Category Archives: Words

Have you tried the new reduced whiches and thats diet?

You don’t have to be a professional writer to benefit from making your writing sound more natural. The words which or that are often stodgy and unnecessary. Following Strunk and White’s helpful suggestion – under their banner ‘Omit needless words’ – … Continue reading

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The pleasures of fine lettercutting in stone

Here’s a lovely thing I was very lucky to be given a few weeks ago. I hope anyone with an interest in words, writing and lettering will enjoy it here too. What is it? It’s a Clipsham limestone square pillar with … Continue reading

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Inventing the future – the earliest mention of the word ‘wordpress’?

Two ifs: if there was a search engine that filtered on the earliest mention of, and if we then looked up ‘WordPress’, we would find this, by James Joyce, from 1939: A bone, a pebble, a ramskin; chip them, chap … Continue reading

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What is the value of words? The euro crisis, Shakespeare and the 2012 Olympics

The current Greece-led euro crisis – #Grexit – may get a lot worse after the second national Greek election on 17 June. A lot (billions of euros) depends on a little (very small percentage differences in voter responses). (I leave … Continue reading

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16 things about white space

1. White space is the name typesetters, typographers and type designers – artists of the black – give to a presence where we might expect an absence. We can, if we choose, see a shape where the mark has not been … Continue reading

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The psychoanalysis of spelling

The only purpose of spelling is to communicate. ‘Bad’ spelling communicates too, but it gives out a message we don’t want. Or perhaps it gives out a message we do want. So what do we really want? The Spice Girls said they … Continue reading

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Pop goes the euphemism

I have just been to collect a prescription from the pharmacist, and was asked to wait for 20 minutes ‘while we pop your prescription together for you’. I noticed that the medicine was already in a container in its packaging, … Continue reading

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