Wordwatch blog

Writing Inc. blogs at Wordwatch where you can find out more about how to write well, including easy-to-understand explanations of grammar and punctuation as well as short posts on a wide range of English language-related topics.

For example:

When repetition is a good thing

"Some writers think that repeating the same word is to be avoided at all costs, but this simply isn’t the case. Very often, the linguistic gymnastics involved render a piece of writing inelegant and amateurish..."

The secrets of the semicolon

"This post is about using the semicolon to join two sentences together to make a far superior one. And just to entice you in, I want you to read this perfect sentence from George Orwell’s essay, Shooting an Elephant..."

The power of three in speechmaking

"Some years ago, Dr Max Atkinson conducted an experiment. He wanted to find out if a novice public speaker could achieve a standing ovation for her maiden speech at a political party conference..."

Spelling tips, including: can you spot miniscule mistakes?

"It’s an easy mistake to make because of the obvious analogy with the word ‘mini’. But ‘minuscule’ is not etymologically related to the word ‘mini’..."

The use of metaphors: good and bad

"Brevity, says the tediously garrulous Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is the soul of wit. Polonius is an exponent of neither brevity nor wit, but his assertion is correct. The flexibility of language means we can use just a few words to express a complex emotion, idea or thought that might otherwise take several paragraphs to convey. Similes and metaphors can be used in this way, but what is the difference between them?"

The derivation of the phrases ‘eyes like a hawk’ and ‘lick into shape’

"But what about the slightly different expression ‘to watch someone like a hawk’? This means ‘to watch vigilantly, especially to prevent wrongdoing’. But who is doing the watching?"

And you can also ask a question on the blog about any aspect of the English language.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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