OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
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.
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