Photo credit: Diana Polekhina
Just one of the brilliant things about a shared language is that it brings clarity of meaning. Whenever we communicate, we should at least try to avoid ambiguity and confusion. A discussion about whether to use ‘may’ or ‘might’ illustrates this point really well.
I’ll start with a couple of statements. They are not hard and fast rules but, if you follow them most of the time, you won’t go far wrong.
Continue reading “May Or Might? Or What?”
Most of us know there are two major approaches we can take to descriptive writing: writing literally and writing figuratively.
When using expressions, especially in spoken language, we use a mixture of literal and figurative language all the time – usually without even thinking about it.
Continue reading “Take It Literally, Literally”
There’s a definite art to creating a dot point list and some of the skill involved is about the visual choices you make. But there are some other things to consider, too.
Continue reading “The Art Of The Dot Point List”
Have you had ever had trouble deciding whether to use ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘myself’ in a sentence?
It’s pretty easy to make a mistake, especially when speaking. It’s also easy to avoid making an error when you know a couple of easy tricks.
Continue reading “I, Me Or Myself?”
The plural solution is often an easy way to turn a faulty sentence into a better one.
In this example (from a novel) the fault is in the non-agreement of the noun and the possessive adjective that refers to it:
‘In a lot of murder cases, it transpired that the victim knew their attacker’.
How would you fix it?
Continue reading “The Plural Solution”
Photo Credit: Pat Whelan
Is it peek, pique or peak? Some writers genuinely confuse these words. Don’t worry. You can move towards
Better Writing — one word at a time.
In my work as an editor, or just in general reading, I see words and phrases used wrongly all the time. When the same mistake crops up several times in one week, that’s when I pounce.
Continue reading “Take A Peek At Pique, Or Peak”
Pivot! As a noun or a verb, it’s been around in business articles and blogs for a while, but the contagion is spreading. It’s an overused ‘go-to’ buzzword among fans of ‘corporate-speak’. Apart from its boring predictability, there’s the problem of its meaning.
Continue reading “Pivot? Say What You Really Mean”
There should be penalties for women having babies who smoke.
I agree. Babies smoking! Whatever next?
Seriously, though, the big problem with the opening sentence is a common one: the problem of misplaced modifiers.
Continue reading “Misplaced Modifiers: Babies Who Smoke”
Guess what? You might be in the minority. By that, I mean those who understand the real meaning of ‘decimated’. Most don’t.
If you want an example, here’s a beauty! This is a snippet from an account of a road accident: ‘…
the impact fully decimated half the car’.
Your challenge is this: ‘How much damage was done to the car?’ Hint: you might need maths.
Continue reading “Decimated? Or Just Damaged?”
All right or alright?
Lots of people are confused about which to use.
Here are a few tips that might clear things up, without getting too technical.
Continue reading “All Right or Alright?”