Angela’s ABCs: Using a comma before ‘and’ by Angela Caldin

It’s possible that some of us have a vague idea at the back of our brains that you shouldn’t use a comma before and. I know that sometimes this was taught as a punctuation rule in UK schools. But punctuation is intended to make things clear and to be an aid to reading, not a set of hard and fast rules, and should is a word I dislike intensely and try to avoid if I can. There are certainly some situations where a comma before and is preferable and helpful.

Apostrophes Revisited by Angela Caldin

Emily Smart, Copywriter Extraordinaire I must start by saying that, when it comes to copywriting, my fellow blogger, Emily, is a brilliant exponent of the craft. She can turn out an excellent piece of writing at the drop of a hat in whatever style, tone or genre that you wish. She can be funny, serious, concise, detailed, evocative or plain down to earth – whatever best suits the task in hand. If you want a copywriter who can write accurately to a brief and deliver the goods to a deadline, then Emily’s… Read More

Collaborative Short Story by Angela Caldin and Friends

I belong to a writing group composed of five friends who met 10 years ago on a week’s holiday on the island of Zakynthos where we took part in a creative writing course. (Actually, that’s not strictly accurate as one of the friends is my husband whom I met more than 40 years ago and he didn’t do creative writing, he did sailing, but we let him join the group nonetheless.) One of our activities over the years has been to write stories where one of us starts off and then the… Read More

Angela’s ABCs – Words Often Confused: it’s and its

Mistakes with these two words are very common, but there is a fool-proof way of checking to see if you’ve got the right one: It’s is short for it is or it has and nothing else. Therefore if you can’t substitute it is or it has in your sentence, you’ve no doubt got it wrong, and you need its without an apostrophe which is a possessive adjective (like his and her). Look at the following examples – in all of them, you can substitute it is or it has for it’s: It’s… Read More

Angela’s ABCs: Words Easily Confused – Discreet and Discrete

Discreet This is an adjective meaning prudent, circumspect, modest, self-restrained and tactful. Although she was extremely wealthy, she dressed in a discreet way and shopped in downmarket places. I desperately wanted to confide in someone about my problems, but it was difficult to know who would keep things to themselves and be totally discreet. Discrete This is an adjective meaning distinct or separate and is used to identify a particular whole as having distinct, separate, or non-continuous parts. The facility had several discrete resources: a pharmacy, a detox centre, a crisis care provision and a health… Read More