Grammar Guide

FWJ Grammar Guide for Professional Writers

Have Some Color-coded Fun With English Word Origins

English word origins visualized

Grammar can be a pain in the butt, but who says it can’t be fun? Etymology, today’s topic, technically doesn’t fall under grammar, but my discovery is too fun not to share with all of you. A guy who runs the blog Ideas Illustrated has taken it upon himself to apply some color-coding technology to English text to make the concept of English word origins more visual. If you are a visual person like me, then this endeavor is definitely a welcome one! What he did was to rely on Douglas Harper’s online dictionary of etymology to determine the language [Read more…]

Think Different

Apple

I won’t deny it. I come very close to being an Apple fangirl at times, but I do not think that I will ever be a hundred percent blinded to the flaws that beset the company (just like any other company). That being said, I cannot sit back and ignore two pieces that link Apple and grammar, which are two of my favorite topics. About two weeks ago, I found myself almost snorting with laughter because of an email exchange between a Macworld UK writer and a reader. The exchange was instigated by Pedantic Reader with the subject: “Illiteracy (yours).” [Read more…]

Just How Important Is Grammar?

Just How Important Is Grammar?

I honestly didn’t think that I would be asking this question today, but an article published by The Wall Street Journal caught me off guard. Titled “This Embarrasses You and I“, the article highlights the degradation of grammar in the workplace, leading to supposedly disastrous results. You all probably know by now that I am a stickler for grammar, but you also ought to know that I can be flexible. I have always been a strong believer in context and purpose. In some cases, I will not settle for less than prescriptive grammar. In others, I tolerate (even engage in) [Read more…]

What Do You Call Someone Who Protests?

Protestors

Last year could very well be called the year of protests. We’re only halfway through this year, but I guess we can say that protests are still the “in” thing. Now please remember that this is a grammar column and not a political one, so let’s forget about the latter aspect of the word. Instead, why don’t we take a look at a noun derived from the word “protest”? What do you call a person who protests? Is he a protester, or is he a protestor? A quick look at online dictionaries will not give you a single answer. It [Read more…]

It’s Not Wrong, Just Different

Grammar and style

I have not visited a different country this year (so far), and this has naturally led me to spend some time reminiscing about the my previous trips. One thing that struck me about visiting different Asian countries is a line I heard practically everywhere: “Same, same, but different.” The phrase was uttered in the context of people being the same (physical attributes for Asian tourists and the local shopkeepers) albeit with marked differences as well. That made me think about perspective, how things may seem so different that some people misconstrue them as “wrong” when in fact, they’re not. Where [Read more…]

So You Think You’re a Writer?

Writer

I have a confession. Sometimes, when I meet people for the first time, and I am asked what I do for a living, I hesitate. I know what I do, but there are moments when I don’t feel like using the word “write” and its derivatives. I still cannot pinpoint the reason, but the next time it happens, I shall certainly think about it again. Has that happened to any of you? Maybe you find it easy to put on the label “writer”, but whether or not you do, what I’d like to share in today’s Grammar Guide is something [Read more…]

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