Explaining the pitfalls of sentence fragments

One of the most ubiquitous grammar traps in English is the sentence fragment. A sentence fragment is a phrase or set of phrases that look like they should be a sentence, but actually aren’t. Usually that’s because they lack either a verb or a subject, making them a ‘dependent clause’, because they depend on another … More Explaining the pitfalls of sentence fragments

Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

1. Ernest Eldridge’s monster Fiat, Mephistopheles Back in 1923, British racing legend Ernest Eldridge bought an old Fiat racing car cheap after it had ‘blown’ a couple of cylinders at Brooklands. He lengthened the chassis and installed a 21.5 litre aero-engine developing 350 hp, driving the rear wheels by chain. He promptly broke the standing-start … More Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

The obscure word of the week is frumenty

This week’s obscure English word is frumenty. It’s the name of an eighteenth century pudding made mostly of wheat boiled in milk, sweetened with sugar, often with raisins, thickened with egg yolk and topped with a spice such as nutmeg or cinnamon. The word is derived from Middle English, French and then Latin, meaning ‘corn’.  … More The obscure word of the week is frumenty

How to get a very strong visual brand for your books

Branding has always meant the experience people get when they engage with ‘the brand’. You know – if you buy this product, you’ll have a wonderful barbecue experience on the beach with great friends, even though (to me, anyway) this has nothing obvious to do with products such as carbonated cola drinks containing sugar and … More How to get a very strong visual brand for your books

Why writing is a learned skill – and a hard one

Back in the 1960s, researchers looking into how people viewed their own ability to drive made a remarkable discovery: everybody over-rated their abilities. Apparently it’s a human thing. We do it a lot, particularly when it comes to ubiquitous actions such as driving, where there’s a consistent implication that we should be ‘good’ at it. … More Why writing is a learned skill – and a hard one