Punctuation: praise it or punch it on the nose?

Are you a slave to proper punctuation? Or is punctuation a slave to you?

Being a pro writer and author and all that, I have given dozens (literally) of traditional editors self-induced alopaecia after reading my book manuscripts. Why? Because I don’t stick to punctuation rules.

Article on punctuation

Punctuation rules: should they be relaxed? Now there’s a puzzle

Being a North American, too, I use punctuation that spans the Atlantic giving the grammar police on both shores the desire to stab me with a red pencil.

And you know what? I don’t care.

Don’t forget that I am a former copywriter, and copywriters are notorious for flipping the bird at conventional grammar, punctuation and even syntax sometimes in order to create an effect.

Ridiculously bad punctuation: not what we’re talking about

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Stamping out essay writing cheats for students: some hope at last

Some of you may have noticed that I have been ranting for some time about essay (plus thesis, dissertation etc.) writing offered online so students can pay someone else to write their work – cheating.

Hellping university students to cheat

Essay mills to help students cheat: approx 250 million on Google alone

Finally here in the UK someone has taken notice of this easy rip-off for cheating students and is hoping to do something about it. To quote the BBC news website’s headline:

PayPal urged to block essay firm cheats

Will shaking a stick at PayPal deliver any real results? Not in isolation, no. But with luck, it’s a start. [Read more…]

Three million reads about writing: check out the most popular here

Just checking out my stats and found that HTWB has now had more than three million page views.

I’m “gob-smacked,” as we say in the UK: surprised, thrilled, delighted and humbled all at the same time. What a wonderful testimony to those of us willing to share our expertise for no financial gain.

3 million page vieww for HTWB

Celebrate with us: more than 3 million page views of HTWB

And what a wonderful testimony to the many writing and allied contributors who have made this humble site what it is. You all know how you are: too many to name individually but covering all aspects of writing that I can’t, from writing fiction to business plans to terms and conditions to bids and tenders to music to poetry and much, much, more.

No ads, no covert links in articles, no need to sign up, so no spam

(But you can buy some books from the Bookshop or right side bar if you like!)

Here are some of the most popular articles and tutorials you can choose from: [Read more…]

Apostrophes: a potty-mouthed poem about their misuse

This is pretty horrible, but should wake up apostrophe abusers a lot more than the weedy articles we see politely explaining how to use the poor little things.

how to suse apostrophes

Do not fool with this small tool…

Apostrophe fascists around the (English speaking) world take note: share the following poem if you dare. Your readers may find it offensive but with luck it will get the message over.

A Poem For Apostrophe Dickheads

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Why writing capital Letters for the Wrong words makes them (and you) look Stupid

Are you one of the increasing number of people who think that all you need to make a word more important is to give it a capital letter?

Misuse-of-capital-letters

Very nice – but don’t overuse!

As my business partner (an ex-Oxford University publisher/editor/author) would say, “why capitalise your status as a Bricklayer? Does that really make it seem more important than bricklayer?”

Capital letters: after apostrophes, the most commonly abused characters in writing

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BUT is a hurtful word: what writing lesson can we learn from dressage?

Have you ever noticed how the word “but” can rip the positivity out of the words preceding it in whatever you’re writing …at the expense of your poor readers who may suffer from its nasty negativity?

why the word BUT can be unnecessarily negative

Dressage: Easy? Sure. Like threading a needle blindfolded is easy.

Being a weirdo, when I’m not writing in here or for my own books or my clients’ books and blogs, guess what I do in my spare time? I write. And none of this namby-pamby keyboard or touch screen stuff. This is hard core handwriting on paper with a pen, cramped up in a car or sometimes in a drafty little wooden shack with a leaking roof in pouring rain and no heating. In mid-winter. Sheer masochism? [Read more…]

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