Tag Archives: writers

Impact

Like my Twitter colleague André Racicot, I thought it would be a great idea to comment on French words often used incorrectly or Gallicisms that constantly ooze into English texts. Today, I’d like to talk to you about a word that rubs my French-speaking colleagues the wrong way: impact. Below is a text excerpt written by […]

Noun Strings, I Think I Love You. Not.

For some reason, some English writers love wordiness. Surprisingly, several newspaper journalists are notorious for this pesky practice. I have been a Globe and Mail subscriber for the past two years. Generally speaking, journalists write well. Lately, however, I’ve noticed that writing has become somewhat stiff, somewhat wordy. It seems that in-house or freelance editors no longer […]

Media: Singular or Plural?

Within the space of a week, Peter Mansbridge, anchor of CBC’s The National, and co-anchor Wendy Mesley have accompanied media with singular verbs when presenting a panel or an upcoming story in future broadcasts. Last night was no exception. In preparation for a discussion about the way in which the media are covering the ongoing […]

“Do not put statements in the negative form.”

This was one of many writing techniques rules I learned a few years ago. Why should writers avoid putting statements in the negative form? According to KwizNet’s website,[1] putting statements in the affirmative form “tells or asks about what is.”[2] It is important to tell readers what they want or need to know, not what […]

Non-Restrictive and Restrictive Sentences

Of all punctuation marks in the English language (and all languages, for that matter), the comma is by far the most difficult to master—it’s also at the core of much debate. For instance, must we place a comma before the final and or or in a series of three items or more? Debates surrounding the serial or Oxford […]

Overused Words & Conciseness

During the summer, I have had several opportunities to read publications on a variety of topics: film archives, shyness, music—the list goes on. I also listened to several breaking news headlines on television. As I was reading and listening, I couldn’t help but ask myself why authors and spokespeople loved long-winded, overused words and structures […]

Mind Your “It’ses” and “Itses,” Please!

In fall 2011, I took a writing techniques class at Montreal’s McGill University. I remember receiving and reading a list of rules for writers and writing techniques. One of the rules read as follows: “Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.” The rules were meant to be humorous […]