In an earlier posting, I discussed what elements need to be present for a sentence to be born in English. However, it’s a little misleading to say that a sentence is created whenever a subject, verb and completed thought come together. This may sound silly, but you still need a period to make a completed […]
When writing for the Web, you need to keep your audience in mind. People who read books will sit down and turn page after page to finish the task. Not so on the Web–visitors are impatient, and if they can’t quickly and easily find what they want on your site, they’ll hit the back button […]
Waiting at home for an electrician, I turned on [tag]Fox News[/tag] because Food Channel was featuring [tag]Paula Deen[/tag] (not one of my favorites). The news was good: Dow Jones Average up 283 points, but the accompanying commentary wasn’t nearly so good. The anchorman said, in effect, "So the economy isn’t so sucky after all." I don’t know […]
I’m a traditionalist or purist when it comes to this argument, but you’ll hear people argue both ways. I feel that when you use a relative pronoun with people, it should be who or whom. Others feel that the universal that is perfectly okay. In fact, most people use that when speaking and writing. I […]
I used to start grammar lessons by asking students, "What’s the basic building block of English?" After getting answers like "the alphabet" and "words," I quickly changed the question. I was looking for someone to say, "The sentence is the basic building block of English," but I never did. Anyway, whatever you consider the first […]
I came across this passage while reading the Los Angeles Times and became perplexed as to why the author (Ross Newhan) would use parentheses, to wit: The [Tom] Seaver vineyard is among the smallest. He is growing cabernet (sauvignon) grapes on 3-1/2 acres of his 115-acre maze of bush, trees and spectacular vistas. Okay, I used […]
Sometimes we sit down at the computer, or take pen and paper in hand, and we hit the proverbial block wall mentally. We just can’t write. In a previous post on five tips for “perfect” English, I mentioned that [tag]writer’s block[/tag] often originates in our minds as we seek perfection on the first go-round. Just […]
Can anyone read my title? I can, but I know what I wrote. There’s this Web fad going around called "Flip Text," which is what you see above. To create [tag]Flip Text[/tag], you just go to this site.
Now, here’s a term I never use and seldom hear: spot on. As for definition, it means "extremely accurate or descriptive." That much I can find in something called the Kernerman Multilingual English Dictionary, whatever that is. However, the dictionary gives no origin for the phrase. Sounds British to me. Can anyone clarify?
First of all, you can’t write [tag]perfect English[/tag], so my first tip is don’t try to write perfect English. Try to write perfectly clear English instead. So let’s look at my five tips, starting with the one I just mentioned: Don’t try to be perfect, cute, profound or anything else. Just try to be clear […]