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

[Read more…]

25 better writing tips to print and stick on your, er, wall

You may have noticed that I’ve started sharing some new/updated ‘how to write better’ tips in social media and in my email sig file.

I thought you also might like to have the first 25 here in one hit, maybe to print out and er, stick somewhere? 🙂

25 better writing tips from, you guessed it: How To Write Better

1.If you write regular blogs and plan them right, they can be turned into a great book.

2.Hate writing, but have to? Try dictating instead. Then transcribe, edit & hey presto!

3.Writing for marketing? Remember, it’s always about what’s in it for THEM, not you. [Read more…]

New words to be, er, adopted by the Oxford (& Webster) Dictionaries…

Here are some ideas for new words which I am hoping to submit for consideration to these august establishments. But first, please read them through and let me know what you think?

new words

Distemper, n. Personality disorder arising from losing your temper too often

A few of the new words we’re looking at here on HTWB…

AhI (Artificial hIntelligence), n. Human reality checks despised by AI developers

Amehzing, adj. Averagely amazing

Awescum, adj. Mediocre, dreary, flaky. Opposite of ‘awesome’ [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…]

A nasty little writing quiz about apostrophes

By popular demand, another sneaky, nasty grammar quiz. The last one got hundreds of comments and likes and I’m told customers and staff in a certain UK fashion house nearly came to blows arguing over it.apostrophe quizThis time we’re looking for apostrophes … nasty little b*ggers they are, too…

In which of following sentences is there one or more (or no) apostrophe used wrongly?

No cheating now! Answers are below… [Read more…]

Grammar: do you write ESTs when they should be ERs?

It’s not exactly the end of the world, but did you know if you only have two children you don’t have an ‘oldest’ or ‘eldest?’

writing tips
(Or a ‘youngest,’ for that matter.) Everyone today seems to forget that the suffix ‘est’ should only be used when writing/talking about more than two items, people, etc. If it’s just two, the suffix is ‘er.’ And by the way…

‘Elder-eldest’ or ‘older-oldest?’
According to Merriam Webster, ‘elder’ and ‘eldest’ are only
used to refer to persons, whereas ‘older’ and ‘oldest’ are
used to refer to both persons and things.
More on the
detail of that here if you’re interested! [Read more…]

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