This came up twice today.  “Alan, it’s a Catch 23 situation.”“Alan, it’s Catch 22 situation.” “He’s gone and upset the apple-tart.”“He’s gone and upset the apple cart.” “Now is as good a time as many…” “Now is as good a time as any…” “The new Sky paper view.” “The new Sky pay per view.” “… like walking through a mindfield.” “…like walking through a minefield.”  “There’s … Continue reading Malapropisms

Basic errors you can learn to eliminate

• Was = Only ONE thing• Were = plural (more than one thing) • Don’t begin a sentence with “And”, “So”, “Well” or “Also”. • Avoid repetition • Avoid “then” • Avoid beginning sentences with “The”, “A”, “An”, “Another”…Try to use “If” or the gerund (“-ing”) • Avoid saying “Sort of” or “In a way”. They make your writing sound vague. The bus was late. … Continue reading Basic errors you can learn to eliminate

Higher – Essay Problems

From today’s class… Spelling Losing, Disapprove, Tries, A lot, Immediate, Possessed, Appropriate, Affection, Effect, Affected, Wonder, Hindley, Woman, Niece, Honourable, Jealous, Aggressive, Okay, 1950s, Phallic, Specifically, Subtly, Foreshadowing, Unrequited, infinite, Supposedly, Peculiar, Immigrants Common Errors The Devil’s Wife is not a sonnet – it is a poem composed of five sections, one of which is a sonnet The lighting of Eddie’s cigar by Catherine is … Continue reading Higher – Essay Problems

Higher Syntax and Grammar

A Sentence A sentence is a group of words which contains a verb and makes complete sense.It may be a statement, a question, an exclamation or a command. “John is sitting down.”“Is John sitting down?”“John is sitting down!”“Sit down, John.” The subject is the topic being discussed.The predicate is what is said about the subject and contains the verb of the sentence. The dog (subject) … Continue reading Higher Syntax and Grammar

Higher – Points of Style

Very Avoid the use of very . It is overused. Everything is very interesting, very striking, very difficult, etc. etc. and in the end, this becomes very, very boring indeed. Overused phrases Another overused phrase is ‘It is very interesting to note that …’ and similar phrases. Observe the following sentence with and without the phrase: ‘[It is very interesting to notice how] Hardy sets … Continue reading Higher – Points of Style


Learning the functions of the punctuation marks which follow should not take long as a lot of it is common sense. Secure understanding of this will mean you can answer Analysis or Structure Questions in Close Reading with greater confidence and so score full marks. The CommaThe comma is always an indication of a brief pause in speech. The reason for the pause may be … Continue reading Punctuation