Writing Tip: Trim Your Language

TRIM LANGUAGEThis should be called “Mistakes I Made That You Shouldn’t” series. Once more, you lucky people are going to will get the benefit of my lengthy writing experience. As in, lengthy writing is the problem. In other words, I’m editing a novel I wrote several years ago and cutting out all the junk I have since learned not to put in. If some of you are now where I was then, these examples could be of use in tuning help tighten up your own language. Let’s see how many words we can save if we are firm with ourselves. Continue reading “Writing Tip: Trim Your Language”

Verbs, Beautiful Verbs: The Core of Any Sentence

verbs are the meat of a sentenceOk, I admit it; I’m a word geek. I love words. I love the way they come together and combine to create images, the pictures they paint. My father was an artist and I’m sad to say I did not inherit his gift for drawing and painting, but I did learn to paint with words.

My pallet is alive with colors. Nouns are my white, the basic foundations of all sentences whether subjects, objects, or extraneous things thrown in to widen the base. Adverbs are black, adding dark contrast, and must be used sparingly. Adjectives are purple where a little goes a long way, and too much simply obliterates the subtler shades. Conjunctions and prepositions are the primary colors, tossed in here and there to combine with the other words, to create the final hues and tones. Continue reading “Verbs, Beautiful Verbs: The Core of Any Sentence”

Your Knot Write

Your Knot WriteA long time ago (at least in internet time) I did a post on homonym or homophone errors titled Watt Due Ewe Mien. We all know the most common errors and hopefully look for them when we’re proofing our own work. Most of us have words and phrases in our vocabulary we use less often than the heavy hitters like their, there, and they’re that we know (or think we know) how to say, but have trouble getting them right in our writing. (Or should that be write in our righting?) My own personal bugaboo is sale and sell. You’ve probably identified some of your own. Or maybe you haven’t. What I’m going to cover here are semi-common words and phrases I see wrong more often than I’d expect and a bit of discussion about each. I’ve seen all of these make it past the author’s self-editing and whatever editors, proofreaders, and beta readers assisted them to land smack dab in the middle of a book. Multiple times. Hopefully this will help you avoid these same mistakes. In each I’ll list the wrong usage first, the correct one last. Continue reading “Your Knot Write”

Malapropisms, Spoonerisms and Oxymorons

Lovely words, aren’t they? They’re names for rather lively and entertaining word usages. Let’s just have a look at their origins and what they mean.


Malapropisms are named after Mrs Malaprop, a much-loved character in Richard Sheridan’s comedy play, The Rivals, written in 1775. She’s the play’s heroine’s aunt. She’s moralistic, pedantic and somewhat prejudiced, but she’s best known for her misuse of words: a trait of which she is completely unaware. Her quirk became known as Malapropisms. Here are some examples of her entertaining blunders:

Continue reading “Malapropisms, Spoonerisms and Oxymorons”