To this day it never ceases to surprise me how some people will insist on editing their work, even when the work needs no editing at all. This happens an awful lot in PR – sometimes I think it’s a case of the client feeling the need to justify the time they’ve given to looking over a piece of writing you’ve produced for them. Often it will be the case that a client will send back their “urgent amends” only to find the amends amount to adding a space where no space is needed, or adjusting all contractions so every “can’t” becomes a “cannot” and every “it’s” becomes an “it is”. Continue reading
Colons and semi-colons are an important part of the writer’s toolbox, and can make a major impact on the way a text functions and flows. However while these two punctuation marks are clearly both very useful in the right hands, many writers fail to recognise the distinct difference between the two. Continue reading
Writing… Just about everyone can do it, but very few people can do it well. This is because the skills needed to be a good writer stretch far beyond just being able to “put words on a page”, and the hallmarks of quality are far more subtle than merely understanding the basics of grammar and punctuation.
For one thing, there is the matter of voice. I am writing this blog to you now as me, Mike, and I am writing with the confidence of someone who feels (rightly or wrongly) that he has a level of understanding of the subject being discussed. This voice is a male voice, and it’s a confident voice – and sometimes it may be tinged humour or irony. But importantly, it’s not the only voice that I possess. When I am ghost writing articles, or producing press releases for the healthcare sector for example, I adopt a completely different voice to that with which I am speaking to you now; I am no longer “Mike”, but I am someone else completely. Continue reading
Of all the grammatical errors that I encounter on a daily basis, the misuse of the humble apostrophe is certainly one of the most common. Whether it be simple mistakes such as confusing “its” with “it’s”, or the more fundamentally incorrect use of the apostrophe to reflect a plural, there seems to be a general misunderstanding of what an apostrophe actually means, and where it should be used. To address some of these issues, I’ve compiled this brief guide. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to post in the comments section below. Continue reading
Number disagreement is perhaps the most common mistake I encounter in my work as a writer. A part of the problem, I think, stems from the fact people don’t proof-read their own work properly. What’s perhaps more worrying still is that many writers don’t even realise they’re making a mistake in the first place!
I’ve outlined some common examples below… Continue reading