Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Merriam Webster adds 455 New Words

English, the ultimate mongrel language, is always evolving. And word geek that I am, whenever new words are added to the dictionary I’m fascinated and excited. How about you? For example joining the party: whataboutism, amirite, digital nomad, and dad bod.   Many words reflect contemporary circumstances such as long COVID, super-spreader, and vaccine passport. There’s also […]

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Words Matter

Writers need to understand the nuances of language, search out fresh expressions, and continually refresh their vocabularies. For me, language is one of the greatest joys of the writing life.  It’s hardly surprising when last month Merriam-Webster declared pandemic as the word of the year.  As if 2020 hadn’t already asked a lot of us. […]

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A Guide to Using Semi-Colons

In my work I see writers struggle with certain punctuation marks again and again. The culprits are semi-colons :, em dashes—, and the ubiquitous comma ,. Like me don’t you wonder who the heck came up with all these rules? But all grousing aside, they’re brilliant little traffic signs and help move readers through text. […]

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11 Authors on Their One-Word Titles

Book titles are hard. They need to be memorable, indicate the genre or what the book is about, create buzz, and have pizzazz. The title is likely the most important marketing decision you’ll make. And then there are one-word titles which might be the hardest ones to get just right. If you’re considering a one-word […]

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