Here’s another often confused idiom. Is it coming “down the pike” or “down the pipe”? Both have their logical arguments. Something could travel through a pipe toward you (e.g., water through pipes, emerging via a spigot), or something could travel along a pike—that is once you realize what a pike is. It’s this latter word […]
Is the summertime “balmy” or “barmy”? Maybe it depends on your disposition. Maybe it depends on your choice of drink. But only one of these words means warm and soothing. The roots of both of these words goes back to the 1500s, when “balm” first was utilized to denote a soothing ointment and “barm” first […]
What? Are you doing a double-take? Did you realize there’s this other word “faze” that you should be aware of? Yep, pay attention to your spelling, folks. The “phase” vs. “faze” distinction is one you should definitely know. A lot of people assume that the “phase” spelling covers everything. It might not have fazed you, […]
Why could you argue that the word choice is correct when one “spilled the beans” about the “crying over spilt milk”? Well, in essence, it’s all a matter of the dates and locations of the two idioms’ origins. Let’s dive into “spilt” vs. “spilled.” While “spilt” was the original past tense form of the verb […]
Some speak of the Muse, when discussing their writing. Today, I’m going to ask which one. No, we’re not talking about Calliope, but we are discussing two words that have the same derivation in the French word muser, which back in the 15th century meant to stare blankly. Here’s the tip you should know just […]
We talk to people all the time. We listen and interact, because that’s what people do. Then why is it that writing dialogue can be so tricky? I’ve discussed the power of using dialogue to differentiate characters and not over-using character names, but today, let’s just focus on dialogue tags, the “he said,” “she said,” […]
If Eleanor Roosevelt and Wonder Woman walked into a bar (stay with me, folks), and she drank a beer in an iced-tea glass, do you know who “she” is? How’s that for a grammatical riddle with some feminism on the side? Besides the fact that I really wish I could join this duo and be […]
Live-Video Writing Tips
I’m tackling grammar, punctuation, business writing etiquette, and fiction editing notes one live-stream at a time.
Every Thursday at 9 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on Periscope.
Bring your questions!
- August 31: “Digital U: How to Gain Like and Influence Newsfeeds,” presented by James River Writers
- October 15-16: James River Writer’s 14th Annual Writing Conference