1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 228 Articles

Have you ever seen a five-year-old trying to learn to ride a bicycle? The bike wobbles like a duck in choppy water, the child shrieks and then suddenly takes off. But one false move -- a lean in the wrong direction or a bit of over-enthusiastic pedaling -- and whoosh, she's off too fast down the street and veering into the bushes with a thump and tears.

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Click here to read more articles from Word Count.

Writing coach Daphne Gray-Grant, who contributed this week's "Word Count" feature, suggests these terrific books on grammar and writing. Daphne tells us about her picks:

The Transitive Vampire by Karen Gordon. "This book is not only funny, it's also short and substantive -- a bit of a hat-trick when it comes to grammar. The design conceit is that it is illustrated with line drawings of dragons, gargoyles and, yes, vampires. The drawings are quite serious and the captions are silly. And the juxtaposition of the two always makes a grammatical point."

Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale. "I like this book because it covers more than grammar -- and because it's funny and flexible. Hale is not the kind of gal who's going to get her knickers in a knot over rules. In fact, she's all for breaking them (the catch is that you need to know you're breaking them.) I like the way the book is divided into three main parts with a set of chapters devoted to various parts of speech -- nouns, pronouns, verbs, etc. -- a set to sentences, and a set labeled "Music" covering voice, lyricism, melody, and rhythm."

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Click here to read more articles from Dog Eared.

Blog Du Jour

Creative Inspiration

Nancy Wells is a VT subscriber and senior copywriter from Chicago, IL. She graciously sent us this list of sites where she goes for creative inspiration -- when she's not using the Visual Thesaurus! As Nancy told us, "the Visual Thesaurus is on my bookmark bar nestled between Google and the Chicago Tribune. I go to company brainstorm sessions with my computer and get on the VT for ideas." Thanks for your support, Nancy!

Google Image Labeler "Gets my brain warmed up for thinking of headline and copy ideas."

Creative Ideas

Malcolm Gladwell's column.

Word Spy

Buzzwhack

Finally, Nancy asks you, our fine subscribers: "Where do you get ideas and inspiration?"

Please let us know...

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Everyone can write. But not everyone can write well.

We all learn to write at school but then society makes a distinction between 'writers' and 'the rest of us.' A writer sits in a garret and writes poetry. The rest of us write memos. It's a false division.

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Click here to read more articles from "Bad Language".

"Write what you know."

How many times as writers have we been told just that? I think it might even be in the initiation packet along with instructions on the secret handshake. But there's no denying that it's a technique that works. Especially for a first book. It gives you a level of comfort that allows you as the writer, the freedom to allow your story to come to life. So for my debut novel for MTV Books, I did just that -- wrote what I knew.

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Click here to read more articles from Backstory.

Blog Excerpts

Given Up the Goat

The Eggcorn Database is "devoted to collecting unusual English spellings that have come to be called eggcorns." (See this week's "Behind the Dictionary" feature for a related story.) Compiled by a group of linguists, the site looks at lexical errors that "tell us something about how ordinary speakers and writers make sense of the language they use." To find out how "tow the line," "fullproof," "beyond approach," and yes, "given up the goat" came to be click here.
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Geoffrey Pullum, the co-creator of the language website Language Log, sums up his site's popularity this way: "A: We like to have fun. B: We enjoy writing. And C: We're linguists." Over 40,000 people a week visit for a smart, witty, wry -- and, yes, fun -- take on how we use this English language of ours. Now Geoffrey and his collaborator Mark Liberman, both linguistics professors, have captured the flavor of their website in a new book called Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log. We called Geoffrey to talk about his work.

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Click here to read more articles from Behind the Dictionary.

1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 228 Articles