Friday, August 31, 2012

5 Ways To Write Better Poems

Poetry is a strange medium. It’s both heavily critiqued and profoundly subjective. A poem can be as timeless as the best classical literature or it might only ever move one reader. When a format is so artistic and personal, it seems absurd to impose rules or suggest ways in which one poem is objectively better than another. Nonetheless, there are certain ways in which a poet can make her own work the best it can be, regardless of how it compares to the mainstream.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

For Team Members at Automated Proofreading Company, Email Presents a Major Challenge*

San Francisco, Calif. — Most consumer Internet startups focus on gaining funding, accessing top talent, or providing Google-esque perks, but a Bay Area automated proofreading company is navigating a different set of issues.

“I am terrified to send emails,” said a team member at “Because I work with a company dedicated to improving written communication, all of my email is subject to intense scrutiny.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happily Ever After, or Not: The Influence of Mother Goose

May 1 is Mother Goose Day, established in 1987 by Gloria T. Delamar upon the publication of her book, Mother Goose; From Nursery to Literature.

The day is a time for reflecting on fairy tales, acting them out, making and wearing Mother Goose costumes, or reading fairy tales aloud. It also could be a time to consider how much these stories have influenced modern writing. Of course, this includes works such as Gregory Maguire’s Wicked series, based on L.

Monday, August 27, 2012

7 Irish Proverbs Adopted Into Pop Culture

When Saint Patrick’s Day rolls around, everyone embraces a little Irish spirit. Sporting shamrocks and shillelaghs and wearing a bit o’ green, friends come together to celebrate this most Celtic tradition — and no one celebrates like the Irish!

Given the enthusiasm with which America endorses this holiday, perhaps it’s no surprise that Irish culture has blended so happily with American pop culture.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Writing in the Voice of Me

Guest post from Tilia Klebenov Jacobs 

“My book is about, um, me.  Is that okay?”

This is the question I get most often when I teach novel-writing classes.  And I say go for it, because every novelist is a memoirist and every memoirist is a novelist.  Even the most earnest nonfiction writer must of necessity apply a little fiction here and there, if only because she probably wasn’t taking notes on that watershed conversation thirty years ago.  By contrast, the novelist can create a completely fictional character, but as often as not writes about himself.  Far from being a cop-out, this can add richness to one’s prose.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Confusing Words: Versus vs. Verses


meaning against (especially in sports and legal use); as opposed to, in contrast to. (Often abbreviated as vs.) For example:

The rivalry of the Green Monkeys versus the Blue Barracudas has raged for years.
I’m weighing the pros and cons of the white-and-gold dress versus the blue-and-black dress.


meaning a kind of writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme; small sections of the Jewish or Christian Bible; several similar units of a song.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Grammar Basics: When to Use I or Me?

Mistakes with objective pronouns often occur when we have to choose between you and me and you and I. Because you is the same in both the subjective and the objective case, people get confused about I and me. The way to check this is to remove the second-person pronoun.

When he’s finished reading the book, he’ll give it to you or I.

If the sentence read “…he’ll give it to I,” we would know that “I” is wrong.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

7 Star Wars Leadership Lessons

May the Fourth be with you!

Today may be a day dedicated to puns, fandom, and a galaxy far, far away, but it probably doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly learned a Jedi mind trick to keep your manager from asking for that project, presentation, or report. If you’re like me, you’re trapped at work, wishing you could be cosplaying The Force Awakens with your family or baking an R2-D2 cake.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Verb Tenses–Grammar Rules

Verbs come in three tenses: past, present, and future. The past is used to describe things that have already happened (e.g., earlier in the day, yesterday, last week, three years ago). The present tense is used to describe things that are happening right now, or things that are continuous. The future tense describes things that have yet to happen (e.g., later, tomorrow, next week, next year, three years from now).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Treasure Doving? The Past Tense of Dive

Many folks’ grammar abilities take a nosedive when it comes to this verb. After this article, that will all be in the past. But does that mean your grammar abilities nosedived, or nosedove?

Dive on in to get the details on the difference between dived and dove.

What it means and how it conjugates

To dive is an verb meaning: To swim under water To jump into water head-first To descend sharply or steeply Or, figuratively: To undertake with enthusiasm, or to plunge into a subject, question, business, etc.

Friday, August 10, 2012

5 Reasons to Have Someone Else Proof Your Resume

Guest Post from Brie Weiler Reynolds

It’s tempting, especially for those in writing professions, to assume you can proofread your own resume just as well as anyone else. After all, you know your work history, the message you’re trying to convey to employers, and how you want to convey yourself, right? There are, however, some very good reasons to have someone else proof your resume.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

6 Commonly Misheard Song Lyrics

You know that embarrassing moment when you’re part of a bar sing-along, and as you confidently wail gibberish lyrics to a classic song, the other patrons turn to look at and silently judge you for being totally clueless? Misheard lyrics, while hilarious, are a sure way to lose your credibility as a music lover. Help prevent a friend or even yourself from ruining a sing-along to a classic hit by finally learning the real lyrics to these often misquoted hits.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Comma Before Too: When Do You Use It?

You’ve likely read sentences in which there was a comma before too, but is this correct usage? Well, it depends on the intention of the writer. When using the word too, you only need to use a comma before it for emphasis. According to The Chicago Manual of Style, a comma before too should be used only to note an abrupt shift in thought. When the too comes in the middle of a sentence, emphasis is almost always intended since it interrupts the natural flow of the sentence.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Carmel vs. Caramel: Which Is Correct?

Generally, “caramel” is defined as a chewy, light-brown candy made from butter, sugar, and milk or cream. For example: I love eating caramels because they are soft and chewy. In contrast, “Carmel,” is used as a proper noun, and it is a popular beach town in California, known as Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Carmel and caramel are not different spellings of the same word. Caramel is the correct spelling if you’re talking about food or colors.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Improving Your Writing Will Improve Your Life

Everyone wants a little taste of the good life, but it’s often difficult to figure out just how to cook it up and savor it. After all, the recipe for success can be more complex than the method behind a Yotam Ottolenghi vegetable dish.

The first challenge, naturally, is identifying the right ingredients. And unless you think the key to a better existence merely opens the door to a Ferrari, you’re most likely part of the crowd that agrees that health, peace of mind, and happiness are critical components.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

5 Things Admissions Officers Look For in an Application Essay

By David at

Within your college application, your personal statement is your one opportunity for the admissions officer to “meet you”, to visualize the person behind the numbers. While no essay can save an unqualified application, an outstanding essay can push an otherwise mediocre application into the “yes” pile.

However, writing a good application essay is hard. Many students write essays that are too cliché or too shallow; others write essays that are impersonal and uninformative; some are even unfortunate enough to write essays that cause their own rejection.