Articles

Pick a noun, any noun
30 July 2021

Pick a noun, any noun

You may have heard the grammatical term ‘noun’ and know that it names a person, place or thing. But did you know there are several different types of noun? If you think knowing about nouns will make no difference to your writing, this blog will open your eyes to a whole new bag of writing tricks.

The hidden traps of mixed metaphors and tautologies
12 April 2021

The hidden traps of mixed metaphors and tautologies

You may have a vague memory of learning about metaphor and tautology in high school English and know that tautologies and mixed metaphors are to be avoided. But what are metaphors and tautologies? And are there times when they can enhance written communication? Find out how to avoid embarrassing errors from mixed metaphors and tautology in business writing.

Capital letters: avoid these 3 common errors
13 November 2020

Capital letters: avoid these 3 common errors

Misuse of capital letters may not only be grammatically incorrect but could make your meaning unclear. Too many initial capitals can also be distracting for the reader and make your writing appear amateurish. Using initial capital letters correctly will increase readability and enhance your personal and professional credibility.

Using apostrophes to show possession
19 October 2020

Using apostrophes to show possession

When do we need to use apostrophes and why does the apostrophe sometimes come after the ‘s’ and sometimes before it? Using apostrophes to show possession or ownership is essential in written English to clarify meaning. All possessives, except for the word ‘its’, need an apostrophe and an ‘s’  at the end. Sometimes the concept of ownership is easy to work out; at other times it’s not so straightforward. 

Is Australian spelling dead?
10 July 2020

Is Australian spelling dead?

With word processing programs in workplaces often remaining in the default setting of US spelling, many people are increasingly unaware of the differences between Australian and American spelling. Australian spelling closely follows British spelling, yet many common words are spelt differently in American English even though they mean the same thing. In an interconnected world with English an international language, do these differences matter?

Chilling out about tense
12 June 2020

Chilling out about tense

Is it lay or lie? What about laid and lied? And why do we write ‘paid’ and not ‘payed’? Using the correct tense is an important part of communicating your message clearly. Using the wrong tense could mislead your reader. Knowing when an action occurred is important to add meaning to your communication. Take care not to fall into these common tense pitfalls.

Chameleon words: alternative versus alternate
1 May 2020

Chameleon words: alternative versus alternate

English is a wonderfully flexible language. We borrow words from other languages, like 'ballet', 'chocolate' and 'patio', and make up words, like 'hangry' and 'mansplain'. Words go in and out of fashion, others disappear only to reappear again decades later. Other words, like 'alternate' can mean different things to different people. 

Worse, worser, worst and other blunders
31 January 2020

Worse, worser, worst and other blunders

English grammar is not renowned for being logical. No sooner do we think we understand a grammatical rule and we find an exception. If we write ‘quick, quicker, quickest’ to show the comparative speeds between competitors, why don’t we write ‘worse, worser, worst’, or ‘bad, badder, baddest’ for that matter?

Australian words that defined a decade
24 January 2020

Australian words that defined a decade

Around 1,000 words are added to the English language every year. Each December, the Australian public votes on their favourite word. Find out Macquarie Dictionary's winning People's Choice words for the last decade.

Keeping the grammar trolls at bay: how to match singulars and plurals
6 December 2019

Keeping the grammar trolls at bay: how to match singulars and plurals

The grammar trolls are ever ready to pounce, especially on unsuspecting victims who mismatch singulars and plurals. When trolls spot this error, they experience a great sense of superiority. Don’t give them the satisfaction! Instead, find out how to get it right.