Category: Common English mistakes

Three key notes to persuasive copy

Slapping down anything that comes to mind may work for the Earnest Hemingways of the world, but its unlikely to produce persuasive copy for your website.

pexels-photo-895449.jpegEven Hemingway was not one to settle for the first draft. Very few writers do. So why would you put text on the most public forum – your website – that has not been properly crafted?

Flout or flaunt? Word confusion

One of the most common mistakes I found as a sub-editor was around the confusion of the use of the words flaunt and flout. The result was often hilarious.

It seems it is an age-old problem common to the news reporting discipline and these partners in language crime have an interesting history. You may want to say the wanton woman flouted her breasts as she walked along the busy street.

New author launches poetry anthology at Love Books, Melville

Fans filled up the spaces of the buzzing bookshop last night at the launch of Happy Birthday Raashi, a poetry anthology by Raashida Khan, the author’s first published work.

Khan’s journey as a writer for the past 20 years has been a start-stop affair. She first tried her craft in short stories in the back office

Gig economy the smart choice

Gig economy a new take
Perhaps what ‘gig’ used to mean

As a gigger (someone who works in the ‘gig economy’ – my own definition) for the past three and a half years I have formed my own views as to its success and relevance in the global work structure.

No-cry zones with sunions: How words are formed

You’ve heard of a no-fly zone. Now, there’s a no-cry zone. That’s when it comes to onions. Or rather sunions.

English is not the only discipline to combine two elements to from a new one. Agriculture too is well known for its hybridisation and has brought us many delicious fruits and vegetables that add variety to our diets.

Today I am borrowing from agriculture by taking its new vegetable name and using it as my new work.

So, sunion is an onion, with all the powerful flavours of this strong bulb vegetable in the Allium class, but without the chemical irritants that cause crying. Thus, a no-cry zone.

In my research, I accidentally found, in addition to sunion, the word sonion, which has inspired some interesting definitions of its own.

Urban Dictionary offers: “sonion, the son of an onion; often used to describe an awesome bro. “yo sonion, wanna go rip a monster bowl?” shows how to use the word in a sentence (ehem).


Another site has developed an entire personality profile for this creature, sonion, in very poorly written English, I must add.

However, it suggests that sonions prioritise freedom and independence and are particularly curious about the unknown.


They are said to enjoy travel and abhor routine tasks. They generate ideas that are well-supported but soon tire of concepts that don’t excite them.

For more on this fascinating personality, please go to: (link)

I’m amazed that you can find this analysis, which to me sounds like pure fiction, written by websites that pass themselves off as authorities (maybe the laugh is on me), but it has been fun.

So whichever way you want to take it, I wish you lots of salads with crunchy sunion, or why not try a creative exercise and write your own profile of a sassy sonion.

New word from a six year old: Palindromes and portmanteus: how words are formed

How words are formed

New word from a six year old: Palindromes and portmanteus: how words are formed

An attack of destinesia


Almost every word in English has a definition and  almost every word composition has a description for why it came to be called that.

Until that is, the word that you want to know more about is not in the dictionary (try Google) or worse the composition is unexplained.

After and Before: Disruptors are the new cool

Team work is bliss

Today I invite you to look at a piece of work I did some years ago.

In the spirit of disruption an after and before. Have you noticed how disruptors are the new cool? Anything or anyone who disrupts the normal way of doing things gets the kudos, the fan base and the stand-up-and-take-a-look response that is expected. Now let’s dispense with tradition and turn it upside down.

So this is how it’s going to go.

Take care with English: How expressions get distorted

From less to most
Levels of caring

Would you say English is a careless language? I think the opposite is true. English is a careful language in that its most practiced users choose words with specific intent, to ensure their purpose of meaning is clear.

Red herring: A technique for arguing

I love a red herring. And no, I don’t mean because it’s an ideal protein in a low-carb high-protein diet. It’s also great for breakfast.

At school I had a maths teacher who was fond of colouring her teaching with idioms. A red herring was one of her favourite idioms.

She would use the phrase as a defence against answering a question she believed to be irrelevant.

No ticking time bomb: why words are redundant


In recent weeks I became curious about the metaphor ‘a ticking time bomb’.

There’s something about it that does not ring true. Not true, in that sense but not grammatically correct.

There are too many words in the phrase. The offending word here is ‘ticking’.