More Self-Editing Tips From the Thrifty Editor

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When your manuscript is complete and you are reading over it looking for errors, remember to read aloud. I mentioned this in my last “Self-Editing Tips” post, but now I’d like to add that you may have to read aloud through your manuscript more than once in order to catch all of the things I am sharing in these posts. But remember, the more errors you can find and fix on your own, the less you will have to pay an editor to find, and the less will end up in the final published copy.

So, what are you looking for this time?

I want to mention a couple more grammar items here. One I mentioned in the last “Self-Editing Tips” post, (click on editing in Categories to find all my posts about editing and self-editing), is a very common error in the use of the words lie and lay. I am going to ask you to read a post on another blog that explains this very well, along with one or two other common grammatical errors, so click here. This post was written by a writer friend of mine on a blog that a group of six writers, including me, post on.

In addition to the grammar you just read on that post, I would like to address who and whom. I continually see writers using who but never using whom when they should.

Who is used as the subject of a verb or as a complement of a linking verb. For example: It was Sara who baked the peach pies. When writing a sentence, first determine what the verbs are — was and baked. Next, find the subject for each verb: Sara and who. Because who is a subject, it is correct. Who won the fifty yard dash?

Whom is used as the object of the verb or as the object of a preposition. It’s an objective pronoun. For example: Jason took whom to the prom? In this sentence, the subject and verb are “Jason took”. The pronoun that follows the verb is the object of the verb. Therefore whom is correct. Example: She’s playing tennis with whom? This pronoun is the object of the preposition with, so whom is the proper choice.

However, you need to be careful. Sometimes the prepositional pronoun in question can also be a subject — if it is, you need to use who. For example: Princess Liana cheered for who exhibited the best character. Even though the pronoun follows the preposition “for”, it is also the subject of the second verb “exhibited”. When used as a subject, always use who.

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