Recently I clashed again with an editor. When I referred to one man, say Mr. Peterson, I wrote Mr. Peterson's car. When I wrote about the family's car, I wrote the Petersons' car (or the Peterson car), but when I wrote that the Petersons went to Hawaii, I did not place an apostrophe in the word Peterson.
Am I crazy or have I been wrong all my life? The editor said to write The Peterson's went to Hawaii is the grammatically correct way to write this. I hope to receive a little backup, and if somehow I've been wrong all these years, you can sue me as soon as I win the lottery. :)

In this particular book, several family names crop up a number of times, and at least she has agreed to change all these to my liking, "even though it's not grammatically correct".

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Ah, the serial comma. I've always liked the serial comma myself. Then a copy editor removed it everywhere in my first novel. Having learned my lesson, I left out the comma before the final phrase in my second novel, and the next copy editor put it back in. Everywhere. It seems I use the series a lot.
Common sense and actual practice suggests that the serial comma is a matter of taste. And it's not the only one. There are several instances where commas are optional.
As a reader (and "grammarian"), I'm a lot more worried about the confusion between "lay" and lie."
"Common sense and actual practice suggests that the serial comma is a matter of taste."

Nope: it's a matter of style. AP sez take 'em out. Chicago sez put 'em in. That's my point.
Well, clearly you are choosing between Chicago and AP, right? Is AP the same as APA (American Psychological Association)?

I like the extra comma in, and so it stays in from now on.
AP is American Press.

And the style I "choose" is chosen by the venue. For a North American periodical, it is sensible to assume they'll be using AP. Most North American book publishers will be editing to some verison of Chicago Manual of Style. Most editors know the preference and will tell you if you ask. (I say most because it's possible the editor who had the "Petersen's" going on vacation will not know the answer to that question.)

Nice segue, yes? Right back to the Petersens!
Ah. journalism!
I agree with an earlier poster - send her Eats Shoots Leaves.
HB x
No on Eats, Shoots & Leaves. What's reqiured in this instance is reference, not amusement. On your side of the pond, the buck stops here:,,,00.html


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