Said is sad or is it?

use this exercise
Many ways to say ‘said’
For fiction writers the use of the word said can become tedious if used over and over again. Eager writers will look for ways to substitute said with other, possibly more descriptive words. There is a superb list of alternatives to choose from and budding novelists should not be discouraged.

For those who want to get stuck in right away, or write away, here’s a glimpse of just a few quick possiblities.

-Answered (a favourite)

That’s just 10 ways to substitute said and should keep you busy as you fit the respective words to your characters. But getting back to said... You have to be careful that you substitute with purpose. The last thing you want is for your writing to sound forced and artificial. There’s many a time where a simple said, will do the job just fine. In fact, I work at a newspaper and said is the only attribution allowed. Here it’s all about simplicity.

And that’s all I have to say, for now.

Five of the most common mistakes in the English language

The English language, rich and exotic as it is, is also prone to many mistakes in its usage. For those using English as a second language, the challenge to avoid mistakes is that much more difficult.

For people born to the English language, many mistakes are still common.

1. 20 years old and 20-year-old.

Peter is 20 years old (three separate words – a full sentence)
Peter is a 20-year-old maths superstar.
20-year-old is used as an adjective and must be hyphenated.

2. rein and reign

Monarchies have reigns, but horses have reins.

We need to rein in the toddlers because it is about to rain.

The queens reign was extended because all her sons died.

3.quite and quiet – watch where the ‘e’ goes

It is quite easy to use spell check.

When it is quiet I can concentrate better.

4. angle and angel

Angels may descend in your time of extreme need.

Angles are right or wrong, strong or weak, in the sense of writing an article.

5.weak and week

After not eating for two days Jane felt weak.

On Sunday it well be a week since I started blogging.

That’s all for today. If you work on just these five mistakes, your English written language with radically improved.

The bother with both

As a provider of professional English writing services I have always found both a bother in the language. I find that is used in many, many phrases as a redundant word.

My believe is that every word must count. And both is bothersome because it is so often superfluous. For example, in the sentence ‘Joan and Mary both have measles,’ the sentence can stand and mean the same thing if you write, ‘Joan and Mary have measles’. And is a very efficient little word and does the job just fine. However, if you write ‘Joan and Mary are sick, they both have measles,’ both is functional in its own right.

If your write,’Catherine has two kids. Both are at nursery school’ both has a perfectly good function. But, in most cases where the word ‘and’ is used to couple two nouns, both is unnecessary and does not add to or clarify the meaning.

I particular dislike, ‘Both Jake and Bill are top business men’, when ‘Jake and Bill are top businessmen’. While ‘both’ gives a bit of emphasis in this usage, it is not really necessary, as ‘Jake and Bill are top businessmen’ does the job adequately.

I urge all practitioners of written English to dispense with an over-reliance on both, and only use it when absolutely necessary.

I also welcome discussion on this topic and would like to learn more about the origins of the usage of the word ‘both’.

How to get your licence to write good English

Writing good English requires a depth of knowledge of the language. English is full of tricks, words that sound the same and are spelled differently and words that are spelled the same and have different meanings – and that’s just two. ┬áThere are many areas of confusion in the English language so let’s just clear up one.licence-plate

Licence is a word that is spelled two ways. Licence and License. It starts out being quite simple using Licence as the noun and License as the verb. And even that only works if you follow the UK English system. In America License is used as a verb and a noun.

In UK English all derivatives of the verb from of license are spelled with an S, such as licensing and licensed. It’s really quite tricky so pay close attention to your writing.

If you can’t manage, get hold of an editor or a proofreader to help you out.

Here’s to better English.