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I'm going to don my editor's hat for a moment to talk about a few mistakes that authors make that date their manuscripts and let editors know that it's a been a while since they've brushed up on grammar and punctuation. Young writers should be learning these rules in their classrooms.
Let's see how up-to-date you are:
I always put all periods and commas inside quotation marks.
You may have been taught that the following is correct: Whenever I read the poem "Leaves", I cry. Nope, not any more. The correct way to write that sentence is Whenever I read the poem "Leaves," I cry. The old rules no longer apply. Every single comma and period goes inside quotation marks. No exceptions. Yeah, it's sad, but true.
I always type only one space after a period.
If you put two spaces between your sentences, editors figure you were probably trained on a typewriter rather than a computer. Have you ever noticed those green squiggly lines between sentences when you have grammar check on? The computer is warning you that you should only be using one space after a period. Computers automatically adjust the amount of space between words and sentences; typewriters did not. Do your editor a favor and send your manuscript in with only one space after every period. It's amazing how many authors, even multi-pubbed ones, are unaware of this. Believe me, your copy editor will love you.
I use "an" only before words that begin with a silent "h."
If a word begins with an "h" that is sounded out, use "a." For example, "an herb" is correct. So is "a historical building." Not what you learned in school? It's time to brush up on your grammar and punctuation. English is a growing and changing language. Writers, who use the language daily, should keep up with those changes.
If you've been out of school for a while or if you answered no to any of the statements above, pick up a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. It's what most publishing houses use to edit manuscripts. If you weren't aware of these new rules, you may want to check out the CMoS website and glance through their "Significant Rule Changes in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition." Many of the changes above were found in the 15th edition. The 16th has additional changes. You can also sign up for the online version. Then when you have a question about grammar or punctuation, you can look it up. It's well worth the price.