Language: 'An instinctive tendency to acquire an art' (Charles Darwin)
The masterclass started with a spelling test that majority of the participants would have barely passed had a grading system been applied. I take pride in my ability to spell, but on that night, I realised I was just as bad as those who rely on a spellcheck function.
I thought it was a clever tactic by the speaker to remind me that I have to brush up on my technical writing skills. I believe that being overly technical gets in the way of creativity, but it always helps to review our knowledge as the English language keeps evolving.
I signed up for the Guardian's masterclass called 'How to Use Grammar' recently in my bid to be more confident about my usage, syntax, and punctuation.
It was conducted by David Marsh, production editor of the Guardian. He edits the Guardian style guide; the Guardian's Mind your language blog; and the @guardianstyle Twitter feed. The veteran journalist--nearly 40 years in the business--is an external examiner at Sheffield University, where he also runs a masterclass in subediting for students of MA Print Journalism course. His book, 'For Who the Bell Tolls: One Man's Quest for Grammatical Perfection', was recently released. I bought one of course and had it signed by him.
I won't go on and on about the details of his talk; instead, I will share with you the highlight of what I learned on the night. Some of you may have known it for awhile; some of you may not. One thing is guaranteed though: all of us will learn or relearn a thing or two.
During the customary Q&A, a participant asked: what makes a good writer?
Mr Marsh pointed out the sheet of paper included in our information pack. It is entitled '10 tips for clear communication', which according to him, where all good writing starts from. Go on, go through it and pin it at your work station.
Let's all do our best to mind our grammar.
Happy blogging, writing, and reading everyone!