Yearly Archives: 2019

On being a word nerd. A word nerd, I be.

I’ve just finished reading ‘The story of be: A verb’s-eye view of the English language’ by David Crystal (2017, Oxford University Press). Until I discovered this book, I hadn’t given a great deal of thought to the humble word ‘be’. In writing training, I advise writers to avoid over-using ‘be’. My concern is that ‘be’ […]

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Being specific with modifiers

I’m often troubled by vague modifiers (things that describe something else within the sentence). Here’s an example, a caption in today’s Weekend Australian: Geraldine Hakewill stars in Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, a spin-off from the Phyrne Fisher series set in 1964 The problem here is that a naïve reader can’t understand whether the original […]

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