Tag Archives: Meaning

The mystery of the covered-up book cover …

Wandering into my local bookshop the other day, I was shocked to see this: W – as some people say in cyberspace – TF? What’s going on here? How can you buy a book if you can’t read what it … Continue reading

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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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Spoons, bricks, modern art – towards a design for design

The user experience (UX) of a spoon: the mouth end has to be the shape it is. It can’t be too deep because we couldn’t take all the food off it with our lips or tongue. It can’t be too … 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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The politics and poetics of the apostrophe

Great apostrophe disasters of 2012, volume 26: a few weeks ago I read an op-ed piece about love and money on the front page of one of the UK’s major national newspapers, The Guardian. It was written by eminent contemporary novelist Jeanette Winterson. … Continue reading

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Have a merry multimodal Christmas

Christmas is a feast for all the senses, a search for a feeling of bodily quickening and life at this dead time of the year. In this part of the world we have the ‘Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’ … 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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Harry Potter and the Publishers’ Holy Grail II

In my previous post I suggested that the most successful publishing reflects back to us – at some level – our deepest preoccupations, perhaps ones we don’t even know about; perhaps there are some we don’t want to know about. … Continue reading

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The power of words #2: strange and beautiful words

The first of this pair of blogs looked at words of power; this one, Gerard Manley Hopkins-style, discusses words ‘counter, spare, original, strange’. One of my favourite words is egg. What’s good about it? It’s short. And odd. I like … Continue reading

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The power of words #1: words of power

We cannot understand a word unless we know what it means, but our familiarity with it also wears away the meaning. This is the motor that drives the ceaseless creativity of our speech-acts. I started off making a selection of … Continue reading

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