Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Review—Polishing the Pugs

Polishing the Pugs, by Kathy Ide
a book review by Renee Cassidy

Upon first glance at this month’s book, I had to smile at the title. What are Pugs and why should they be polished?

Further examination revealed the subtitle, PUGS stands for Punctuation, Usage, Grammar and SpellingDeborah Raney, one of my favorite fiction authors had recommended this book, “a fantastic resource, concise, well researched and conveniently organized. I refer to it often.”

Kathy Ide’s masterpiece of a reference book takes a complex subject and breaks it down into useable bites of information.  For those of us who are editorially challenged, this book provides simple steps with common mistakes to review. She jokes that her colleagues called her the PUGS lady and rethink simple emails to her.  So would I after reading this book! The book is divided into four sections to address the acronym and include punctuation, usage, grammar and style.

The introduction starts with the statement, “A book with problems is a book rejected.” How true when acquisitions editors are presented with sloppy manuscripts. Many are already looking for small reasons to reject the submitted work.

The 10 reasons to polish the PUGS include the following:

  • PUGS errors decrease your acceptance chance.
  • PUGS cause miscommunication.
  • PUGS errors cause confusion.
  • PUGS errors give an unprofessional appearance.
  • PUGS errors can be embarrassing.
  • PUGS errors cause readers to take you and your message less seriously.
  • PUGS errors could cost you money.
  • PUGS errors can be distracting.
  • PUGS errors can give Christians and Christianity a poor reputation.

Details are important in a writer’s bag of tools and display professionalism. The four sectioned book breaks down the detail elements by category.


The most commonly misused mistakes are displayed in this section from periods and quotation marks to commas and italics. At the end of this section, punctuation tips are added in three.
  • Use punctuation sparingly.
  • Be consistent.
  • When in doubt look it up.


Commonly misused words are displayed in this section. There are also helpful article tips on multiple pages. At the end of this section is filling in the blanks so that you can add your own most confusing words for future reference.


There are huge reference books to address this subject, but Kathy Ide breaks down the huge books to the most common grammatical mistakes. The additional sections to address pronouns and modifiers are separated in this section. To round out this section, there are 4 grammar myths to learn and unlearn from your English classes. 
  • Never split an infinitive.
  • Never start a sentence with a conjunction.
  • Never end a sentence with a proposition.
  • Never use the word hopefully in place of “It is hoped.”

Interestingly enough, it is recommended that a writer never rely on spell check.  This section highlights the commonly misspelled words.  It addresses publisher’s preferences, words for modern technology, hyphens and numbers.  This section is invaluable.

The conclusion of this book adds Kathy Ide’s personal information as well as how to obtain copies of this book.  Her website is She's both a writer and a frequent speaker at writer’s conferences.  She also provides other services such as ghost writing and editorial services and has a great website for editors, The Christian Pen.

Renee Cassidy is an experienced freelance writer and photographer. In 2006 she won the Writer's Digest Short Story Contest and has gone on to write for multiple publications. With a degree in marketing she brings her varied experience to the benefit of her clients.
She has two grown children and currently lives with the two men in her life - Fritz, her German Shephered and Australian Cash, her quarter horse.


  1. Great review! I will definitely get my hands on this book.

  2. I totally agree, Renee. This is a great resource!

  3. Renee is one of the most talented,and genuine people that i've ever known.Most walk away from a conversation with her revived.She is positively a human light source get this book, and Renee keep up the good work!!!