Writing tips from the master, Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker

Bloomberg’s reporters are not allowed to start a sentence with a “but”.

“Clauses that start with although, but, despite or however often confuse more than clarify, because the words connect dissimilar ideas in a single sentence,” writes Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief  Matthew Winkler in his style book, The Bloomberg Way.

Instead, his solution is to break up the sentences into shorter ones, reports Business Insider.

But, according to Steven Pinker…

But there’s nothing wrong in beginning a sentence with a “but”. So says Steven Pinker, the eminent psychologist and one of the foremost writers on language. [Read more...]

OB markers and sacred cows in the Straits Times

The phrase “OB marker” cannot be found in the Oxford Online Dictionary. Nor can it be found in OxfordDictionaries.com, which updates much faster and just added new words such amazeballs and douchebaggery to its list.

Wikipedia says:

An OB marker, short for ‘out of bounds marker’ is a term used in Singapore to denote what topics are permissible for public discussion. The full form of the word is rarely used.

The term is adopted from golf, where an out of bounds marker denotes the area beyond which playing is not allowed… The term “OB markers” was first used in 1991 by the then-Minister for Information and the Arts George Yeo to describe the boundaries of acceptable political discourse.

[Read more...]

Douchebaggery! Amazeballs! Oxford Dictionaries’ latest words

Doncha go cray over this listicle of new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com. It’s trying to be uber cool, updating every month. Plugged into pop culture, seriously hyperconnected, this lexical hip cat has been soaking up new words faster than a former boozer who just fell off the wagon can order refills.


[Read more...]

Nature’s chief masterpiece

Of all those arts in which the wise excel,
Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.

The quote used to appear in a Time magazine ad long ago. Hardly anyone remembers the author, John Sheffield, the Duke of Buckingham (1648-1721), for his poetry, but maybe that is why I love the quote all the more. I am no word maven but am seduced by words. [Read more...]