‘Commaphobes’ and ‘Commaphiles’: grammar and meaning-making

The university I am affiliated to recently undertook a Grammarly trial, to see whether it would be worth investing in a campus license for all staff and students. I reluctantly agreed to take part. Reluctantly, because one of my job hats is a copyediting and proofreading hat, and I was pretty sure my grammar was … Continue reading ‘Commaphobes’ and ‘Commaphiles’: grammar and meaning-making

Creating a coherent text: ‘sign-posting’ your argument

Readers of this blog may know that a big part of my work-life is reading and commenting constructively on other people's writing - PhD scholars, postdoctoral fellows, peers. I spend hours each year immersed in people's words, ideas, arguments and theses. And, while this work is difficult, and can be really draining of my own … Continue reading Creating a coherent text: ‘sign-posting’ your argument

Academic writing: making (some) sense of a complex ‘practice of mystery’

This is a second post linked to my own insights about academic writing at postgraduate and postdoctoral level, gleaned from working with a range of student and early career writers over the last few years. This one tackles a tricky topic: the aspects of writing that can be knowable and teachable, and those that are … Continue reading Academic writing: making (some) sense of a complex ‘practice of mystery’

On the use of transition words and phrases in your writing

Words can be magical tools for creating meaning and relating ideas. The right tools can transform your writing from basically getting the job done, to being elegant, well-crafted and persuasive. One of these tools - a fairly misunderstood and under-rated one in my view - is transition words or phrases. Transition words/phrases are those which … Continue reading On the use of transition words and phrases in your writing