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…]

Tricky, tricky spelling quiz: can you crack it?

I can’t afford to offer a trip for two to Las Vegas as a prize, but this quiz could keep you busy during quiet moments in the next few days. Answers at the bottom. (No cheating – look later!)

spelling mistakes

What do you feel are the most common wrongly spelled words in English?

And what really is infuriating is the way that simple spelling mistakes tend to creep in only because our own ‘word blindness’ – especially when we are writing extensively for business or other occupations – is largely to blame for our errors.

(That, and the fact that the English language has fewer rules to help us than a dog has when choosing which tree to pee on.)

Never mind: let’s have a laugh with the following:

Find the spelling mistake (or two, or none!) in the following:

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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…]

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