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Reg Gothard - "Yonder Pedant"

Month – November 2015

Homophones 2 – Your

This is the second in a series of short pieces on homophones. (In case you’re puzzled by that word, it has nothing to do with telephones that all look the same.) Your and You’re (There’s also “Yore”) It’s difficult to make “your” and “you’re” sound different in most accents. However, as with most other homophones, […]

The Importance of Writing Correctly

The more permanent a piece of writing is expected to be, the more important it is that it be error-free. The Post-it® on your fridge doesn’t have to contain correctly-formed English (although some smart-alec might point any shortcomings out to you). At the other end of the spectrum, artifacts such as the Bible, the American […]

Creating Whitespace in MS Word

Evolution and the Infinite Number of Monkeys Theory When word processing programs like Microsoft Word came along, it made typing pools all-but obsolete and placed the creation of documents literally at the fingertips of document authors. True story – I wrote a script for a pantomime in the 1980s and typed it into a programming […]

Word of the Year – The Winner Is…

Today’s post is an article I wrote for my creative writing website. But because it struck me as relevant to technical writing too (if only to warn people not to use emoticons or emoji when writing Performance Reviews or “Workforce Adjustment Notifications”), I decided to include a link here. Happy Friday reading!

Homophones 1: There

This is the first in a series of short pieces on homophones. (In case you’re puzzled by that word, it has nothing to do with telephones that all look the same.) There, They’re and Their In most accents, these three words sound near enough to identical to make them homophones. However, when written, their not […]

As You So, So You Shall Reap

So; are you one of those people who hate to hear a sentence start with the word “so”? Or are you someone who abhors the use of “so” as an intensifier? (“Thank you so much.”) Or perhaps you’re still parroting the law laid down by your language teacher that sentences should not start with a […]

Brevity, Clarity, Civility

Although the title of today’s piece sounds like a parody of the French national motto, it’s actually about balance; balance between being brief (concise), being clear, and being civil or polite. It’s reasonably well known that emails and texts can be misinterpreted. It’s also reasonably well known that a good deal of the underlying problem […]


Welcome to the no-cheat-device-installed world of Reg Gothard’s writing. As of Fall 2017, I have decided to put this website into hibernation. Too many other opportunities demand my time, and so I’m taking a calculated risk by halting my activity on this website. I continue to monitor it, and will respond to all genuine commentary […]

AIMAs (Clue: Abbreviations)

Abbreviations, Initialisms, Mnemonics and Acronyms In a world where texting, whatsapping, and tweeting (to name but a few) are the preferred communication media of so many people, abbreviations have multiplied like there’s an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of cellphones in an infinite number of Scrabble factories pumping the things out. While […]

Readability Scores

One of the things that surprised me when I trained to be a Technical Writer was the tutor’s assertion that we write to a grade eight level. (For those outside of North America, grade eight students are roughly 14 years old.) We were then pointed at the readability measurement feature of MS Word. The readability […]

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