As writers, it is our responsibility to know about grammar, language and words in general. Some people love wading in this stuff and Jesse K is one of them. Today we talk about the Joy of English!
Jesse “Kay” Karjalainen is a writer, journalist, sub-editor and fashion photographer. He’s the author of The Joy of English: 100 conversations about language. [Video below]
In the interview you will learn:
- How Jesse discovered a love for all things language and a bit about his background.
- On why language and grammar aren’t boring! The book is more about English usage and how to improve it, not just grammar. It’s like when you buy a computer for someone, you don’t buy them a book on programming, you buy them a book on how to do email & surf etc. So the book is about usage and not the nuts & bolts.
- On the word ‘very’ and over-use of it. When you should use ‘very’ and when you shouldn’t
- Can you use ‘And’ or ‘But’ to start a sentence?
- On the model sentence and sentence fragments. The challenge of describing grammar without using grammatical language.
- Active writing and breaking the cycle
- Ideally, you should write without commas. More than 2 commas needs editing. I mention Umberto Eco’s latest book, The Prague Cemetery which has the longest opening sentence you can imagine. Are long sentences ever acceptable? There’s acceptance and there’s taste in writing.
- Writing is about communication. It’s important that it’s enjoyable and not difficult for the reader.
- On writing in British English vs American English. Some of the differences and how to decide which to use.
- Some things that annoy us both
- On tenses and mixing them up in writing.
- On dialogue vs ‘proper’ english – so people say I’d rather than I would – this is contraction and is common in speech. Let’s have coffee vs Let us have coffee. Consistency is key.
The Joy of English is available at all online bookstores & local stores in the UK. You can find more information at TheJoyOfEnglish.com