Category: Effective Writing

The Subjunctive Mood

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at 11:00 pm

An e-newsletter fan came across this sentence: If I were very lucky, I would get the chance to go. She asked, "Shouldn't I be followed by was, not were, since I is singular?" Let us answer that by asking you a question: Are you old enough to remember the ad jingle that began, "I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener …"? This …

Read More

Idiom: The DNA of Cliché

Posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, at 11:00 pm

We recently revisited the subject of the cliché, which dictionary.com defines as "a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse." All clichés begin as idioms, which are "expressions whose meanings are not predictable from the usual …

Read More

Clichés Are Too Easy

Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Clichés are to good writing as McDonald’s is to fine dining. You don’t need to shun them altogether; occasionally they have their place. But overall, like fast food, the job they do isn’t worth the toll they take. But what’s really so wrong with avoid like the plague? You know exactly what it means when …

Read More

Sweating the Small Stuff

Posted on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at 11:00 pm

At a football game a few years ago, the University of Notre Dame sold soda in cups that said, "Figthing Irish." Did no one at this distinguished school have the time or pride to proofread a two-word slogan? Here are a few other items we've seen and now wish we hadn't … Back to Basics  …

Read More

Similes and Metaphors

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Simile A form of expression using like or as, in which one thing is compared to another which it only resembles in one or a small number of ways. Examples: Her hair was like silk. She sings like an angel. He runs like a gazelle. This meat is as dry as a bone. Metaphor A …

Read More

1 2 3 42