About that ‘dog in the bin’ thing…

Okay, do you remember that Guardian article I was waving about a few days ago?

The Guardian: ten everyday grammar mistakes

Yeah, that one. Well, along with the article there was a picture…


Yup, that’s the one.

I’ve written the piece, patted myself on the back, gone out, got drunk, come back, gone to sleep… then woke up in the middle of the night screaming, “Christ on a bike! It’s right!”

I’d remembered one of those frayed and faded grammar rules that I picked up in university, but never found a reference to say whether it was real or not. Y’see I think that poster is correct.

As far as I remember the rule goes something like this: the pronoun (in this case ‘it’) refers to the nearest noun (in this case… ‘poo’) which is the  antecedant of the pronoun. (Don’t take my word for it. Check with Grammar Girl.)

But before sticking slavishly to the rules, remember that your writing has two aims:

  1. clarity
  2. not to get laughed at for the wrong reasons.


The Guardian: ten everyday grammar mistakes

The Guardian, Britian’s defender of all things grammarly, is running a piece that’s well worth reading, even if you know everything there is to know about grammar… like what I don’t.

Picture by @fifi3chui

As well as telling you what you can’t do, the article also tells you what you can get away with, which is always helpful.

And speaking of commas…

I came across a great article in the Times a few years back. It was behind a paywall then but now it’s available for us freeloaders to see.

Giles Whittell wrote a brilliant article on why we should be looking carefully at our use commas, and he demonstrates this by writing the whole piece – without a comma.

A brave man. Here is it is.