pause for pedantry

Often, as I surf the internet, I find phrases, badly cropped headlines, verbal ambiguities, and punctuation failures that bring me up short and make me pause. When this happens, I tend to take a screenshot of the offending – or amusing – text and store it off to one side.

The intention is then to write about it on the blog, but sometimes I completely forget. Which is why the images in this post are from a whole range of contexts. While some of them are not particularly recent, I think they are probably still worth commenting on.
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options and alternatives

Yesterday I talked about choosing what to read at a Live Lit event. There are hundreds of pieces of writing to choose from in my files, and such decisions are made even more difficult by the fact that some pieces exist in several different forms.

Not only is there an almost infinite chain of drafts and re-drafts preserved from the writing process – and all too often not properly labelled, so I end up wondering which is meant to be the final version; there are also versions resulting from adjustments made to what I thought was a polished piece, when I need to cut a few lines or words so it complies with competition rules, or adjust the length to suit the time allotted for a reading slot. And, as I showed with yesterday’s fairy tale, the same idea may occasionally be shaped into different final forms such as a short story and a poem.

At times, then, even when an open mike event has a specific theme, the options are numerous and decisions are difficult. Which is probably why my attention was caught by the sign in supermarket the other day.

After giving it some though, I reckon a world “free from choice” might be simpler, but I don’t think I’d like it very much.

words and birds

I mentioned recently that I sometimes need to ‘top up’ my supply of words by reading voraciously just about anything I can get my hands on. It doesn’t have to be anything of any great literary value; indeed, I think what I’m really looking for is not so much words as such, it’s colloquial and fluent usage and phrasing that can perhaps be repurposed so that not all the clients I work for in a particular sector end up with the same wording on their websites and marketing collateral.

Since then, I’ve been wondering generally about vocabulary knowledge and learning: how many words do we know? Do adults continue to learn new words and, if so, how many?
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pitching & sticking

This past week, presumably like most of the population of the UK, I’ve been thinking about snow.

Sitting with a friend, watching the white flakes whirl in the wind the other day prompted the inevitable conversation about whether the snow would…

And then we were stuck. What question were we trying to ask?
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colourless

I’ve been feeling a little washed out for much of this week, so was interested to read on the BBC that there is likely to be a lot of ‘flu around this winter.

As it’s only mid September, I seem to be ahead of the game and hope that means I won’t have to go through this again later in the season.

One sentence in the article particularly caught my eye. (I note it has been corrected since I took the screenshot).

Screenshot from BBC "weekend immunity system"
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