E not A

September 17, 2010

The Morning Ireland interview this week with An Taoiseach made headlines all over the world, for all the wrong reasons.

I don’t want to get into the rights and wrongs of what he did or said or, indeed, what anyone tweeted.

The commentary online was immediate and interesting but it also led me to various agonised moments, silently screaming ‘arggghhh’ at the screen.

Spelling matters, to me anyway.

I would like to point out that his name is Cowen, not Cowan. Cowen.


Commas and capitals and apostrophes, oh my

July 28, 2010

I’m a stickler for grammar and spelling, despite the advent of the digital age. My text messages are usually made up of full sentences and feature punctuation and phrases. I’d use paragraphs if I could.

I’ve been thinking lately about my favourite infractions, the ones that make me dig my fingernails into the palms of my hands, and I shortlisted these five.

1. Endless sentences that go on for quite a long time and as well as rambling and repeating themselves seem averse to ever using a phrase or even a comma and the thoughts of splitting into two or more sentences is just to much to bear and dear God will it ever end?

2. How difficult is it to remember to use a capital when writing about yourself in the first person – i’m really irked by this one and i think it’s getting more common so i despair.

3. In the same vein, please think about a capital letter for proper nouns, words like Kilkenny and Mary don’t look right when they are cast as kilkenny or mary.


5. Its particularly aggravating when someone goes to the trouble of writing a sentence, an email, a report and can’t be bothered to put the apostrophe in it’s correct place. Added to that, the good old greengrocer’s apostrophe deserves a mention. I particularly like it when a company commissions a sign for their shop front and the errant apostrophe is dancing there for ever more: Paddys Potato’s Place indeed.

The incredible hides in the Irish Writers’ Centre

June 14, 2010

I got an email from the Irish Writers’ Centre this morning to say that they’ve been given a grant by the Arts Council under their Touring and Dissemination scheme. The email continues:

“The grant of €27,000 will enable us to mount readings at the Writers’ Centre during the coming autumn and then take them to venues around the country. Most of the money will go towards the reading fees and expenses of the writers involved, but there will also be an element for administration and promotion, so that a core activity of the Centre will now be properly funded. The readings are pitched at promoting prose literature, one of our dedicated activities, and will enable the Centre to develop a countrywide network of collaborators and associates. We are heartened by this endorsement by the Arts Council and the approval it implies of the direction the Irish Writers’ Centre has taken over the past year. It is an important step in our re-instatement as an institution that should be funded from the public purse, and a cause for celebration among the wide range of our voluntary workers, supporters, and the literary community.”

This is great news for the Centre. I did a creative writing course there in late 2004 and went on to publish some stories and poems in a book for charity with some of the people in the group. I had a look online this morning and it’s still out there.