Search Results for: punctuation

How important are grammar and spelling? Really?

Now that the mass media with its “newspeak” vocabulary has been part of our lives for several generations we really can’t afford to be pompous about spelling and grammar any more.

Even the stuffiest of academics has had to admit that stiffly formal writing is not clever; it’s boring. They may look down their noses at the language of popular websites, social media, blogs and so-on, but that’s the language nearly everyone speaks today.

article about spelling and grammarI won’t waste your time with my theories on why that has happened, but the bottom line is that English as a language has become simpler and less complex than it was 100 years ago.

And quite right, too. I’ve never understood why some people get so uppity about the fact that a language has evolved.

Well, you and I haven’t got time to mourn the relegation of Shakespearean English to the theatre, even if we want to. We’ve got work to do here and now, and these days we write as we speak.

“Writing as people speak” is not a cop out

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Book writing courses for nonfiction: are they worth it?

I read a lot of books and scrutinise a lot of courses about how to write books. (Well, it’s my job.) You would be amazed at how complicated some of these make the process.

Some focus on formulæ more complex than a Google algorithm (and that’s going some) which they laughingly refer to as a system-based approach guaranteed to make your nonfiction book follow exactly the same cookie-cutter model as that of everyone else.Very few of these approaches champion originality and flexibility, because such formula-driven bullsh*t doesn’t have room for it. [Read more…]

Why even one grammar mistake could cost you your new job

All you need is a recruiter or employer who has a bee in their bonnet about grammar, spelling, punctuation and so-on…if your CV/résumé contains one or more mistakes, you are toast.

writing tips from Suzan St Maur
So are your job prospects with that employer.

Unfair? [Read more…]

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…]

Where next for How To Write Better: on page 1 of Google today!

Really thrilled to see that How To Write Better is back on Page 1 of Google, from a grand total of 2,270,000,000 results (approximately!)

How To Write Better on Google page 1

Sorry for the poor picture quality – best I could do with an IPhone…

Admittedly we’re only at the bottom, but it’s an achievement all the same. Thank you, readers, for supporting the site and helping it to grow

What would you like to see more of on How To Write Better?

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How to write in body language

Have you ever expressed regret about written communications because they don’t allow you to “read” – and use – body language? I have, and many others appear to have done so as well.

Writing in body language

There are ways to compensate for lack of body language when you’re communicating in text.

One of the most obvious places where the lack of body language can cause misinterpretations leading to discussions, arguments and worse, is in social media comments. Just one sentence that’s a bit thoughtless or flippant in the wrong circumstances can make a fire break out and within minutes there are dozens or even hundreds of trolls fanning the flames into the second Great Fire of London.

But that’s not the only problem area. [Read more…]

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