Have you ever fallen into the pit of poor pronunciation?
We’ll start with what is possibly the worst word to mispronounce; it’s a horrible irony.
(True story) I once overheard a language teacher say to her students:
It’s absolutely essential you get your pron’. ounciation right
The intended advice was excellent but… ‘pron
ounciation’? No. No. Continue reading “Pronunciation Pitfalls”
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?”
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”
Really? Ninja? Be careful what you advertise for. If you ask for a ‘ninja’ marketer, PR assistant (or, heaven help us, a ‘ninja’ editor), then beware.
This rather bizarre descriptor has become quite common in job ads. And then there are the other favourites: ‘superhero’, ‘rockstar’ and a few others. Leave them in if you must but be warned. Here’s what you can expect…. Continue reading “Ninja? Be Careful What You Advertise For”
Lazy language is everywhere.
It’s difficult to get through even one day’s reading without struggling to make sense of a tangled mess of woolly words – a real dog’s blanket of poor grammar and incorrect language use.
Continue reading “Lazy Language”
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. What? Babies smoking? Has to be something wrong there. I opened the door to the delivery man wearing my best party dress. But why on earth was he wearing it? Seriously, though, the big problem with these sentences is a common one: it’s the problem of misplaced modifiers.
They are everywhere. They can totally mangle the meaning of a sentence. And, in some cases, they are just downright comical.
Find out how to spot them (and fix them).
Continue reading “Misplaced Modifiers: Babies Who Smoke”
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?”
Photo credit: Jens Aber
My ‘lazy language’ file gets fatter every day. It’s absolutely bulging with examples of errors in written texts, made by those who should know better. And many of them are cases of misplaced adverbs.
They can mangle meaning, and turn a sentence into a piece of nonsense.
Continue reading “Misplaced Adverbs: Sadly Abused?”
In a conversation, the best way of missing the point is to go around and around in circles and leave the main topic untouched.
This happens a lot in sentence construction, too. You can Lift Your Language by avoiding three common mistakes….
Continue reading “Totally Missing The Point?”