A while back, a Facebook friend put up a quotation attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” Franklin was quite the quotemeister, but this one smelled fishy. For one thing, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about pursuing happiness. That’s in the Declaration … More Don’t trust, just verify
Last time out, I included a line that a woman used to describe her fat-but-graceful dance partner: “It was like floating in the arms of a huge doughnut.” That’s a simile, saying that one thing is like something very different. Obviously she wasn’t waltzing with a doughnut, but she got across the sense of someone … More As satisfying as a well-written simile
The more precise you are when you describe something, the easier it will be for your readers to understand you. As simple as that sounds, precision can be hard. For one thing, we know exactly what we mean when we use a word, so it it may feel like we’re being precise enough. The poor readers, … More How tall is tall?
When you need more information than you have in your head, and you can’t find it in a book or an article, that probably means you need to interview someone. There are a lot of ways to approach an interview. One of the worst is to sit in front of your interview subject, stare at a … More Put away the clipboard
If you write enough words, eventually somebody will get upset with you. If they get really angry, they might sue you. If you were sloppy in your writing, they might even win. One way to keep from getting into trouble is to make sure you don’t state something as a fact unless you are sure … More An alleged explanation
How would you like to drive through a town where each street had its own set of traffic signals? All of the stop signs would say “STOP” in big letters, but sometimes the letters would be white on a red background, and at other times they’d be yellow on a blue background. Or black on … More Traffic signals