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February 2012
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April 2012

March 2012

However, don't stop.

Aparently, there's a "rule" that you shouldn't start a sentence with however, which is as clearly nonsense as the one which says you shouldn't start a sentence with but. As I was unpicking in the context of that bizarre stuff that gets peddled about not using was, this is typical of the rubbish that gets spouted by those who teach rules not by what's actually going on, but by spotting "signals" which are a possible symptom of something not-right, not the cause of it. For a start, there are plenty of times when starting a sentence with 'however' is entirely,... Read more →

Nothing but the truth

One of the good things about teaching creative writing for the Open University is that I have permanently at my elbow one of the best and most comprehensive writing-courses-in-a-book, Linda Anderson and Derek Neale's Creative Writing, which is the coursebook for A215. But it was a student who mentioned something that the poet W. N. Herbert says, in his chapter on "Theme": There may be a set of subjects we write about which, on examination, share an underlying theme. Like voice, this is better discovered than imposed, but this does not preclude the search. The attempt to address large issues... Read more →