May I help? (Or is that: ‘Can I help’)

can and mayMy nearly-three-year-old grandson’s vocabulary is increasing in leaps and bounds, week by week, and it’s fascinating to hear him chatter away, incorporating his newly learnt words. Of course, being the good nonna that I am, he gets corrected, especially when he needs to learn to be polite with the pleases and thank yous. The current focus is when he says, ‘What?’

‘Not what, Olly—pardon’. He then yells ‘Pardon’…or rather, ‘Pardun’ at the top of his little voice—I got the message, Nonna!

Continue reading “May I help? (Or is that: ‘Can I help’)”

Introducing the Seasonal Apostrophe

I mentioned my mad summer wasping job last month. I have no particular excuse for doing bonkers things for a living except that sometimes they provide good fodder for books, but I wasn’t expecting this one to introduce me to a whole new concept in punctuation. Maybe being an apostrophile means that you find such joys everywhere but I have to share this one. Here is the story of the seasonal apostrophe.

This is the third summer I have spent killing wasps for a living. And it’s the third year The Boss and I have debated the seasonal apostrophe, proudly invented by The Boss himself. It amuses us but it also creates an annual row about my van’s livery. Continue reading “Introducing the Seasonal Apostrophe”

A Helping Hand…that, that, that and more thats…

It’s not always obvious to a writer when s/he has over-used a word or phrase.  S/he can read, reread, and read a manuscript over and over again, and still, it’s not coming up as a red flag.  This, of course, is where fresh eyes can help.  Try two things before passing over to your beta reader/editor/proofreader.  Firstly, do a search for the word/phrase you suspect might have overstayed its welcome.  Click on ‘Find’ on your toolbar (in Word) and a little list on the left-hand side will tell you how many times you’ve used it. You can then navigate to each instance.  Secondly, read the sentence in which it has been used…out loud. And that overused word will suddenly, loudly, clangingly, resonate in your head.  Continue reading “A Helping Hand…that, that, that and more thats…”