Write Good Online Content and Reuse It (Without Making It Dizzy)

You can get my latest ebook, Write Good Online Content and Reuse It (Without Making It Dizzy), free for the next five days (May 29 through June 2, 2013). If you’re reading this post after that time is over, it costs only $2.99. My regular readers know that I am a stickler for proper word usage, good grammar and correct spelling. While all good writing requires clarity, reading online is enough different from print that writers must achieve clarity a little differently. Writers of print content seek a publisher, who handles all of the marketing and distribution of its books, … Continue reading

Notice to online writers: proofread!

When I was first starting out in this writing business, I read a lot about how to make money from writing. One person in particular kept stressing over and over that writing online is a business, and must be taken seriously as a business. Great advice, but all of her articles were riddled with typos and simple grammatical errors. I tried to make allowances; English is not her first language. But then it wasn’t Vladimir Nabokov’s first language, either. Lolita may be a disgusting story, but he tells it with gorgeous prose. Perhaps you’re saying that his publisher provided a … Continue reading

Spelling, punctuation, and other fun topics

People who like to read and write like words and like playing with words, sentences, punctuation, and anything else that comes along with reading and writing. Now that so many of us are BFF forever with our electronic gadgets, we have new tools for communicating—or failing to communicate, as the case may be. Word processing software now comes with spelling and grammar checkers. I expect most writers find them helpful, but they don’t make a very good crutch. For one thing, some of the grammar checkers contain hard-coded grammatical errors. And even if the suggested correction isn’t simply wrong, it … Continue reading

Semicolons: the most obscure punctuation mark

I remember a radio commercial that featured an asterisk salesman. I don’t remember the company that was advertising, but this salesman was trying to sell asterisks to use in its warranty to bury lots of exceptions where no one would look. The advertiser refused, of course, and the salesman complained, “If I don’t make this sale, I’ll get demoted to semicolons.” When I was learning to type, I wondered why I had to shift to get colons, which I use a lot more than semicolons. Maybe back in the dark ages, when our beloved QWERTY keyboard was laid out, people … Continue reading

The comma: punctuating or puncturing?

We use fewer commas now than in centuries past. Some eighteenth century writers, annoy me by putting commas between the subject and verb of a sentence, as I did here. Yuck. Here’s a sentence I found in a concert review from an 1833 newspaper. Apparently the trombonist was the best musician in a bad orchestra. Aren’t you glad no one writes like this any more? We can ourselves vouch, that when the Instrumentalists, on Thursday evening, were, in the Sinfonia, which commenced the second part, all awry, he pulled them together in the most admirable style, and ceased not until … Continue reading