Category Archives: Writing

How to be a good writer

Back to blogging

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Image Search.”

The prompt said:

Pick a random word and do Google image of on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.
So I found the eleventh image for the word “tree” and decided to see how complicated it would be to do this on my phone.

The image is beautiful but formatting and working on this tiny screen is not.

It’s the reader, stupid

I have been a journalist for a long time, enough to have some thoughts about the meaning of what I do. And there are some things I find I feel quite strongly about, after all this time.

I entered journalism with an English degree, rather than any academic training in the profession itself. So a lot of what I am about to say is based on pragmatic engagement, rather than lecture-room learning. Nevertheless, I have covered a lot of ground. So here is how my learning curve went. Continue reading

Try to remember this

When I was school (a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) our
small, fierce and lovely matric English teacher (complete with
Scottish accent) drilled this into us: you never write “try and” – you
write “try to”. Continue reading

Time to think about apostrophes

Time for the apostrophe
Recently, on Cape Talk radio (www.capetalk.co.za), afternoon host John Maytham read out a communication from a listener about a sign seen at the Mining Indaba where the apostrophe reared its small and annoying head. The sign said something like “Worlds’ Mines. How many worlds do the people at the Mining Indaba think there are?
Now this is one of the great dividers between the general population and Sticklers for English Usage (such as myself). In spoken English the apostrophe is irrelevant; in signs in shops that say Stickers and Tattoo’s (the Cape Science Centre, Feb 9) it doesn’t essentially matter: communication has been achieved and the shoppers know where to find the tattoos. Continue reading

Commas – just don’t

Commas. Such a tiny piece of punctuation, so wrongly used so much of the time. Continue reading