Posts filed under: Grammar and punctuation

Exclamation marks are a form of shouting – journalists call them screamers for a good reason.  And if you’re writing for professional purposes, you don’t want to shout. After all, you wouldn’t shout at the person if you were phoning...
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I’ve been asked so many questions about commas that I have a little section about the curly little blighters at each workshop. One thing we look at is the comma splice. Now I didn’t know that this grammatical faux pas...
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It’s my wedding anniversary today and, feeling nostalgic, I decided to look at the website of the hotel where we got married all those years ago. Did my eyes light on the photos of the glorious gardens, the beautifully decorated...
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Many people were taught at school that you shouldn’t begin a sentence with either of these two words. It’s something that still causes heated debate. The thinking behind this was, I believe, that and and but are co-ordinating conjunctions –...
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Get this one wrong and the Grammar Police will be after you. The people who know the rule get really frustrated with those who don’t! Here I am explaining when to use less and when to use fewer so you’ll...
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In English, there are many pairs of words that sound similar, leaving people confused about which one to use. But they can mean very different things. There’s a quiz on our Facebook Page with examples of six of these. How...
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I enjoyed a newspaper article recently looking at the quirks of the language, with popular misconceptions,  malapropisms and genuine shops names. (My favourites were Sellfridges fridge shop in Stoke Newington and Napoleon Boiler Parts in Hampshire). Best of all was...
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This is a question I have been asked several times. It crops up so much I now include an explanation of the difference between the two words in our Sentence Works courses. I think the confusion arises because the prefixes...
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It’s just over a week until the kids put on their skeleton costumes, grab their swagbags and frighten the life out the locals at Halloween. Or is it Hallowe’en? The event was originally known as All Hallows Even, later simply...
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There was a great story in my local paper last week about a former sub-editor who is appearing in the 2015 Dull Men’s Club calendar. Former Argus man John Richards, 91, founded the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001. His aim...
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