Are You Writing for the Wrong Reasons?


I have been thinking about why I write for the past several weeks, and it has not been an easy ride. For one, there are different kinds of writing, and reasons for writing do not fall into the one-size-fits-all bucket. Still, I think that, for people who mainly make a living out of writing, the question is a good one to think about – when you do not have urgent deadlines looming, perhaps. Image source Let’s get the “I need to bring home the bacon” reason out of the way, because, let’s face it – we need to provide for [Read more…]

What Goes With Compare – With or To?

I love our Facebook community! Not only do I read interesting – and often hilarious – comments on our posts, but I also get ideas to write about. Sometime last week, I found the image below and shared it on Facebook. Not surprisingly, that generated some discussion. Your responses were varied: I would say ‘to’ compares differences, while ‘with’ compares similarities. (Andrya Silberman) The house style at my work is to use compared with when there is a single point of comparison and compared to when you are comparing something to multiple things. (Robyn Williams) I use whatever falls out [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?


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…]

You Know It’s Bad

Feeling Bad

Pardon me if you already know the proper usage, but it seems to me that “bad” and “badly” are often used interchangeably. I cannot count the number of times I have heard someone say “I feel badly”, but it’s probably as often as I have heard someone else say “I feel bad”. If I were to base things purely on how often these statements are used, it is understandable that the question as to which is correct would arise. So which is the correct word to use? Let’s take a look at “badly” first. This word is an adverb, and [Read more…]

The Best of FWJ February

February brought most of us in the States snow storm after snow storm, Valentine’s Day and some really informative posts from the FWJ crew. Here are a few of the most popular: Applying for a Freelance Writing Gig Without Looking Desperate by Jodee Redmond In this post Jodee cautions against oversharing when looking for writing gigs. Is Your Blog Dressed For Success? by Gayla Baer-Taylor First impressions are important. Gayla shows you how to make sure your blog turns heads. I’m a Ghostwriter (Get Over It) – by Jeffery Reyes In this terrific guest post, Jeffery hits on the many misconceptions [Read more…]

A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far, Far Away


Some of you may recognize the title of this post as the opening line of Star Wars, but have you ever thought about the grammatical accuracy of the “double use” of the word far? To be honest, I never really paid much attention to the practice of repeating adjectives or adverbs as I have always believed it to be correct. While some purists may disagree, I think that there is a reason for this repetition. Last week, the matter was brought to my attention, courtesy of a bunch of guys at Quora. The question posed was: Star Wars opens with [Read more…]

Happy Holidays – I’m Just Sayin’


No, I’m really wishing you all a great Christmas weekend.  It’s just that I came across an opinion piece over at NPR which deals with that phrase in the title.  I never really paid much attention to it whenever I heard it uttered by friends.  Even though I have somehow earned a reputation for correcting other people’s grammar (or flinching at least), I have been trying to be more tolerant in the past year.  After all, I also believe that language is so dynamic that changes are unavoidable. Scott Simon, however, simply cannot stand it when he hears “I’m just [Read more…]

When Grammar Goes Bad…So Does Romance?

Bad Romance

I have a Facebook friend who, I think, is the head of the Grammar Police in our neck of the woods. He always has these posts that set me off on grammar review sprees. Today, this is his status: The first thing I did was to google (yes, I used that as a verb) the lyrics of Bad Romance.  So why did my friend write that note to Lady Gaga?  Here are some lines from the song: I want your love, and I want your revenge. You and me could write a bad romance. I suppose I can write a [Read more…]

Are You Ingenuous or Ingenious?


When I was teaching ESL, lessons on confusing word pairs were inevitable.  The level of the learner was irrelevant.  My students all needed clarification on certain word pairs.  Interestingly enough, I have discovered than even native speakers of English have similar issues.  The words in question may be of a more advanced level, but the confusion remains.  Just take some time to browse blogs, and you’ll find at least one example! For this week’s grammar post, let us take a look at some of words that are used interchangeably, when they shouldn’t be. Ingenuous and Ingenious I’ll be honest here [Read more…]

More Funny Signs that Could Use Better Grammar/Spelling


It’s been more than a month since I posted the first group of funny (or not-so-funny for some) signs on FWJ. When I woke up this morning, I thought that it would be a good idea to post some more signs for the grammar section. After all, it is a Monday, and we can all use some cheering up on this day of the week. First up comes lots of lot’s. Photo courtesy of Steve Dinn We can’t point fingers at Sony here, but the sign sure does take something away from the message, doesn’t it? Just so we’re all [Read more…]

It’s National Punctuation Day!


It’s not yet too late to celebrate one of the most important days of the year: National Punctuation Day!    I am not making this up, although my love for quirky holidays is well known.  You can check the official web site for the holiday to confirm that this is for real. With the tag line “A celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis,” National Punctuation Day is a great excuse to party tonight.  If it’s too late for you to organize something, you can always do [Read more…]

I’m Loving It, Are You?

Lovin ItMcDs_Print

Are you loving McDonald’s popular slogan? “I’m lovin’ it!” became even more popular when the fast food chain launched its first global advertising campaign in 2003.  Suddenly, everywhere you go, you hear people say “I’m lovin’ it.”  What used to be considered incorrect is now being used on a daily basis. But isn’t that what language is all about?  I will always remember what a friend (English professor) told me: “Language is dynamic.  It continuously evolves, and that’s the beauty of it.” While I totally agree with that idea, I sometimes cannot help but flinch when I hear something that [Read more…]

When Punctuation and Law Collide

As freelance writers, we are all very much aware of the importance of grammar and punctuation. We know that all sorts of confusion can arise from improper usage. Sometimes it can be quite hilarious. Check out this incident I read about at The Spokesman-Review: A little punctuation can make a lot of difference. When Bob Strick and Vicki Tomsha had business at the Spokane County Courthouse on June 2, they drove around from parking lot to parking lot, looking for some free public parking. Lot after lot required a permit or some cash. They thought they hit pay dirt in [Read more…]

Noemi Twigg: Your New Grammar Accomplice

Hi Freelance Writing Jobs readers!  This month has brought about a lot of changes in this community, and I would like to take this chance to share a little bit about myself before diving into the finer points of grammar. I know that you all have been following Dawn’s posts, and that her departure from the site has brought about a range of emotions.  It is with hope and optimism that I begin this journey with all of you. I’ve always thought that I had a proclivity for being nitpicky when it comes to grammar, but it wasn’t till I [Read more…]

Are You Down With Grammar?

by Dawn Allcot I was dismayed to see #DownWithGrammar trending on Twitter the other day. Some people used the hashtag to bemoan their high school English classes, others to confess to bad spelling, and many to make fun of politicians and political signs. Others – and these are the ones I commend – turned the phrase around in a clever play on words: “I’m #downwithgrammar,” JoannaOC tweeted. “That’s why I want the line to be for people with ‘fewer than 10 items’ instead of those with ‘less than ten items.’” If you’re scratching your head at why the first is [Read more…]

Grammar god or goof?


Can you identify the parts of speech beyond nouns and verbs? Do you still remember how to diagram a sentence? Does the phrase dangling participle send you running for the hills? Do sentences that end with a prepositional phrase grate on your nerves like nails on a chalkboard? Then you’re a grammar god. These are the people that can wield “lay, lie, laid and lain” with the skill of a Kung Fu master and they’re great to have around when you need a good editor, but I suspect there are a lot of competent, compelling writers that could be classified [Read more…]

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