Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Writing tips

Here's a helpful list of the ten most common grammatical mistakes to avoid if you want your writing to be taken seriously. (And can I add the unfortunately frequent use of "publically" for "publicly"?) [Hat tip Stephen Hicks]

And here's ten useful tips to help you get that writing project done. Tip #4:
Stop with the blog already. When I’m pressed for time, distractions like blogging and hoovering become very compelling. Knowing this makes it easier to resist...


  1. Eh, what's that first one? Loose seems correct to me. Please you real writers, tell me if I'm wrong here.

  2. Nope, "loose" is pronounced with a soft "s", and means "not tight" as an adjective or "set loose" as a verb.

    "Lose" is pronounced with a hard
    "s" and means "misplace".

    Therefore, "I always loose the product key" makes no sense, unless you keep your produut keys chained up and set them on unwanted visitors...

  3. I rely heavily on my Microsoft word to correct my spellings and also re-organise the words within sentences (natural language processing - NLP). As technology of NLP improved (which is already happening), human will rely less & less on their typing of mispelling words, grammatical errors, words natural flow, etc,.. because machine will do it on behalf of the user.

  4. thanks for these links, great stuff

  5. No. 11: Fewer versus less. Drives me nuts.

    And spotted in Kilmore Street, Chch:

    Sovereign Hotel.
    Superior Accomodation

    (Also on a sign on the western side of Ohakune. Ya.)

  6. Many of these seem to be purely American errors (e.g., "lie" vs "lay" is something most Americans do _all_ the time, in speech as well as writing, but I've _never_ seen/heard from anyone else)

    Sus's one is another: the "fewer" vs "less" distinction is a dialect thing that's really only wrong in American English. [I have noticed that modern editions (I think since the mid/late 1990's) of the OED have a note that "fewer" is preferred where applicable, but older editions have examples using "less" in ways that Americans would say is "wrong".

    I'm not sure what's supposed to be wrong with Sus's hotel sign.

    [FWIW, what drives me crazy in NZ is people (esp. TV newsreaders) saying "fairy" for "ferry", "pleece" for "police" (and, believe it or not, I've actually heard people who say that also say "fleece" with two syllables - "fuleece"!), "aneethetist" ("s" missing) for "anaesthetist", "athalete" for "athlete" (and "triathalon"), etc., etc.]


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