British to American Spelling
Advice, Grammar

UK to US Spelling

Many people struggle when they need to write using a country’s spelling that isn’t their native tongue. After several years of looking up the differences, I now know most of them by heart. However, there are still a few that can catch me out. I thought I’d build up a translation table so I didn’t have to keep searching to check if I was right. I thought this might be useful to my readers, so here is a searchable table of the most common variances.

When moving from British to American English, there are some general rules that normally apply; Continue reading “UK to US Spelling”

Screenwriting Grammar Mistakes article photo
Advice, Creative Writing, Grammar, Screenwriting

7 Common Grammar Mistakes

Ensuring your writing is grammatically correct can be a huge irritation and a time-eating monster, or it can be costly to pay someone to do it for you. Do you really need to make sure each and every sentence complies with grammar rules?

YES, YOU DO! At least, you do if you want to be taken seriously as an author or screenwriter. The reason for grammar (and punctuation) rules is for clarity. Without them, what we think we’ve written could be read as something entirely different. Here’s an example of why the good old Oxford comma is important (contentious, I know);

“We had a party with the dogs, Taylor Swift and Justin Beiber.”
Or, “We had a party with the dogs, Taylor Swift, and Justin Beiber.” Note the additional comma.

The first sentence can be read that Taylor Swift and Justin Beiber are dogs, while the second one clearly states that the two pop stars were at the party with the dogs. Of course, if what you meant was to express your opinion of the two pop stars, then the first sentence is entirely correct.

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Grammarly Dissected photo
Advice, Grammar

The Grammarly Tool Dissected – A Personal Review

Whether you’re a veteran or a virgin to the world of writing, Grammarly is one of those tools that can help improve your prose. As a proofreader, Grammarly is one of my sanity-checking tools. Even at the standard membership level, the functionality is useful.

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How To Use Semicolons

One thing I come across on a regular basis is the abuse of the poor semicolon.

Reasons to use a semicolon are:

  • Reduce the number of short sentences in a paragraph.
  • Emphasise the relationship between two clauses.
  • Introducing a list where commas will confuse the reader.

A golden rule to remember when using a semicolon is that it is used to separate related things that would still make sense on their own. An example would be…

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How To Use Colons

A lot of new writers seems to get more confused over when to use a colon than semicolons, yet the rules are simpler. Simply put, a colon is used to introduce something, including a list.

CorrectYou know what I love: good grammar.

CorrectCan you go to the shop and buy me the following: bread, milk, and butter.

As with semicolons, you should not capitalise the first word unless it’s a proper noun. You should also never use a colon if it follows a verb or preposition.

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