The Grammar Factor: website relaunch offer, quotes within quotes

Online Writing Training relaunch offer To celebrate the relaunch of my online writing training website, I’m offering you 25% off all my online courses from today until the end of April with the promo code 25offapril. (This offer does not include the Business Grammar class, which is booked out.) ONLINE STYLE GUIDES Richard Nordquist recentlyContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: Write to Govern, dependent/dependant, spelling

Write to Govern The second edition of my book Write to Govern: How to write effective board papers is now available on my website, Amazon and Kindle. Governance consultant and non-executive director Julie Garland-McLellan says: ‘I reviewed the first edition of this book and loved it. Now it is back in a much improved newContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: simply, mondegreens, question marks and quotes

Simply I was reminded last week of one of my pet peeves – the use of the word ‘simply’. This word is often best deleted for two reasons:  When used in instructions, ‘simply’ is often not true! When I read ‘simply’ in instructions, my immediate reaction is that the instructions will be difficult. My preconceptionsContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: e-newsletters on writing, under the pump

e-newsletters about writing  I read recently that e-newsletters are passé and that blogs are much more ‘in’. I enjoy reading blogs too, but what I like about e-newsletters is their chatty format covering a range of topics. The e-newsletters I enjoy are: ‘The Better Writing Skills’ by Tim North ‘Better Writing at Work’ by LynnContinue reading

The Grammar Factor – what grammar rules do you break?

What grammar rules do you think it is OK to break? In an article in The Guardian, linguist Steven Pinker looks at 10 ‘grammar rules’ it’s OK to break (sometimes). Before I read the article, I thought about what rules I see ignored these days. Three that came to mind are: Fewer and less –Continue reading

The Grammar Factor – words we dislike, hyphens in titles, numbers

Words we dislike   A reader’s pet peeve this month about ‘got’ made me think about this little word. Whenever I write ‘got’, I stop and wonder if I should choose another word because I know a lot of people dislike it. The only reason I can think of is that in formal writing thereContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: words, words, words, farthest/furthest

Words, words, words As new words creep into the language or old words are used differently, we react to them in different ways. Many new usages just make good sense and we use them without a second thought – ‘google’ as a verb and ‘invite’ as a noun. Some pass us by completely – IContinue reading

The Grammar Factor – initial capitals, apostrophes, quotation marks

Initial capital letters   Initial capital letters are used more sparingly today than in the past, in keeping with the modern trend towards using less punctuation. the Bank, the Company, the Board. Although some capitals are still used for respect (e.g. Indigenous), their use has declined. The other use of initial capitals that is declining isContinue reading

The Grammar Factor – overloaded sentences, loose and lose

What happens when we overload sentences? I recently read the fine print of the Westpac brochure that came with my new credit card. (I received a new card because I was the victim of credit card fraud!) I found this sentence: ‘A cardholder becomes eligible for this Overseas travel insurance when, before leaving Australia onContinue reading

The Grammar Factor – irregular verbs, dive/dove, practice/practise

Irregular verbs A reader’s question below about ‘dived’ and ‘dove’ got me thinking about irregular verbs and why they still exist. Why don’t we all use the regular ‘-ed’ ending for past tense verbs? For example, ‘dived’ instead of ‘dove’ and ‘bringed’ instead of ‘brought’. But ‘dived’ looks fine because I am used to it,Continue reading


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