Category: Effective Writing

I Can’t Not Write This

Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at 11:00 pm

Did something like this happen to you back in grade school? Some little miscreant is reprimanded by the teacher, whereupon the kid protests: “I didn’t do nothin’!” And faster than you can say “teachable moment,” the teacher says, “Now, Billy, you mean you didn’t do anything. When you say you didn’t do nothing, that means …

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Figuring Out the Trick Behind [sic]

Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at 11:00 pm

We’ve all seen it at some point when reading: a three-letter package in brackets. It follows text to draw attention to or make a point about it. We’re talking about [sic]. What is it—and when do we accurately use it? Fowler’s Modern English Usage explains that sic is Latin for “so, thus.” It is a complete word and …

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The Word Nerd: Six Pitfalls Writers (and Others) Should Avoid

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 11:00 pm

That’s right, I admit it. I’m a word nerd. I pick, pick, pick at the way you express yourself. Despite protests of apathy, people of all ages care about how well they express themselves. Deep down, everyone likes to be right about language, and you can even hear little kids teasing each other about talking …

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& What About the Ampersand?

Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 11:00 pm

The ampersand (&): We see it often in our daily communication, which adheres to a modern ethos of speed and brevity as seen in letters, emails, texts, tweets, memos, and notes. The mark is appealing because it helps save character space, it fits right in with other letters’ heights, and many could argue it’s one …

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Shall I or Will I Use the Right Auxiliary Verb?

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 11:00 pm

Few will ever forget the words spoken by Winston Churchill in June 1940 under the thickening shadow of Nazi aggression: “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and strength in …

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