All ___ are not ___: a common statement that’s nearly always wrong

Am I the only person annoyed with this linguistic atrocity? Do a Google search some time on “all ___ are not”, filling in the blank with any common plural noun, or a collective noun with “is” instead of “are.” You’ll find statements like All women are not a size 2. All teenagers are not brats. All paper is not 8 1/2 x 11. All coffee is not espresso. These sentences make a statement in the negative about all women, teenagers, paper, or coffee. And they are all false statements. Some women are a size 2. Some teenagers are brats. Lots … Continue reading

Online writing

Samuel Johnson wrote, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” Plenty of bloggers are quite happy being blockheads by that definition. For the rest of us, the keys to success include writing a lot and publishing it in multiple places. Since I started this blog in August 2009, I have written about 225 posts for three blogs and dozens of articles on other sites. Some content sites pay a flat fee in advance. No matter how successful an article is on those sites, the authors will receive no more money for their work. Others have some kind … Continue reading

On writing quickly and well

As an academic writer, I have the luxury of time to develop ideas, do research, draft an article or book chapter, and polish the prose before submitting my work to an editor. As a blogger and writer for online article sites, I must write and publish multiple articles every day. Part of the business of online writing includes reading and commenting on other people’s blogs and articles, and I have seen a lot of clumsy writing and poor spelling. It’s hard to understand the poor spelling, since now even the most rudimentary word processors have spelling checkers. I hope I … Continue reading