What I want for Christmas: a satellite, a force field, peace…

Someone asked what I want for Christmas, so here’s a list:

photo of satellite
Eye in the sky, image by PIRO4D from Pixabay 
  • My own spy satellite.
  • A force field around my bicycle to repel motor vehicles. (Two if you can swing it. One for me and one for Mrs. Smith.)
  • Peace on Earth.
  • A massive worldwide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2020.
  • A non-criminal POTUS.
  • Everyone to know the difference between tenet and tenant.
  • An end to the senseless arguments about Harvard commas, which we all know are just regular commas that are often used when they’re unnecessary.

Please be sure to reply to all so everyone knows what you’re getting me. I don’t want two satellites and no Peace on Earth.

Write on,


“No-one buys great grammar,” but sloppy work can kill a message

Grammar police
Image by the_munificent_sasquatch via Flickr

“No-one buys great grammar,” says an article about business writing.

Poor grammar and spelling can hurt, however, and can make you question both the writer’s expertise and the company’s credibility.

Take the source of that quote about grammar, for example:

Business Writing – 7 Ways To Transform Mediocre Writing

How many spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can you find?

Does sloppy writing prevent you from responding positively to a message?

Share your thoughts with a comment. (Don’t worry about the grammar or spelling!)

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Use the right words for the greatest impact

Pinus ponderosa subsp. ponderosa branch with cones
Image via Wikipedia

A headline’s purpose is to catch the reader’s eye and interest. A poorly written headline can have the same effect.

Bark beetle kill has little affect on fire danger

Of course, it would have little affect (while it might be expected to have an effect or maybe an impact).

Curious about what else I might find, I moved beyond the headline to the first paragraph of the story in this Colorado daily newspaper.

The first paragraph said:

Though bark beetles are marching into lower elevations and killing ponderosa pines in the foothills of Larimer County, the smattering of dead trees they’ve left behind during the last year or two are likely to have little impact on the upcoming forest fire season.

The good news: Impact was used correctly for once.

The bad? There is a smattering of grammar skills where much more is needed.

That smattering of dead trees is (not “are”) likely to have little impact.

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A writing and editing challenge for National Grammar Day

Originally for the article Contraction (gramma...
Image via Wikipedia

This might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but SmithWords may not be able to resist.

Check out the National Grammar Day Contest over at Copyediting. Enter if you dare.

By the way, every day is Grammar Day for the Prose Doctor.

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