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

No buts

But: such a little word, such a lot of confusion.
You can go mad looking at grammar rules to find out when the use of But is appropriate – although it seems that a lot of people are not aware they need to think about it at all. Continue reading

Editors make mistakes, too

I mis-spelt a word on Twitter today – conumdrum, instead of conundrum. Not the end of the world, and in the Twitter flow no one but me noticed (I hope). But it makes me unhappy when I  get things wrong (especially when I do know the right spelling). And that is one of the foundations of editing, I guess: the striving to make things right.

Writing training material

I’m engaged in writing training materials for a bunch of people who are about to get to grips with a new web content management system. I had forgotten how boring and satisfying – all at the same time- that is. So much detail, so many places where you can forget one crucial detail. And the overwhelming feeling of being helpful…