Judging a Book by Its Lover …

…  A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere by Lauren Leto Reviewed by Stevie Godson FROM the minute I saw the title of Lauren Leto’s latest book, I was hooked – or, at least, I wanted to be. It first floated tantalisingly into my view on a list of titles sent […]

We are so very ‘umble

Today is a very special day for word nerds worldwide – it’s the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. In commemoration of  his life and works, not only has Google created one of its wonderful “doodles” in his honour, but Great Britain’s Royal Mail today revealed a sneak preview of two stamps – […]

Serial comma goes on trial

BROADCASTER John Maytham told Cape Town the other day: “Here’s self-confessed grammar Nazi, Stevie Godson.” I spluttered – which was perhaps not the best way to start a radio interview. “I’m definitely not a grammar Nazi,” I told him, as I quickly recovered my composure. “They’re scary people – very abusive. I’m more of a grammar […]

Grow Your Own Drugs!

ONE of the (very few) benefits of being too sick to go out – as I’ve just been – is that you occasionally discover a worthwhile television programme you didn’t know existed. It happened to me the other day. There I was, feeling very sorry for myself, mindlessly flipping through the television channels. My eyes […]

Clutching at Clerihews

I WAS introduced to a collection of clerihews the other day – A Clutch of Clerihews, in fact, (of people and places, of nations and races, of dorps, towns and cities, of different languages and ethnicities) — by an amazing man called Feo Sachs. It all began when I was trying to book a pet-friendly […]

Like Candy from a Baby!

IT WAS a chance remark by my American friend Amy Potts that got me wondering about something I’ve done – quite without thought – ever since I was a little girl. “Seems a bit creepy,” she said. So I thought about it – and realised she was absolutely right. In an Easter tweet, Amy had […]

A Word of Difference

IF ACTIONS speak louder than words, then integrious actions speak even louder. And even though that strange adjective fell out of favour – and dictionaries – decades ago, it certainly fits the old adage. So as everything around us – not just here but globally – seems to be falling apart, thanks in no small […]

An ‘I’ for an ‘i’

I HAD a couple of fascinating questions from reader Brett G Marshall the other day that gave me the perfect excuse to indulge my passion for plain English. Brett wanted to know – “without sounding too stodgy” – why it’s the only language to give capital letter status to the personal pronoun and also “who […]

‘Enterprising’ commas

  The Eye of Shatner (pic by ssoosay) I CAME across a delicious “part of speech” the other day that’s too good not to share. It’s the “Shatner comma”. I’ve heard of the Oxford comma, of course, but this one’s completely new to me. I had a suspicion what it was all about, though. After […]

Can it, you spammers

I’VE been the victim of dozens of persistent spammers recently – or, at least, this blog has. (Though why they’d want to target a site that’s devoted to my passion for plain English, heaven only knows.) Judging from their mangling of the language, they could certainly use one or two of my free tutorials – […]

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