I didn't learn the difference between the hyphen (-) and the dash (--) until I was working as a professional copyeditor. This was after four years of majoring in English as an undergrad, not to mention a masters degree! The distinction between these two punctuation marks is as much a visual thing as a grammatical thing. To wit, some… Continue reading Novelty Punctuation and the Technical Writer, Part 3: Hyphen/Dash
I think of the semi-colon as a "soft period." You use it when a period would work grammatically, but it would draw too much of a barrier of meaning between the two clauses you're working with, and a colon would draw too SPECIFIC of a connection (because, as we know now, a colon means "here is… Continue reading Novelty Punctuation and the Technical Writer, Part 2: The Semicolon
This blog post appears by popular request! If my exclamation point didn't alert you already, I am extremely excited to have been asked to blog about punctuation! Remember, I'll blog about anything writing-related on which you'd like or need clarification. Anything. Not to get too meta, but note how punctuation in that previous paragraph conveys both tone… Continue reading Novelty Punctuation and the Technical Writer, Part 1: Your Colon Questions Answered!
Read! You don't have to do anything; if you read a lot, the English language gets into your brain by osmosis. I'm living proof. I never learned grammar in school. There are so many bonuses that come from reading more, aside from it making you a better writer. It gives you something interesting to talk about… Continue reading The Easiest, Funnest Way to Become a Better Writer
A Google search has just taught me that tons of people hate meetings they all--and I mean all, like, including Ivanka Trump--have advice about how to make them better. The most irritating advice I found is "make meetings fun!" I don't want to put words in your mouth, so I'll only speak for myself: my problem with meetings… Continue reading On the Misery of Meetings
On the centrality of communication: If you can't communicate what needs to be done to your superior, then you're not an engineer. "Go rub that in your students' faces!" (They literally said that, I'm not making this up, and I didn't dream this--it really happened! This class is SUPER important, people! It might be the… Continue reading Advice from Real Engineers
This math professor has a whole section On Writing on his website. A couple of my favorites: his excellent idea for "rapid prototyping" method applied to writing papers (not exactly sure what this means but I like it). This seems particularly valuable for those of you who voiced frustration and how long it takes you to write. "Be… Continue reading More links from math professors