"Give me my typewriter and my dictionary, and just let me suffer!"
— Robertson Davies
"Writing is at the mercy of the largest number of amateurs—almost the entire population."
— Jacques Barzun
"When a writer thinks of his readers, common sense will tell him that a few of them will certainly not be his intellectual equals, but that the majority will be so, and that there will be some who are greatly his superiors; he should comport himself as a gentleman toward all of them." — Robertson Davies
"Nearly every fiction writer in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope, and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom."
— Roald Dahl
Below are ten abbreviations of Latin terms. Do you know what they stand for in Latin and in English?
1. MS or ms.
2. PS or P.S.
5. N.B. or n.b.
6. c. or ca.
7. et al.
Answers are on the Comments page, in the left sidebar.
To Err Is Inhuman
“I’m afraid that surprise, shock, and regret is the fate of authors when they finally see themselves on the page. . . . Seeing one’s inadequate English frozen into type is a humiliating experience.” — Julia Child, My Life in France
“I think of it as it could have been, with its prolixities docked, its dullnesses enlivened, its fads eliminated, its truths multiplied.”
— From the dedication page of
H. W. Fowler's Modern English Usage (1926)
The Accidents of Style is a crash course in careful usage.
Had a look at a menu lately? No doubt you have and, no doubt, you cringed. It’s tough for writers, copyeditors, and English teachers to dine out, for two reasons: a paucity of disposable income and the rampant shoddiness of menu writing. (more…)