Writing wrongs #8: to affect or effect? That is the question

It’s late. You’ve been at work for hours, and that M&S pizza and large glass of red are calling you home. But you have to send one last email to your boss/a client/the love interest you’re trying to impress with your grasp of grammar before you leg it out the door. You’re typing away like … Continue Reading

Writing wrongs #7: how’s your colon? Part 2

In part 1, I put semicolons in their place (and got a bit excited about cheese). In part 2, I’m taking a look at their closest relation: the colon.

It’s easy to confuse the two ­– they sure do look alike – but how they’re used is quite different. I think of a colon as an … Continue Reading

Writing wrongs #4: it’s not OK

While to many people the difference between its and it’s is as clear as the difference between smoked salmon and pickled onions, for others there’s a gut-churning jolt of uncertainty every time they come to write either.

You’d be wrong if you thought you were the only one who rewrote sentences, removing the need for ‘i-t-s’ … Continue Reading

Writing wrongs #3: time to pay attention

Expressing time is an essential part of communication – when is the event happening? When will the shop be open? What time does the free bar end?

There are a few ways to communicate time and which you choose is a matter of editorial style. Yes, you read that right: you have a choice. But just … Continue Reading

Writing wrongs #2: that’s how(ever) for now!

‘However’ is often used incorrectly by all kinds of smart folks. And it’s used a lot. Unlike many more complicated things in English, there are hard and fast (and easy) rules to follow when you’re using this word, however you’re using it. Nail it and you’ll be smart and awesome and your writing will sparkle … Continue Reading

Writing wrongs #1: to dash or not to dash?

In the first of this series, in which I’ll be doing my best to steer you towards writing awesomeness, I’ll be taking a look at that ol’ family favourite – the dash.

Let me be straight with you. I ain’t talking about hyphens.

Dashes look like this: – (en dash/rule) or — (em dash/rule).
A hyphen is the teeny line … Continue Reading