General Writing and Grammar Help/Expert Profile

Martha Beth Lewis

On Vacation
returns 10/29/2016

I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.

Experience in the area

I was employed as an editor for the graduate school at a major U.S. university and specialized in dissertations. I have over 200 publications in professional journals, consumer magazines, and newspapers. I am the author of five books and numerous syllabi in an arts field. I also am a freelance line editor, copy editor, and proofreader (over 40 years), and I have written or edited countless community organizations' newsletters and promotional materials.


Note: When using a word as a word in a sentence, such as: Put a period after the word dog, =dog= should be set in italics. Since I do not have access to italics here, I shall use = on either side of the word or phrase that properly should appear in italics. For the above example: Put a period after the word =dog=. Also, ~~please do not mark your questions as private~~. I will change them to public because I don't want to type the same answer twice! Thanks for your understanding.


If you submit a question to other Experts or the pool, I'd appreciate it if you would >>NOT<< submit it to me, also. It's like asking several people out on a date and choosing among those who said yes! This implies my time and particular expertise are worth nothing to you. I want to spend my time responding to those who find my qualifications germane to their question. Remember: I'm a volunteer!


Education B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa Ph.D.

Awards and Honors

I ask that you >>COME BACK TO READ MY RESPONSE<<. I've taken time to write the best response I can, so you should come back to read it! It's disheartening to respond to a question, only to see later that the person has not bothered to come back. Remember: I'm a volunteer!

Past/Present Clients

I am happy to help you - that's why I volunteered - but please remember I *am* a volunteer and extend me normal courtesies, such as no multiple submissions and not bothering to come back for your answer. mb

What do you like about this subject?

RESUMES: I am often asked to look over resumes and offer suggestions for improvement. I beg you not to ask because I must turn you down for lack of time! Because I have to say no, I have written a general article on resumes (it's all about sales!) on my website. Go to: marthabeth dot com / how_write_resume dot html

Average Ratings

Recent Answers from Martha Beth Lewis

2016-09-02 Dives the rich man:

Dives (DIE-veez) is of Biblical origin:  a non-specific name for an extremely rich man (in the story of the selfish rich man and Lazarus, the leper). See Luke: Chapter 16.    ~~    Today, it is used as

2016-06-28 T-junction streets; haircuts:

1.  I am not sure was a "T-junction" is.  Is this when one road stops at another that is perpendicular to it, so as to form what looks like a =T=?    =T-junction= is not a phrase in American English.

2016-06-27 copyright:

I do not know what Taiwanese copyright law says.  I am basing my responses on U.S. copyright law.    ~~    (1) Use =illegal copies of=.    ~~    (1)  I would use =rates= to show that each of them has risen

2016-02-01 dash or comma.:

The comma alone is wrong.  You need something more, or else =the Internet= is hanging on at the end of the sentence, suspended!    Use a preposition.  everywhere these days, such as the Internet.    Or

2015-12-04 Time and Commas:

Ok, I see your point.  Good observation.    ...herself laugh as she did during a Punch and Judy performance at her first elementary school  This could easily use a comma after =laugh=.    ~~    What I


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