Apophenia — Filling the Blanks

Readers’ comments on What Does [Sic] Mean? point up the curious feature of the human mind that infuses meaning into the meaningless. I always thought it was an abbreviation for “Spelling Is Correct.” I think I read on this site that someone believed “sic” to stand for “said in context”. I had previously thought it … Read more

Pronoun Use is NOT Rocket Science

What is so hard about knowing when to use I and when to use me? Why can’t professional reporters and TV script writers get it straight? Florida fifth-grader Damon Weaver understands the subject form of the first person personal pronoun. In case you’ve missed him on YouTube, Damon Weaver is newly-famous for interviewing Senator Joe … Read more

Need Help Making Your Site Search Engine Friendly?

No writing tip on this post, so feel free to skip it. If you have a blog or website where you publish your writings, however, you could be interested on the topic. You probably know that search engines (e.g., Google and Yahoo!) are the main way that people use to find information these days right? … Read more

Word of the Day: Chagrin

Chagrin [shə-grĭn’] literally refers to the cutting pain produced by the friction of Shagreen leather. It is widely used in a figurative way, however, where it means a strong embarrassment that is caused by failure, disappointment or by an awkward circumstance. Lear brokered the deal to get then-middleweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins to wear a … Read more

Writing Resources for Teenagers

I know from the comments that lots of teens read Daily Writing Tips, and as a former teenage writer myself, I wanted to offer some of my tips and favourite resources. I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember – even before I could write, I made up stories to tell to … Read more

They, their, them, eggs and freckles!

Sharon’s post The Scandinavian Connection lists fifteen words, all nouns, that have come into English from Swedish and Norwegian. The earliest word in her list, flounder, came into English in 1592. The most recent, quisling, was coined as recently as 1940. As interesting as these words are, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Our … Read more

Writing a Thank You Note

Sending a thank you note is always a lovely gesture – and often an expected one. I’m sure that when you were a child, your parents encouraged (or forced) you to write thank you notes for birthday and Christmas presents. As an adult, you should still make a point of writing a thank you note … Read more

Punctuation Game

So you think you know your punctuation? Now you can put it to the test. Eats, Shoots and Leaves, reviewed by Maeve in July, has a punctuation game online. There are to questions on the placement of the apostrophe and comma, and at the end of the game you get a score showing how much … Read more

Autumn or Fall?

Why can’t Americans admit they have rewritten the English language. Fall for Autumn, color for colour. –Diane, comment on Among/Amongst Changing colour to color can be blamed on American dictionary maker Noah Webster, but Fall for Autumn deserves another look. Taking the vocabulary of Old English as a starting point, both Fall and Autumn as … Read more

Vocabulary Test 2 Is Live!

It was about time to release another one of our tests, right? We are going back to the vocabulary test, with 20 new words. If you have been reading the blog for a while, you shouldn’t have a problem scoring a 100%! We covered all the words in the past, inside the Word of the … Read more

Ruining Your Writing by Cheap Blogging

Ali recently gave us five reasons why blogging improves your writing, and I don’t disagree with any of them. What ruined my writing ability (temporarily, I hope) was not the chance to write regularly or to get instant feedback. So what ruined it? Did I get worse the more I practiced? Can that even happen? … Read more

Word of the Day: Kernel

Kernel [kûr’nəl] is a noun that refers to the edible substance that you find inside nuts, or to a grain or seed enclosed in a husk. The term can also be used more broadly to identify the central or core part of any structure. That is why the central part of most computer operating systems … Read more