In medieval Germany, the gates to cities were closed and locked at nightfall. Those that had not yet returned were forced to spend the night outside the safety of the city walls, exposed to predators, thieves, and potential death. The fear of this was known as torschlusspanik; literally, “gate-shut-panic”. In modern English, the word has … Continue reading Torschlusspanik
For over two hundred years there has been controversy surrounding split infinitives and their usage in writing. To clarify, a split infinitive occurs when a word (almost always an adverb) is inserted between the ‘to’ and the verb in a sentence. Perhaps the most famous example of a split infinitive: “To boldly go (where no … Continue reading Split Infinitives: Should You Split Hairs Over Them?
There's nothing wrong with it - it's grammatically correct - but every time I write or read it, it feels wrong. I am talking about the phrase “and am”. For example: I am looking for some peace and quiet and am at the end of my rope. The aforementioned sentence is correct, but the juxtaposition of … Continue reading The Problem with “and am” in Writing
The serial comma, most commonly known as the Oxford comma or the Harvard comma, is used before a coordinating conjunction ('and' or 'or') in a list of three or more items in a list. For example: Cheddar, brie, and gorgonzola. The serial comma remains a controversial topic among grammar enthusiasts, some arguing that it is unnecessary … Continue reading Why You Should be Using the Serial Comma
It is time I made an embarrassing confession: I have dyslexia. I was recently looking through some old reports taken as a child, and my learning difficulty was quite damning. When I was twelve years old, I had the spelling capability of a six-year-old. My vocabulary was in the 3rd percentile. In other words, 97% … Continue reading Overcoming Dyslexia
In short, a conjunction is a word that connects two parts of a sentence (clauses) together. This is elementary knowledge that most of us know. However, at school, you may have been taught that a sentence cannot begin or end with a conjunction. The most common example called out is ‘and’: “And that’s where it … Continue reading Ending and Starting Sentences with Conjunctions
It might sound derivative, but it’s true nonetheless: writing is like a muscle; the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. If you don't write on a regular basis, you'll suffer atrophy - a degeneration of strength and ability. As such, it's best to try and write every single day. "I don't always have … Continue reading Writing is a Muscle