Why you need to know the difference between writing errors & writing mistakes

Most old-fashioned editors (hereafter known as OFEs**) and all my happy clients know that when it comes to “sticking to the rules” of writing I am an anarchist.

mistakes in writing

The fact that information crosses approximately 3,400 miles of Atlantic Ocean in less time than it takes you to sneeze does rather make a mockery of trying to preserve the good olde days of British English. British, American, Australian? They’re all OK.

Please note, however, that I’m not particularly anarchic in any other ways. I never burned my bra for Women’s Lib (although I was too young to need one then) and I didn’t even go to the anti-Trump protests in London in 2018 but only because there was no-one available to let my dogs out for wee-wees.

Grammar, spelling, punctuation: do you control them or do they control you?

This question has been bothering me for a long time over issues like the Oxford comma and whether you use a capital letter after a colon or not. Short answer? Issues like that do not matter worth a pinch of coonsh*t, as my dear old Canadian dad used to say. [Read more…]

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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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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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…]

Why English is a lunatic language – listen, learn and laugh

Have you ever tried to explain to a non-native English speaker how pronunciations in English are, er, a little difficult to understand?

English language humour

I’m just going to stop here and let you laugh as hard as I did when I first listened to this…

Here follows the most delightful and funny exposé of English language lunacy that I’ve heard in a long time.

English language lunacy only needs a short introduction

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Grammar humor – what a difference a dot makes

If you think punctuation is for the precious grammar police, have a read of these. Yes, most of them are funny.

Grammar humor - what a difference a dot makes
But trust me … incorrect punctuation really can get you into some serious doo-doo. Be warned, read on, and enjoy!

If you don’t think punctuation is important …

…try forgetting the comma when you write to someone “I’m sorry, I love you.”

Other classic whoopsies

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