English: So many words to keep track of!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If ever a writing rule was overstated, it must be this one. Once it becomes evident that there are more exceptions than examples following a rule, the rule becomes seriously unhelpful; redundant at best.
We all know about receipt, receive, ceiling, etc. But there are actually more words used in English that have the ‘ei’ construction than those using ‘ie’.
Don’t believe me? I offer a mere handful:
Heir, weir, Eire, weird, being, d...
Núverandi 2007 Intel iMac. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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For years I’ve wanted to use a Mac instead of a PC for my writing. I decided I would treat myself on my retirement from employment and, last Monday, I made the purchase.
As is invariably...
Sorry folks. Today's my 65th birthday. In UK that makes me officially a pensioner, an old age pensioner (OAP), a label we use to identify the decrepit and discarded. I'll happily accept the concessions and small benefits that come with the label, but I'm not accepting the mindset that too often accompanies the coming of age.But, it's a special day and I intend to spend it in a special way. So, see you all next week.Cheers.
I come late to this classic, which I gather is intended as a children’s story. Mind you, I suspect a few of the modern generation might have difficulty with some of the language and sentence structure. Be that as it may, the story is rightly a classic: the language is beautiful, the ideas, which are wide-ranging, are wonderfully expressed with little sign of authorial intrusion.
The central theme, of the reversion of the civilised into the primitive, is cleverly illustrated as Buck slowly learns from ...
Typographic quotation marks (top) versus straight quotation marks, or "dumb quotes" (bottom). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They’re there, everywhere you look, on blogs, in books, on websites – those unbreakable rules for writers. Some are concerned with language itself; grammar, syntax, spelling. Others are to do with style; repetition, viewpoint, backstory, vocabulary. Then there are the rules surrounding presentation; font, paragraphs, spacing, quotations, dialogue. Of course, the gurus and mentors have ...
Iconic, much adapted for film and TV, these tales have been around a while and many people have taken pleasure from them in this form. But, until now, I’d not read a single one. This collection both introduces and develops the character (I met one of the original actors, Joan Hickson, whilst working on an article with her son, Nick, when she lived in Wivenhoe. Very private and reserved lady.)
Joan Hickson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What I hadn’t appreciated was that the written stories actually dist...
The Last Word, subtitled ‘Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue’, is a collection from the writings of Ben MacIntyre, a columnist writing about books for The Times.
If you’ve ever pondered the mysteries of military euphemisms, considered the last words of heroes, wondered at the geek-speak of the computer nerd, laughed at inadvertently skewed translations or been curious about almost anything else to do with words, there’s something here for you.
The author has collected, listened to, been sent by ...
Greengrocers' apostrophe 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Writing, in common with most occupations, has rules. Society has rules. Games have rules. Do we always obey them? And does it matter whether we do or not?
Clearly, societal rules, often elevated to laws, are supposedly there to prevent chaos and injustice. The law that prevents the taking of life under most circumstances seems sensible for all concerned. The law that allows a company to take advantage of unsuspecting customers might appear a little ...
Tonight is World Book Night in the UK and Ireland. Below is a short extract from the website set up specifically to promote this event. As a writer and a reader, I want to do what I can to spread the word and help to get people reading, so this is my contribution, small as it is. If you’re a lover of books, writing and reading, please spread the word in any way you feel able.
World Book Night has the full backing of the Publishers Association, the Independent Publisher...
Cover of Stephen Fry
The temptation, when writing about clichés, probably a cliché in itself, is to use clichés as an attempt at irony. I shall try to resist that temptation. But I’m not promising I’ll succeed.
First of all, what is a cliché? Well, the good old SOED, my particular favourite amongst dictionaries, gives the following definitions:
Cliché: 1. A metal stereotype or electrotype block.
2. A stereotyped expression, a hackneyed phrase or opinion; a stereotyped character, style, etc.