Blog Archives

It all depends on the prepositions

The other morning on my way in to work I passed the van of a pharmacy whose slogan is ‘Dispensing quality’, and some linguistically minded prankster had inserted ‘with’ between the two words, showing what a difference one small preposition

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Posted in Grammar, Proofreading/copy-editing, Vocabulary

Let’s not overexaggerate – avoiding tautology

Former US president George W Bush caused linguists much amusement/annoyance during his time in office for his skilful use of tautology. We have Dubya to thank for such unnecessary terms as ‘to misunderestimate’ and for incontestable pearls of wisdom such

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Posted in Proofreading/copy-editing

Confusing commas

Here’s a quick question to exercise your brain: is the following statement true or false? Politicians, such as Donald Trump, are keen to dispense with conventional politics. Congratulations to those of you who said it was false. The above sentence

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Posted in Grammar, Proofreading/copy-editing, Punctuation

Got to dash? Hyphens, en dashes and em dashes

These little lines cause more than a little confusion. Here’s a quick-fire introduction to how to use them. Hyphens Let’s start with hyphens, as they’re the easiest (at least in theory!). Hyphens are used exclusively to join parts of words,

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Posted in Proofreading/copy-editing, Punctuation

Defining things or adding information? – Correcting relative clauses

Everybody loves a quiz, don’t they? Well, if you do, read on. Relative clauses (sentence components starting with ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘that’, ‘whom’ or ‘whose’) are quite possibly one of the most confusing areas of English grammar. Just when you think

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Posted in Grammar, Proofreading/copy-editing