Home/Tag: language

The thin red squiggle.

Does the proliferation of spellcheckers and autocorrect make learning to spell irrelevant?

Honestly, I think that’s the wrong question to be asking. I used to be an absolutely garbage-ass speller, for example, and no amount of worksheets or drills or “edutainment games” or whatever helped. The only thing that did? Word introducing the first squiggly-red-line-as-you-type spellchecker. That turned spelling into a kind of personal, no-stakes game for me; I’d feel good if I “beat” the spellchecker by remembering the correct spelling for a tricky word, but there were also no consequences if I didn’t (well, the “consequence” was a I got another look at the correct spelling to try and get it right for next time). I probably wouldn’t even really remember this apart from the fact it was apparently such A Big Deal at the time that my parents remember it and will happily tell this story to other Olds who whinge about Kids These Days Can’t Spell.

And this was, like, back in the 90s or whatever, so… nothing new under the monitor’s glare, and all that.

2019-04-29T12:06:40+10:002nd August, 2019|Tags: language, tech|


A lot of writing advice will tell you how to edit down at the prose level. Things like getting rid of adverbs: “That always annoyed me,” Yoon said irritably. In this case I would in fact get rid of the adverb because it’s not adding information; irritation is implied by the (rather on the nose) dialogue. On the other hand, if you had a line like “That always annoyed me,” Yoon said dreamily, the adverb is telling you something contrary to expectation, and could reasonably be kept.

Yoon Ha Lee on adverbs.

This is, quite honestly, the best and most concise way I’ve ever heard the whole not-adjectives-except-sometimes-adjectives rule explained.

2017-11-30T15:39:44+11:0013th May, 2018|Tags: language, writing|

Getting it right.

How to write about trans people, from the Radical Copyeditor. This is the summary image, but the attached article containes more in-depth guidance, including explanations of what makes certain language appropriate or not.

[Content warning is for transphobic language used for illustrative/corrective purposes.]

2017-10-03T15:10:49+11:005th March, 2018|Tags: culture, cw: transphobia, language|