May Or Might? Or What?

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.

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Ninja? Be Careful What You Advertise For

Ninja? Be careful what you advertise for

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….
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Misplaced Modifiers: Babies Who Smoke

misplaced modifiers

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).

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