This tag is associated with 23 posts

Note 215 – A little bit of history about British and American English

The different dialects used in America and and United Kingdom are sometimes known American English and British English.  Peter Strevens, professor of phonetics since 1949 and author of British and American English, wrote: “British and American are seen as ‘families’ of varieties of common language, different, yet having equal merit”. A few examples of differences include: punctuation … Continue reading

Note 205 – Writing = Structure + Style + Readability + Grammar

On my way home from work I flicked through The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal in order to get some inspiration for today’s blog. In the introduction he explains that “writing had four pillars – structure, style, readability and grammar” and compares each pillar to a single chair leg. My interpretation of this is the … Continue reading

I’m half way through My Writing Challenge

Six months ago I set up my writing notebook blog and the challenge that began on 1st May 2011 was for me to learn a new writing tip every day for a year and blog about it to teach others.  I’m now half way there and determined to continue. What I have achieved in this time  I feel that I’ve … Continue reading

Note 181 – The French phrase ‘vis à vis’

Vis à vis is a preposition meaning ‘in relation to’ or ‘regarding’ according to the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus.  Here are a few facts noted from about the phrase vis à vis: The French spell it vis à vis. The English sometimes miss off the grave accent on the à and print it as ‘vis-a-vis’ or ‘viz-a-viz’. … Continue reading

Note 180 – The Latin word ‘viz’

Here are a few facts about the word viz (source: and It is an adverb and abbreviation meaning ‘namely’ It comes from the Latin word videlicet.  Wiktionary states that “the ‘z’ [in viz] was originally not a letter but a common Middle Latin scribal abbreviation that was used for -et“. When reading it in a … Continue reading

Note 173 – A few presentation and paragraph tips

A work colleague emailed me today with a potential blog idea which was: “When to start a new paragraph, especially when there is a lot to say on one subject, so that it’s not all hunched up but easier to read on the eye”.  I decided to use this topic for today’s post and made a … Continue reading

Note 172 – Is the spelling installment or instalment?

Whenever I type this word, I struggle to remember if it is spelt instalment or installment.  Today, I got caught out by someone reviewing one of my other blogs (which inspired me to write today’s blog), so as usual I went looking for explanations.  Wiki Answers explains that installment and instalment both mean the same, but installment (with a … Continue reading

Note 171 – Is the spelling focussed or focused?

Is it focussed or focused?  A work colleague asked me how to spell this word today and I had to look it up.  The Colllins English dictionary and Merriam Webster‘s website indicated that both spellings were correct.  I decided to Google it to find out which is preferred. says “This word [focussed or focused] can take either double or … Continue reading

Note 168 – Writing the old fashioned way – with pen and paper

I spend a lot of time on the computer both in my main job as a Project Manager and in my new freelance writing career.  This can cause all sorts of posture problems especially in the neck and back.  Today I decided to spend a bit of time writing the old fashioned way – using pen and paper – and … Continue reading

Note 166 – Trust your writing and don’t deprive the reader

Whilst listening to William Zinsser’s non-fiction audio book today called On Writing Well, I heard the following: “Trust the information that you’ve gathered to make its own point.  Don’t explain why it’s interesting or unusual or emotional”.  Make your writing exciting, but don’t say it’s exciting; let the reader work this out for themselves.  Zinsser … Continue reading

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