Constant Comment

Do you long for the company of other writers? Consider joining a writers retreat, like the ones I lead in Vermont or Hawaii. My books spring from a curiosity about English and a desire to understand how writing makes us laugh, well up with tears, or just say “ahhhh.” This site shares tips and resources, insights and inspiration—all in the interest of encouraging wicked good prose. And this blog brings you boneheaded errors and brilliant passages, random thoughts and ruminations. Let’s plunge into the peculiarities of prose.... More posts >>

Whither Latin and Greek plurals?

English grammar evolves with majestic disregard for the susceptibilities of classical scholars,” Philip Howard wrote in his 1978 book Weasel Words. So, apparently, do the rules for pluralizing words that have come to us from Latin and Greek.

For many writers and editors, knowing these rules is a point of pride. But nowadays the rules that exist threaten to disregard, or at least confound, everyone’s “susceptibilities.”

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I may not be a Prius, but I am a hybrid

I am getting tired of keynote speeches at writers conferences (like ones I heard in 2014) that go for bombast and ignore the merits of traditional publishing. Sometimes I want to say to speakers who overlook the tremendous value that remains for writers who land a contract with a traditional publisher, “Thou doth protest too much.”

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