The great space debate – one or two spaces after a period?

One English usage debate I thought was solved over a decade ago was the disagreement over whether to put one or two spaces after a period when composing on a keyboard. I always had used two spaces, but when doing curriculum development as a consultant, the editorial staff of the company insisted on the one-space …

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More on Writing More, Writing Smarter

On notifying Writing Workshop participants and readers of my blog about my 21 Day Challenge©, I shared the results of studies from the past 30 years that have shown that people can improve the quantity and quality of their writing. In fact, writers following a regimen produced 9 times the quantity and quality of those …

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How writing helps when you’re challenged

More than three months into the pandemic restrictions and social isolation, these continue to be unusual and unsettling times. In March, shortly after the near country–wide shut down, I sent out an email – midpoint in my usual a once-a-month newsletter pattern – sharing some of the resources for writers that were appearing online. I …

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Rhetorical devices for revision

In preparing some materials for my recent (June 2020) 21 Day Challenge, I revisited some material on rewriting in order to provide resources for a couple of participants revising their fiction manuscripts. In a neat connection with the previous post on rhetoric and writing, Robert Ray, of the nonfiction Weekend Novelist series on writing, has …

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What’s rhetoric got to do with it (writing)?

We have talked about rhetoric and rhetorical strategies in these blog posts before. In particular, we have drawn on the work of Martha Kolln’s Rhetorical Grammar and Mark S. LeTourneau’s English Grammar. Kolln has provided patterns of sentence structure and punctuation for posts on stylistic considerations. In two posts, we examined LeTourneau’s arguments for grammar …

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Discombobulate and the Thesaurus

I found myself using the word discombobulated several times recently, understandable in this age of pandemic/COVID-19. It was a word my father, also an English teacher and scholar, would use. After writing the recent post on wordsmiths and lexicographers, I was curious to turn to dictionaries, as well as thesauruses, to explore the meaning and …

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Lexicographers and other wordsmiths

Writers are wordsmiths, whether they are following the Queen’s English (“educated British”) or American Standard English (“professional style”) or the slang of contemporary music. This post is inspired by the recent deaths of two wordsmiths: one is the prominent Irish poet, Eavan Boland who shook up the poetical male field with her focus on a …

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How writers can use grammar for revision

The previous post focused on how writers can use grammar to improve their writing style. Called stylistic or rhetorical grammar, writers can use their knowledge of grammar stylistic analysis, choices, and revision. Mark S. LeTourneau, in English Grammar, enumerated these three applications of grammar to style, with a focus on sentence combining to create complex, …

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