Cockney Rhyming Slang

Cockney Rhyming Slang has been moving around the world, thanks to the popularity of East End gangster movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and many others. It’s a series of words and phrases used by Cockneys and other Londoners. Originally, a Cockney was someone born within the area where they could hear … Read more

Obsessed With Ob- Words

The other day, someone used a word that I hadn’t heard in a long time: obstreperous. I love the way that rolls off the tongue. It means noisy, unruly, belligerent, cantankerous – you get the picture. Obstreperous originates from the Latin prefix ob- (against) and strepere (to make a noise). A drunk being hustled out … Read more

Publishing Horror Stories

Want to know which mistakes to avoid? Here’s a publisher’s perspective. In the latest issue of Publishing Basics, Carolyn Madison reveals some of the errors that make publishers cringe.  These include misspellings, poor grammar and punctuation, structural problems, ambiguous messages and inaccurate content. They have a nice list of the always common misspelled words also: … Read more

Cut To The Chase

Cut to the chase is a common expression, meaning get to the point. It’s an exhortation to omit flowery phrases and unnecessary preamble and focus on the core issue. This expression first appeared in newspapers in the 1940s, though it has an older origin in the American film industry. In the era of silent film, … Read more

The KISS Guide To Writing Keyword Rich Articles

Freelance writers are often asked to write keyword rich web content articles. If you don’t know where to begin, here’s the ‘keep it simple’ guide to get you started. Finding Keywords In most cases, clients supply the keywords you need for an article. If they don’t, then your first step is to research some appropriate … Read more

Converse Terms

I’ve been reading a book on linguistics recently. During the process I have discovered some new terminology, such as converse terms. This phrase describes pairs of words where one word reverses the relationship that is denoted by the first. As someone else put it, there’s a relationship of equivalence. In other words, if you are … Read more

Rebut vs. Refute vs. Deny

There’s often confusion between rebut and refute and both words may be misused when deny is most appropriate. It’s true that they all have to do with negation, but that’s where the similarity ends. To deny a statement is simply that. If I say ‘all dogs are grey’, then if you deny or contradict that … Read more

Dissatisfied vs. Unsatisfied

Don’t mix up dissatisfied with unsatisfied. Dissatisfied applies only to people who are unhappy, frustrated or disappointed with a thing, person or situation.  Examples: I was dissatisfied with the service I received at the restaurant. She was dissatisfied with his response to her question. Unsatisfied refers to the feeling of needing more and can be … Read more

Homograph Examples

Homographs are words with different pronunciation, meanings and origins but the same spelling. They are not to be confused with homonyms, homophones and heteronyms. In order to work out which pronunciation and which meaning is appropriate, you need to be aware of the context. Here are a few homographs and their meanings: agape – with … Read more

Travel Writing Resources

I love travel writing, but the strangeness of the internet marketplace means that sometimes I have to write travel articles about places that I’ve never been to. I’ve now done several of these, and here’s what I have learned from the process. As a writer you can make connections between what you have done and … Read more

The Best Way To Start Out In Freelance Writing

When you’re thinking of becoming a freelance writer, you will find a lot of advice about starting a writing career. However, there’s one thing that you should do above anything else. That’s to write. If you don’t write, you are not a writer. Skills Development There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to … Read more

Arabic Loanwords In English

The Arabic language has contributed hundreds of words to the English language by many different routes. That’s partly because in what my daughter likes to call the olden days (from around 700AD to the Middle Ages), the Arabic kingdoms had a great influence on Europe and the world. In part this was through colonisation, but … Read more