With grammar, practice makes perfect

There’s a poster in my office that says, “Grammar is not a secret code.” It is a code, sort of, but it’s certainly not a secret. Grammar is for everyone, and everyone deserves to feel confident using it. Plenty of resources exist to help people improve their grammar and language skills if they are so…

5 things every writer should remember

On the heels of 5 things every editor should remember, here are a few things for writers to keep in mind. These tips are intended for writers of news and professional communication, so if you are writing creatively, feel free to ignore Nos. 2-5. 1. People will judge your content on the quality of your…

Happy National Punctuation Day!

Today, Sept. 24, is National Punctuation Day — admittedly, a created holiday, like National Donut Day, and, like National Donut Day, it’s a holiday that celebrates something worthy of celebration. (Yes, there are seven commas in that sentence. Plus a dash and an apostrophe, and the obligatory period.) Punctuation is like road signs for writing….

Lessons from the Associated Press

The Associated Press is “the best creative writing school in the world. They have branches in every major city on the globe. They will teach you something that no creative writing school at Stanford or Iowa or anyplace else will ever teach you: Write it down. Do it fast. Keep it simple. Keep it short.”…

Some questions, some answers

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on July 16, 2010. We get lots of questions on Twitter, mostly ones about grammar, spelling and usage (we do answer, and we’re happy to help), but there are some questions we’ve had a few times that we thought we’d answer here on the blog. 1. Do people really mess…

Home, home on the range

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on May 20, 2010. Often when writers are trying to illustrate the varied nature of a set of items, they use what’s called a “false range.” This is the construction “everything from … to” or “ranging from … to” that throws in a couple of items to show diversity. The…