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Posted in January 2017

What makes a writer a writer? Posted on 9 January 2017 by James Cowan in Writing

Actually, I sometimes think, it would be easier to write this the other way round. What is not a qualification for the title of "writer"? But first, definition: for the purpose of this article, I define a writer as someone who is creating a manuscript to be read by other people, many of them strangers. This means "not just by family"! To start with the blindingly obvious, having access to a word-processing package is not a qualification. Rather like always using GPS to navigate instead of ... Read more

Troublesome words 3 Posted on 19 January 2017 by James Cowan in Troublesome words

More random words often misused, abused and generally causing confusion – among readers as well as writers! "Partake" and "participate" are a wonderful pair. Partake is an interesting word in its own right – and not because it is often mistaken with another similar word. "Partake" never means "to take part", even though it sounds as if it should. It used to mean to "eat", and it still does when it is used followed by "of", or by a full stop ("He partakes ... Read more

Dictating to your computer Posted on 29 January 2017 by James Cowan in Automation; Writing

I have mentioned dictation software a few times in my blogs on Troublesome Words, having had limited experience of its use. For purposes of this post, I went back and tried again, with better results than I had anticipated. There is quite a lot of reasonable dictation software around, also sometimes called "voice [or speech] recognition" software. There is even free software in Windows, which I have found to be as good as a quite expensive offering. And it didn't need ... Read more

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