There was a suggestion in the Sydney Morning Herald the other week that English could happily be simplified – no more ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ confusion, no more malapropism involving their, there and they’re. The advent of self-pubbing, it seems, has brought with it a decline in the correct use of apostrophes – and, of course, … More Will simplifying English just annoy the grammar Nazis?
I’ve been posting for a few weeks now on the challenges facing authors. By far the biggest single challenge is the invisible one. The way we think. The problem is that we all think in simultaneous ideas – everything all at once, in effect. We think we’re being clear, as if material is written down … More Essential writing skills: the hidden key to writing
Welcome to the second post in a series exploring some of the mechanics of writing. Writing is one of those fields where everybody thinks they can do it –not because it’s easy, but because they don’t know enough about it to know how hard it actually is. The challenge is making the transition from those … More Essential writing skills: giving your sentences that rhythm and twist
I realised recently that my standard conversation in any take-away always goes something like this: “Hi, I’ll have a Super Glob Burger, hold the ketchup thanks.” “Wanchiwitha?” “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand the question.” “WANCHIWITHA?” “Could you repeat that please?” “WAN–CHI – WI – THA?” “You mean, do I want chips with that? Yes please.” What … More Essential writing skills: lessons in dialogue
I thought I’d share this dyspostrophic sign I found outside a shop in Marewa, the ‘art deco’ suburb of Napier, New Zealand. Of course it’s an excuse for me to write a headline with three recursions. Trees behind are Canary Island date palms. I took it on a mid-winter’s day, incidentally. Enjoy. The suburb itself is … More Revenge of the return of the son of Rogue Apostrophe
I spotted a sign down Wellington’s Lambton Quay last week that I just had to photograph and share. In four lines it had not one but three epic fail apostrophe errors. Three. The thing is, this wasn’t a cheap sign. Not by any stretch. And now, someone’s going to have to pay again, to get … More Son of return of the wandering apostrophe, part 486
Good writing pivots on good grammar. And, sometimes, creative use of grammatical rule-breaking. Like starting a sentence with a conjunction. The purpose of breaking grammar rules is to lend an edge to your personal style, to set your work apart from others. But not to lose the meaning. The trick is knowing which ones to break. … More Sixty second writing tips: rule-breaking gives your writing style – but avoid swill