spot the difference! or, how The Economist can’t spell

The Economist Style Guide is a thing of beauty. But more for the book’s content than its cover.


click to embiggen


I checked, and ‘useage’ isn’t an alternative spelling. It isn’t optional. It’s can I put this? Wrong.

And it’s on the front cover of a guide to how to write English. 

And they spell it correctly inside the book.



Filed under how not to write

a 19 year old speaks: how to impress the in-laws

Public transport is really the most amazing invention in the world ever*. (*Probably not.) But it’s one of the best places to people watch, and eavesdrop on their conversations. I mean, not eavesdrop, I mean..

Nope, there’s no good way of saying that. 

You guys remember that time I overheard some epic teenage wisdom? Yeah..that was highly enjoyable:

Boy 2: Driving’s so complicated though. You have to put your foot down-

Boy 1 (eager to display his knowledge): On the gas!

Boy 2 (patient, long-suffering): No, on the clutch pedal. And then you have to use the gear lever-

Boy 1: And the gas!

Boy 2: No – then it’s- [Having got confused, he switches to a different tack.] Manuals are so complicated though. You have to do it all again when you change to a different gear, and then as soon as you’ve done that you have to go up to a different gear, and then again, all the way up to sixth! No… [a world-weary sigh] I much prefer automatics.

Boy 1 (rather lost): Yeah…

hawt (no filters required)London, you is lookin well fit init.

Last weekend I overheard more amazingness from the mouths of fellow travellers in this fine city.

I was on the train, and about to press Play on my iPod, when I decided to listen in to the loud phone conversation occurring in the seat behind me. The speaker is a guy who’s probably about 19. He’s a student, not a racist (yaysers), and has a few problems with his possible future father-in-law.

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Filed under things i've seen

weapons of mass description

the kind of description you should be writing

This quote is from Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, and it illustrates one of the most important things to remember as a writer: DO NOT BORE YOUR READER.

People don’t like being bored. Newsflash! I know. I have literally never heard anyone say ‘I’m sooo bored right now, it’s amazing!’ or even ‘I can’t wait for the meeting on Thursday, I’m going to be so bored!’ 

When you write, people have a choice whether or not to read your output. It’s simple: if you bore them, you’re making that choice for them.

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Filed under how not to write

snow daze and more of the sailor

Oh, I do like to be beside the snowside! No wait, I’m sure that’s not how the song goes..

Yes, I have moved house. Yes, it snowed pretty much all weekend. Yes, that made the whole moving house process somewhat..interesting.

fun times ahead!

Do you see that shape at the bottom right hand corner of the photo? That’s my car, shortly before I removed just enough snow so that I could actually open the doors. Oh, and shortly before it started snowing again, but properly this time. Real snow that means business.

You might have gathered from the above that I was, perhaps, a little annoyed by the snow? Somewhat inconvenienced? Irritated by the white stuff falling from the sky?

Well, you’d be wrong. I’m actually screamingly excited, like a toddler on crack, about the snow. I’m just pretending to be bored and irritated because I’m supposed to be a grown up, and that’s what grown ups do, right? Continue reading


Filed under books

4 things i’m blaming on the snow

You’ve seen the news, right? About the white stuff falling from the sky? Well, it is an excuse for a lot of inexecusable stuff. Also, it is pretty. WIN.

Some things I’m blaming on the snow:

one I have not written a real blog post, or indeed one that is going to be published on time.

two I have not quite finished the work I was supposed to be doing this afternoon..something to do with being sent home early.

three I am eating fresh hot popcorn and playing Words With Friends, instead of doing something useful like packing for moving house tomorrow. (Have I mentioned that I’m moving house? Only a few gadzillion times. No, really.)

four I made a snow cat. YES YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT. Here –

 a cat. in the snow.

Good news: I have actually managed to keep my New Year’s resolution. I KNOW. Hoo to the Rah.

I hope you have a most extremely splendid weekend and that you laugh until you can’t breathe. Because that is the best. (Laughing I mean. Not the not breathing part.)


Filed under Uncategorized