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…]

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

[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

[Read more…]

My grammar is cr*ppy. Should I correct it as I go along, or leave that to later?

When you’re writing, do you correct any goofs as you go along, or do you go for it “hell for leather” and worry about cleaning up goofs later?
This is something that we writers argue about until blue in the face, but shouldn’t. Why? Everyone is different. (Yeah, that one.)

crappy-grammar-when-to-correct
The purists amongst us usually insist that you should not obstruct your creative flow in its initial stages with such banal things like grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax and so-on.

No, no, say those purists. You should free-write to get your creative “juices” working (yikes, how I hate that word – makes me think of molten perspiration pumping out body odour). Yuk.

So let’s start at the beginning… [Read more…]

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