over a missing comma.

So don’t let anyone ever tell you that punctuation doesn’t matter.