Blog Archives

Making words mean what you want: 2

‘Sure, if I reprehend any thing in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!’ Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan’s The Rivals Fortunately, few speakers or writers, real or fictional, misuse words to

Tagged with:
Posted in Proofreading/copy-editing, Vocabulary

The whys, wherefores, therefores and therebys

  ‘O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?’ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene ii This famous question must be the most misinterpreted line in all of the Bard’s many works. Students across the generations have taken it

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Proofreading/copy-editing, Vocabulary

A particular fondness for particles – ‘enter into’, ‘meet with’ and ‘mitigate against’

As anyone learning the language will tell you (usually through gritted teeth), English is inordinately fond of peppering its vocabulary with particles – those irritating little words that get added to verbs (mostly), altering the meaning in subtle, and often

Posted in Proofreading/copy-editing, Vocabulary

Practice makes perfect

Proofreaders find many different errors in documents (thankfully, or we’d be out of a job!). However, some are much more common than others, and one that we seem to see time and time again is the word ‘practice’ – or

Posted in Proofreading/copy-editing, Spelling, Vocabulary

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

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Grammar, Proofreading/copy-editing, Vocabulary