Seven months into COVID-19 and I am so lucky to be unaffected. I have three friends — all young and responsible — who have contracted the disease and thankfully survived. None of them so far have had to be hospitalized. …


What now?

Coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown, distance, gloves, no restaurants, weight gain. . . . I am trying to work from home but work has dried up. Will it always be like this? I will be alive, sure, I will survive the illness if I get it most likely, but what then? What now?


President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with his advisors. h/t Pete Souza

How to even approach the decision about what form of English to use? Here’s some material about a few of the differences among English versions and secondly, what to consider for your company’s English language choices — with a shameless plug for American English.

It must be said upfront what…


How to use CHANCE properly — and how to remember it

During a wonderful presentation and workshop, I heard a business owner pronounce words wrong, and I thought to myself “I can make a difference here.” Here is a cheat sheet for pronouncing the following words that are commonly mispronounced by Dutch speakers when they speak English. …


This is how we learn English hacks??! Photo by Maria Lindsey Multimedia Creator

It’s winter and some of us need a soothing pastime that allows us to avoid going outside in the lousy weather but still gives us something productive to do. What do I do? Think about weird things in English and how can I help people writing in English.

Today I…


Sign on a door in my city

Does good translating always matter, in every single piece of written text? For that matter, do good spelling and punctuation, correct vocabulary, clear style matter all the time? Why should that sign catch my attention?

It’s not an idle question to me since I deal in words. Words matter because…


American Book Center in Amsterdam

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

Read good books

That’s where we learn to string sentences and phrases together so…


Nuance. When choosing a word, you might have many choices; but there will likely be a difference between even the closest two that is hard to pin down but is nonetheless real. And vital to what you are trying to convey.

I was reflecting on the words hurt and pain…


I work mostly with American English, meaning I use Merriam-Webster’s dictionary for spelling and one of the top style guides for American English, The Chicago Manual of Style, when I copyedit texts.

But I occasionally find myself dealing with a text that a client prefers be in British English, and…


Translation or better?

I have been gone and now I am back. You will see stuff I posted in 2016 and then nothing, until now. Sorry for disappearing but you know how life is. At any rate, I hope we can accompany each other from here.

Words in English and how people use them or translate them are my passion. I am cursed; no mistake escapes me, no typo slips by me (except my own occasionally). But I can use that to make other people able to write in English which is deeply satisfying.

Speaking of translating, this is one of my favorites. Not only does the message speak directly to Dutch readers, but it conveys the same message in English without actually translating the words. That rocks. Is it a translation or something better?

Have a wonderful day.

Carrie Ballard

I love to support writers and translators. Writing in good English makes stuff work better. Schrijf met plezier in het Engels.

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