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My pet hates 15 – Just don’t ramp me up

An obscure expression has crept into general parlance and seems to be replacing perfectly adequate words for no reason whatsoever. I’m referring to ramp up as in bolster, strengthen or increase. When did two words become preferable to one?
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British civil servants told to write proper English

The British Department for Transport has produced a guide that lists grammatical no-no’s for officials, according to newspaper reports. The instructions detail linguistic errors in official documents that annoy Justine Greening, the recently appointed Transport Secretary. I do welcome this initiative!
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Writing tip 15 – Beware of the spell-check

Last week I wrote about a survey that said separate is the most misspelled word in the English language, at least in Britain. Two out of three in the survey admitted that using spell-check on computers had made them lazy when writing letters or notes by hand. Here I must sound a word of warning.

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Writing tip 14 – Want to look stupid? Misspell a word or two

Did you know that separate is the most misspelled word in English? This appears to be the case, at least in Britain, a survey shows. You won’t earn any points for spelling words correctly, but get it wrong a few times and your text will lose credibility.
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Writing tip 13 – U.S. and UK – separated by the same language

George Bernard Shaw apparently once described Britain and the United States as two countries separated by a common language. Of course, many things have different names in U.S. versus British English, for example sidewalk to an American is a pavement to a Brit. Spelling also differs many times, such as color and colour, but the problem arises when the parties use words that mean quite different things!
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My pet hates 14 – leaving out a crucial word to save space

There is a trend in writing, no doubt started on the Internet, to use incomplete sentences to confirm that an order has been dispatched, an installation has been completed or a product launched.
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Writing tip 12 – was your grandmother a boy?

There is a common mistake in writing that can best be described by this hilarious generic example: “As a boy, my grandmother used to read to me.” Surely, your grandmother was not a boy, but that is how it comes across.
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