Empathy and sympathy by Angela Caldin

I was pondering the other day on the difference between empathy and sympathy and having a bit of difficulty distinguishing between the two. Empathy, it seems, is a fairly modern concept encompassing the ability to understand emotionally and cognitively what other people feel. It’s the ability to see things from another’s point of view, and imagine yourself in the place of another. In essence, it is putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they are feeling. Sympathy, on the other hand, is a feeling of pity or sense of compassion… Read More

Standing and sitting by Angela Caldin

‘We stand for standing and sitting and we will not stand for stood and sat.’ So says the Guardian style guide and I am writing this post in solidarity and support. I think I may be in an ever-decreasing minority of those who wince when someone says: I was stood outside the night club waiting for it to open. This would be all very well if someone had picked the person up and placed them upright outside the night club, but it is not all very well if what they mean is… Read More

Selfies by Trevor Plumbly

On reflection Looking in the mirror’s one thing, but when it comes to describing yourself it can get a bit tricky. Emily provoked this train of thought the other day after her second glass of Shiraz by blurting out, ‘We need to upgrade our bios; Christ I’m still 40 in mine.’ After a re-read, I had to agree. Those scanning that little puff-piece would think that I’m bloody spotless! It comes across like a eulogy in one of those new-age churches, delivered by a celebrant who had never met me. Who the… Read More

Dangling modifiers by Angela Caldin

Most people know a modifier when they see one. A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that clarifies or describes another word, phrase, or clause. But do they know a dangling modifier when they see one? I like the term dangling modifier because it is so evocative and so unlike any other grammatical term. I imagine someone hanging off a cliff or escaping by clinging on to a window sill. With a dangling modifier, the thing it is meant to modify isn’t even in the sentence, so it seems to modify… Read More

Getting the message by Trevor Plumbly

We all strike moments when we doubt our intellect and I had one the other day. I was listening to the radio and this bloke, a Prof of some sort, was explaining the inner meaning of Bob Dylan’s lyrics. Dylan was pretty deep but this bloke was even deeper! Dissecting the great man’s thoughts like an emotional coroner, he left me verbally stranded after about five minutes, but what I did catch left me gobsmacked by his grasp of the unspoken. He shamed me into thinking that, by taking the piss all… Read More