The Editwrite blog: free resources for everyday writers, bookworms and word nerds
If you have a particular spelling, grammar or punctuation question you’d like to know the answer to, just let me know and I’ll answer it here. Chances are that you’re not the only one wondering about it!
When I tell people I’m a proofreader, I worry that they’ll immediately have me down as a picky, smug pedant. I often see social media posts ridiculing someone else’s mistakes, and it bothers me that some people think this is OK. Along with thousands of other editorial professionals, I am a polite proofreader. I am committed to sharing this tiny aspect of kindness in the hope that it will spread, so here are my five golden rules for polite proofreading in everyday life. Please join me on this crusade.
I’ve been thinking a lot about lockdown language since the coronavirus outbreak began to really take hold in the UK. We have heard so many new words and phrases in such a short space of time. We all use terms like ‘social distancing’, ‘the new normal’ and ‘unprecedented times’ like they are … well … the new normal. Somehow these thoughts and phrases have morphed themselves into a poem. I’ve never shared a poem before, so be gentle with me. I hope you like it.
Today, I felt compelled to write a piece about plain English. I go on about plain English quite a lot, but some of the reactions to the prime minister’s speech go to show just how important it can be in the case of public information. This isn’t a political piece or a rant to add to all the speculation going on. It’s about the importance of clarity, and the lessons we can all learn for our work and everyday communications.
Welcome to my first roundup of #EditwriteWords. I couldn’t work out what I wanted to post on my social media pages during these strange and scary times. Spelling tips just didn’t seem to fit the bill anymore. My #EditwriteWords posts give readers just a single word to focus on. Sometimes they are positive and optimistic; sometimes less so. But they are all words that we can share and think about while we get to grips with this temporary version of the world we’re living in. Here’s a roundup of the words we’ve focused on so far.
Happy World Book Day! If you’re a parent of primary school children then you’ll look forward to World Book Day every year with either excitement or trepidation. Well, the day has finally arrived, and you’ve stepped onto the playground with your little ones. You stop. You look around. Here’s my little tongue-in-cheek commentary on who you’ll see.
A new year is always a good time for a new challenge. Dry January? Veganuary? I don’t drink a huge amount or eat a lot of meat anyway, but those options didn’t really appeal to me. Then I came across RED January – an initiative run in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity. RED stands for Run Every Day, but it’s also used in the colour sense to symbolise beating the January blues. By the end of January, I’d run for 31 consecutive days, and had covered 227 kilometres (141 miles). Here’s how I got there and why.
Happy New Year! Or is it happy new year? Deciding when to use capital letters in business writing is not as clear cut as you might think. Here’s my handy guide on when to use capital letters, when to avoid them, and what to do when you’re not sure.