Category «Words»

Reverse dictionary

I don’t know why I’ve not written about reverse dictionaries before. The subject sprung to mind recently during the weekly Twitter #writingchat — which turned out to be about gifts for writers. Trust me, a reverse dictionary would make a great gift for any writer — but one should be on your own bookshelf too. …

Random abuse (Mistake #89)

I’ll admit from the off that this is partly fuelled by an irrational pet hate that has been simmering for years – probably due to having a background in mathematics – but I can no longer keep a lid on my feelings for the abuse of the word ‘random’. Random is a terrific word, with …

Anniversary! (Mistake #42)

It is the anniversary of this blog. On 28th February 2010 I made this deposit on the blogosphere – and I refused to clean it up. Gratitude eternal to first-writer-to-comment Lorraine Mace for posting what she posted and not, say, ‘Sigh. Not another writing blog.’ So, ‘anniversary’. ‘The date on which something occurred in a …

Do I like it? Not alot (Mistake #41)

I’m a reasonable man. Pay taxes. Smile at checkout lady. Drop coins in charity boxes. Hold door open for elderlies. Buy my rounds. Check, check, check, check, and check. So why, when I’m presented with the following, do I get the fleeting urge to thumb out my eyeballs and stir fry them over a fierce …

Saying it twice (Mistake #33)

Repetition, tautology, pleonasm… whatever you want to call it, it’s basically saying something twice. Easily done. Very common. I do it. While scouting for examples I came across one which I use all the time, and which I’ll include in this post. See whether you can spot it. But first, some examples. And to demonstrate …

One word or two? (Mistake #23)

I doubt there are many editors who would reject work featuring one or more of the following minor bloopers. But I see them a lot. Curiously, I also see inconsistency in close proximity – “every day I get up and everyday I have breakfast” – which always makes me wonder whether the writers must have …

Numbers with character (Mistake #20)

It’s summer. Everybody’s been talking about hot temperatures. Here’s the Press Association, here’s Sky, here’s the Daily Record, and here’s the Daily Express, all insisting that a temperature can be hot. But it can’t. Temperature is a number. A number can be high. A number can be low. A number can be average. What a …

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