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

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

Perhaps the pen is mightier than the voice

I was intrigued by some research I spotted recently which seems to prove that the pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword. Well, it’s mightier than the spoken word, anyway. The research suggested that there’s a specific reason why arguments on Facebook so often degenerate to slagging matches. It’s the same issue lawyers run into … More Perhaps the pen is mightier than the voice

Do adjectives and adverbs have a place in non-fiction writing?

Do adjectives and adverbs have a place in non-fiction writing? Maybe. Used properly, adjectives and their annoying relations, adverbs, render the mundane into something extraordinary – specifically because, if controlled, they evoke emotions in readers. Control is essential: use the wrong adjectives and you reduce the work to ‘telling’, whereas what you’re trying to do … More Do adjectives and adverbs have a place in non-fiction writing?