Using two words instead of one

Benjamin Dreyer has compiled a list of redundancies, surplus words to delete from your writing where you’ve used two words when one would do. Some are rather arcane (the word…

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12 Odd Idioms

Some years ago, a German friend – who speaks very good English – was visiting New Zealand and boarded a tour bus. The driver called, “How ya going?” to which…

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Remember the rules!

I before E except after C … … or when your foreign neighbour Keith receives eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty caffeinated weightlifters. WEIRD!

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Classic Literature as Fortune Cookie Fortunes

A Christmas Carol: You will become better acquainted with a coworker. Frankenstein: A friend is a present you give yourself. Metamorphosis: A dream you have will finally come true. More…

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Kicking whales and waving dead chickens

The Jargon File, also known as The New Hacker’s Dictionary, is a window into a golden age of computing. I still have a copy the latter (a third edition), and…

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Submission Guidelines

A friend is currently going through this miserable process, so I thought I’d help out … 😉

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William Safire

William Safire’s Rules for Writers

Remember to never split an infinitive. The passive voice should never be used. Do not put statements in the negative form. Verbs have to agree with their subjects. Proofread carefully…

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Famous Razors

Razors aren’t just for shaving. In philosophy, a razor is a rule of thumb that allows for the elimination (the “shaving off”) of unlikely explanations. The most famous is Occam’s…

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The stages of a reader

Another delightful cartoon from Grant Snider:

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Context is everything! Cats and dogs in the Bible

I spotted this quote in a magazine this week … “The dog is mentioned in the Bible 18 times — the cat not even once.” –W E Farbstein, on the…

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