Do you want to write a blog?

All this blogging is a lot of effort, so I asked earlier on Twitter if anyone wanted to do a guest post (if you replied, I’ll get back to you). However, those who want to will need to be able to write at least moderately well. As I do proofing for The Gooner magazine (not the website, before you point out mistakes on that, and not everything in the magazine before anyone finds an error there) I see a lot of examples of poor writing and in particular the mixing up of words that mean different things but often sound or look similar. Also I use Twitter, where there is quite a lot of poor grammar and more examples of confusion. Without wishing to sound like a know-all (too late, huh?), below are some words that it would be really helpful if everyone on Twitter knew, and even more helpful for anyone wanting to write a blog post for me. (This is part of the Style Guide that I wrote for writers and the other proofers of The Gooner.)

(If you want to do a post for this blog, then please email any piece you would like me to consider to jmw1933@gmail.com. Thanks.)

Accept/except eg I accept Spurs are the best team in north London – except for Arsenal
Adverse/averse Adverse means bad, eg adverse weather conditions. Averse means to not like.
Affect/effect To affect means to have an effect on (“Podolski’s goals will affect the result” = “Podolski’s goals will have an effect on the result”). To effect means to bring about, to accomplish – in other words to be effective.
Amount/number An amount is part of one thing; a number indicates more than one: eg Henry covered a large amount of the pitch, and scored a large number of goals (he did not score a large amount of goals).
Bare/bear ‘Bare’ means naked or on display (you bare your soul, or your body). ‘Bear’ is a verb similar to ‘carry’ (“Fabianski bears the responsibility for many goals”), or a large furry animal.
Climbs/climes ‘Climes’ is slang for ‘climate’. ‘Foreign climes’ are where Arsenal players usually come from. Only mountaineers come from foreign climbs.
Exercise/exorcise Humans exercise; ghosts and demons are exorcised.
Hear, hear “Hear, hear” roughly means, “Well said,” as in, “I hear what you’re saying.” “Here, here” means nothing.
Its/it’s “Its” is possessive, ie indicates that something belongs to something or someone else. It does not have an apostrophe, eg My dog wipes its backside on a Spurs shirt.
“It’s” means “it is” or “it has”. It has an apostrophe, eg It’s time Redknapp shut up; it’s been a crap year for Spurs.
Have/of These are sometimes confused in such sentences as, “I would have thought Spurs would lose to Carlisle,” which should not be, “I would of thought . . .”
Less/fewer The rule is: “less of one, fewer of many.” eg Defoe is less popular than Walcott. (There is one Walcott.) Defoe scores fewer goals than Walcott. (Walcott scores many goals – or at least more than one.)
Loose/lose Loose is the opposite of tight; lose is what Spurs do towards the end of the season
Mooted/muted Muted means quiet (first syllable pronounced ‘mew’). Mooted means suggested (it rhymes with hooted).
Off of These words do not belong together, eg “Ramsey got the ball off of Sagna is wrong. Say: “Ramsey got the ball from Sagna.”
Peek/peak Peek means look; mountains have peaks, seasons have peaks and troughs.
There/they’re/their “There” is a location; “they’re” means “they are”; “their” means “belonging to them”.
Wander/wonder Both can be verbs, but wandering is a physical activity (eg Lampard wanders aimlessly all over the pitch) and wondering is in your head (I wonder if Spurs will ever win the Premier League?).
Whose/who’s“Whose” means belonging to someone (Henry, whose goal tally is impressive); “who’s” means “who is” (Diaby, who’s always injured) or “who has” (Denilson, who’s never been good enough).
Your/you’re “Your” is possessive (your team, your goal, etc); “you’re” means “you are” (“Heskey, you’re rubbish”).

If you’ve got other examples I have missed, please let me know (loose/lose already added from a comment.)

Twitter: @AngryOfN5

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38 thoughts on “Do you want to write a blog?

      • “If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.”

        Grammar signifies more than just a person’s ability to remember high school English. I’ve found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling parts.

  1. I read the above list as blindingly obvious. It’s a very sad indictment of today’s education standards that you need to put a glossary up. How a lot of people choose to speak and write, in this age, really is quite depressing. I wish I had the time to be able to write a blog, in the mean time I’ll keep enjoying reading your efforts.

  2. Please can you add Loose/Lose to your list? It would help to prevent my head and the brick wall from meeting so frequently.

  3. You’re fighting a losing battle mate, succinct and accurate writing on the internet is pretty much dead, if it ever lived. There are those who appreciate the language and the things you can do but for most it is merely communicative; being understood is the only motivation.

  4. Hmm, got to agree that mixing that lot up is fairly grating. In some contexts your examples are not strictly correct (eg an amount can be a number) but in the examples given you are correct.
    I also particularly dislike the spoken inacuracies of some eg saying ‘somethink’ instead of ‘something’.

  5. This is a fantastic post! Although a real shame that English lessons no longer take place in school. Without a twitter account how would one submit their interest in writting a blog?

  6. good blog-really useful.

    glad you included the very annoying “would/could/should of” error–happens a lot. It’s unfair of me but every time I see someone do it I immediately think “go back to school, moron”.

    It’s “w/c/should HAVE” people.

  7. It’s all about speed. Speed text or T9 on mobile phones encourages abbreviation and as every kid in the country owns one most messages are now three digit phonetically based sound bites. As for writing a blog I would like to give it a try , what is the procedure ?

  8. Finely written articles with skilful use of grammar and vocabulary may be rare and beautiful. However, blogging and other new technological means of mass communication is designed so that everybody can have the opportunity of registering their opinions. Much of the population would be excluded if only those in possession of the requisite grammatical and linguistic skills were allowed to post their thoughts. As such, one should forgive those that may not be as gifted at writing as you, it does not necessarily mean that their opinions are not valid. I sympathise with your frustration with this regard but please do not blame those individuals who are brave enough to attempt broadcasting their thoughts despite being grammatically challenged. I would certainly not regard myself as a numbskull but without spell checking tools anything I write would be full of mistakes. Getting my English ‘O’ level was one the hardest things I ever did, I was fortunate that my spelling was not significantly marked down when I took my BSc and MSc.
    Incidentally, I wouldn’t mind a go at blogging.

  9. I once use to run a bar in Latin America, which was frequented by both Brits and our distant American cousins. For the European Championships (2002 I think it was), we put up a translation board, not so dissimilar to the above. Soccer = Football; Give-and-go = one-two, etc. We asked for contributions based on the US commentary that we were unfortunately subjected to. By the end of the tournament, we had about sixty. The strangest one was the Draw, Tie, Match, Game usage, which I have still not really got my head round. Listen to the way US and UK football fans use those four terms: it’s so completely different!

  10. One piece of “footballer speak” that seems to be drifting into blogs is the infuriating use of them instead of those! While I’m about it! “Pacifically” instead of “specifically”

  11. Thanks for the lecture. I’m willing to give it a try and most importantly,thanks for the opportunity you’ve given to try do something about arsenal.

  12. Grammar isn’t dead, not while the anally retentive such as ourselves see fit to police it. We number many, it appears.

    I would write a blog, but the acerbity of my wit and my impeccable command of syntax would only frighten the uneducated. So I sit on my arse reading john cross instead.

  13. Your write-up is really loaded. I’m very sure that with such corrective measure put in place, any intending blogger will improve in his/her write-ups. I therefore indicate my willingness to blog for you.

    • I can tell people how to write something close to correctly, but I can’t make them interesting. If you have something both correct and interesting, then email to the address in the post, please.

  14. I’d like to talk to you about the possibility of translating posts in any of the Arsenal blogs you manage. See I’m from Ecuador and there’s a lots of Arsenal fans in Latin America. Here’s my twitter account if you’d like to exchange DMs: @aandrescedeno. You already have my email.

    • I only do this blog. If you want to translate any posts then please ask. I don’t have any objection in principle as long as you always give proper credit and link back to the source.

    • If you want to offer something for posting on this blog please email it to the address in the blog post. It must be original, not previously published elsewhere.

      If you want to write for The Gooner, email the editor with some details of the subject or a completed piece: gooner.ed@gmail.com

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