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…]

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…]

Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

When you’re writing, have you always thought that whether a word ends in “ance” or “ence” is pretty much a guessing game? I did, until I started researching for this series. And I’m delighted to tell you that there is a little bit of logic in there, somewhere, after all. For some “ances” and “ences,” anyway. But let’s get the illogical ones out of the way first…

Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

Whether we like it or not, correct spelling does matter. And not just in the supermarket…

Words that end in either Ance or Ence, for no obvious reason

Of course with English being English, there are some exceptions. Most of the grammar resources I checked out basically throw their hands up in the air and say “exceptions? Just memorise them.” So let’s start with those: there is no reason why they end as they do, other than the peculiarities of this crazy language. [Read more…]

Grammar banana skins: when your est should be your etter, etcetera…

Being a boring Grammar Fascist, whenever I hear or read something like ” I have two kids and the oldest is 7,” I start to grind my teeth.

Grammar: when your est should be your etter, etcetera...

Do you slip on comparative adjective banana skins? Or on “between/among?”

Why? Because if you only have two kids** one is “the older” and the other is “the younger.” (Unless they’re twins, although one twin is likely to be at least a couple of minutes older than the other. However let’s leave the topic of obstetrics for another day.)

It’s all about those pesky comparative adjectives

[Read more…]

Writing: the emotional flashpoint of dyslexia

It was as if I had slapped her across the face in front of this room full of people.

Writing: the emotional flashpoint of dyslexia

Why is there still so much ignorance, and pain, attached to dyslexia?

Being a Grammar Fascist and a pain in the *ss about spelling, I had taken a copy of the handout sheet she prepared to go with her talk and quietly marked corrections to three spelling mistakes in the content. I wrote “#justsayin'” on the bottom, waited until no-one was looking and she had finished her talk, and slid the sheet over to her.

“I couldn’t care less about people who might object to some silly little typo,” she snarled, and sat down, deliberately turning as much of her back towards me as possible given that she was sitting next to me.

[Read more…]

Grammar is groovy. Haven’t you heard?

Want to improve your grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax while groovin’ around your office or living room? Here’s how – and I dare you not to start bopping in your seat while you learn these basic writing rules…

improve your grammar on How To Write Better

Get those feet tappin’ while you learn some great grammar and more

Many thanks to my good friend Trudy van Buskirk in Toronto, who alerted me to this amazing video which I found in an article by Jason Fell on Entrepreneur.com. [Read more…]

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