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Oh, no! Were we wrong about exclamation marks?

Psst! I know your little secret. Come closer. Ready? You use exclamation marks. There! I said it. And in case you’re feeling embarrassed, let me state for the record: I use them too. We all do. In our social me...

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Are You So Old-School You’re Cool?

Think you’re a copywriting cool cat? Take our lighthearted, but deadly-serious 10-question quiz to find out your Copywriter Cool-Rating 1 Which of the following do you own: a)    A fountain pen b)   A Fil...

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Why I hate grammar nazis

Here’s a little tip for getting traction in the Twittersphere. Tweet about grammar. I did it this morning, asking why copywriters feel that “good grammar” matters so much. Roughly eight milliseconds later my Tw...

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Ten copywriting ‘rules’ you should break before you die

Rules, eh? Doncha just hate ’em? Do this. Don’t do that. Show me a rule and I’ll show you a baseball bat. Copywriting is plagued with rules. You know, you buy a book by someone who says they’re going to teach y...

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The Copywriter’s Prayer

Oh Word, Let me compose sentences providing both meaning and pleasure. Guide me towards clarity, simplicity and truthfulness, And away from the seductive path of waffle, and the words whereof the weasel availet...

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Apostrophes left to rot in fields as punctuation values slide

Despite the best efforts of grocers to prop up falling values, it seems apostrophes are headed for a long period in the doldrums. In South Wiltshire, traditionally a strong punctuation-growing area, farmers are...

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What is the plural of greengrocer’s apostrophe?

We’re all familiar with the greengrocer’s apostrophe. The question is, what happens when you want to refer to more than one of the little bleeders? First of all, we have to do a little old-fashioned parsing. Is...

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Tense, nervous adjectives?

Copywriting ought to be a reasonably healthy job. No heavy machinery – unless you count lugging your old 486 down to the storeroom. No noxious chemicals – OK, so you sniff your old fountain pen now and again ju...

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Do you suffer from these three copywriting ailments?

Picture the scene. I am sitting at my desk in The Quill, trying to come up with a worthy article for you. As I wait for the muse to visit, the post arrives. Half-hidden among the direct mail, takeaway menus and...

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