If there’s one thing most word nerds love, it’s a good game of Scrabble (or Words With Friends, for the more tech-addicted among us). Of course, having a good vocabulary isn’t everything if you want to win Scrabble games: Strategy plays a big part, too, whether it’s finding the perfect place on the board to play a word or making sure that you cut off scoring opportunities for your opponent. But knowing a lot of words is certainly helpful, especially when it comes to dealing with a difficult rack of letters, maximizing the number of words you can get points for in one turn, or spotting and playing that elusive “bingo,” a seven- or eight-letter word that earns a 50-point bonus. Learn the words on this Scrabble cheat sheet and you’ll raise your odds of victory. Read more ›
While top 10 lists went out of style on YouTube and other sites ages ago, the cultural staple of the numbered list in general doesn’t seem to have gone away. While some have bemoaned the situation, it also seems to be becoming the most popular means of blogging! Here’s why numbered lists are awful on so many levels. Read more ›
One of the great things about the Internet is that it can spread information far and wide. But one of the problems is that it can also spread things like misinformation, ungrammatical regionalisms, and hideous made-up slang words (I’m looking at you, “bae” and “fleek”). One weird thing that seems to be popping up more and more online lately is something that’s being called the “needs washed” construction: a present-tense verb (often “needs” or “likes” or “wants”) plus a past participle without the usual accompanying “to be,” such as in “the car needs washed” or “the dog wants petted.” Read more ›
If you want to make a writing instructor’s face purple, mention purple prose, the object of loathing for many professional writers, writing teachers, and readers. Purple is a lovely color, and yet it’s associated with a horrible writing sin. Why?
What Is Purple Prose?
The term goes way back, originally being coined by the poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (a.k.a. Horace) in Ars Poetica: Read more ›
It’s bad enough when you go back over a piece of writing and cringe at an awful mistake you’ve found. But it’s much worse when you go on making the same grammatical errors or spelling mistakes and don’t even know you’re doing anything wrong. They might say that ignorance is bliss, but it’s not so great when you discover that people who have read your work came away thinking that you’re an idiot. Want to keep this from happening to you? Check out this list of common writing mistakes you might be making and learn how to fix them. Read more ›