‘Place a comma before “which” but not before “that”.’ I’ve come across this simple guideline many times, and it’s certainly memorable, straightforward, and easy to apply. And it works most of the time. However, I often wonder if it’s too simple for its own good. It refers to one … [Read more...] about Can a single comma change the meaning of a whole sentence? A simple guide to placing commas before ‘which’ and ‘that’
I’ve got a book on my shelf printed by the Oxford University Press and another printed by the Cambridge University Press. The Oxford University book uses the Oxford comma. Not surprising. However, in the Cambridge University book, I noticed something that made me chuckle. There … [Read more...] about What’s an Oxford comma? How do I use it correctly? And do I need one at all?
Ken Follett opens The Pillars of the Earth with a stark and unsettling line. The small boys came early to the hanging. I was gripped and repulsed at once. Shocked and intrigued. And I read on, hooked. I knew Ken Follett had done something right. And I wondered what. … [Read more...] about Sentence cadence. Uncovering this secret of great prose in “The Pillars of the Earth”
Writing description can be a tricky business. Too much and the reader might get bored. Too little and they’ll definitely get confused. I don’t envy the author who’s got to set the scene and keep a tight grip on the reader all at once. I might ride a unicycle while spinning a … [Read more...] about How to write Riveting Description with “The Pillars of the Earth”
Do you want to write clear sentences that use grammar and punctuation correctly? But do phrases like "compound predicate" and "subordinate conjunction" leave your mind blank? If that’s you, I’d like to help. In this blog series, I’m going to present the rules of grammar and … [Read more...] about To Comma or Not to Comma? When to put commas before “and”, “but”, “or”, “nor”, and “yet” made simple