Few people write about writing with the clarity, energy and lyricism that Stephen Fry does. In a post on his blog, he sets out why you should avoid being pedantic about language and instead embrace all it has to offer.

Here’s one passage I particularly enjoyed:

There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love-letters, novels and stories it seems. They whip out their Sharpies and take away and add apostrophes from public signs, shake their heads at prepositions which end sentences and mutter at split infinitives and misspellings, but do they bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy euphoric bliss? Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle those they talk to? Do they? I doubt it.”

What a wonderful way of making a very important point. Accuracy is important, especially if you’re writing in business. But it shouldn’t be the first thing you think about.

You should always try and use the power of language to excite and engage the people reading your words. Then, when you’ve done that you can check your spelling, punctuation and grammar.

From notebook

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