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He said; She said – the case for ‘said’

A recent post on Tumblr very helpfully gave a great selection of verbs that could be used in place of ‘said’ when writing dialogue. It’s a useful list – and it’s always nice to expand your vocabulary – but I think its premise is flawed. There is nothing wrong with using ‘said’ in your stories.Continue reading “He said; She said – the case for ‘said’”

Lessons in Language: Reign vs Rein

Here’s another set of homophones that I frequently see mixed up in print. The number of times I’ve seen ‘reign in’/’free reign’ instead of ‘rein in/free rein’ in newspapers is… okay, not hundreds of times. But given ‘reign in’ is not an actual term, it’s more often than it should be. To start with, bothContinue reading “Lessons in Language: Reign vs Rein”

Lessons in Language: Toe to tow

Beechworth is a lovely little town in regional Victoria, with generally intact historical architecture and a cheerily promoted link with Australia’s most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly. A few years ago, while partaking of the Ned Kelly tourist walk, I heard tour guide Daniel Goonan talk about infamous Ned’s exploits as a boxer. Goonan referred toContinue reading “Lessons in Language: Toe to tow”

Lessons in Language: All above board and ship shape!

I once wrote a feisty rant about the phrase changing tack (meaning to change one’s approach) and how some folks mistakenly write that as change tact, despite the term’s surely obvious nautical origins. It shouldn’t make me foam at the mouth, and yet it does. Okay. So I’m not necessarily a reasonable human being. The thing is, knowing theContinue reading “Lessons in Language: All above board and ship shape!”

Lessons in language: Tactfully changing tack

I love language. I love learning new words and phrases, and I love discovering how those phrases came to be. Etymology – the account of how words and phrases originated – is of endless fascination to me. Endless fascination and also, sometimes, pain. Some language errors are like nails on a blackboard to me. OneContinue reading “Lessons in language: Tactfully changing tack”