Weird Grammar: “Word Crimes” video

This song will appeal to anyone who has ever studied, worked or simply loves languages, especially English.

Weird Al Yankovic’s song “Word Crimes”


Have a lovely day!


Semicolon; where art thou?

The semicolon has an identity crisis, followed by a midlife crisis, and ending in a burnout; made redundant by the WWW. He is an ambiguous being, both the end or a continuation yet at the same time not quite being both or either (or was it aither?). The love child of a full stop and a comma. It is no wonder this strange little marking is the bane of many an existence. How the do you use it, why not use a comma or a full stop instead? And that is indeed what has happened: the semicolon has slowly,or quickly depending on whether you count time in internet years or normal non-connected years, started to disappear,even from polite society. Read More

The Ugly World of Dystopian YA: “Uglies” Series by Scott Westerfeld

There are many dystopian YA’s (Young Adult) that you can read before you reach the Ugly series. I’ve trekked through the worlds of “The Hunger Games” (before it became a movie), “Matched” and “Across the Universe” among others, these being the most well read. I could say that the “Uglies” series (‘Uglies’, ‘Pretties’, ‘Specials’ and ‘Extras’) is just another run of the mill YA dystopian series, almost formulaic, good for several evenings of mindless fun (at least that is what I thought until I reached the last book). Read More

Summer and Reading at the Beach

Summer has arrived, at least here in Holland it has and the forecast on the 19th of June was 35°C (95°F), the hottest day in recorded history, at least according to the news outlets, but who knows, it was going to be really warn.. It’s a special occasion in our rainy and windy country. So as soon as a bit of sun shines, thousands of people flock to the beech,

I once flew over Holland, and it looked much like the picture here. The coastline instead of its regular yellow sandiness was rather a nice pinkish mauve.

or sit on the ‘terrasjes’ – the outdoor tables of cafés. Read More

Cecile’s Writers Go Mini-Golfing

To take a break from editing the stories for the first edition of our magazine, Cecile, Samir, Vanessa and I went glow-in-the-dark-3D-mini-golfing, located near the beach. Yeah! And I have the photos to prove it.


A you can see from the picture below, I’m wearing a fabulous pair of 3D glasses, which combined with the glow-in-the-dark pinks, yellows and greens, made for a very psychedelic game.

Taking a break after the mini-golf adventure.
Taking a break after the mini-golf adventure.

Read More

That Feeling You Get When You Know It’s Just Right.

How do you know when a sentence is correct or not? As any native speaker of any language will tell you: it’s correct because it feels right. Of course, if you’ve studied linguistics, you might reply with something a little more high brow. You might refer to the “correct” or “incorrectness” of the grammar/wording/syntax/pronunciation/etc.

Now, assuming that you aren’t a native speaker of English (for example) – but you’ve been speaking it for a long time, long enough to write creatively in it anyway – you might have that feeling of ‘rightness’. Here at Cecile’s Writers, we are for the most part ‘native’ speakers. However, discussion on the rightness or wrongness of a word or sentence construction can get heated. For example, Vanessa asked us if you travel ‘in’ or ‘on’ a plane (you can see the blog post that spurred this particular conversation), to which each of us responded yes, no and maybe. Ask a native speaker and they will probably tell you I travel ‘in’ a train or I will travel ‘on’ a train. Read More

The Intrusive Word: When the Right Word Is in Another Language

This tip is for anyone who has ever tried to write in one language but another one keeps intruding.

Have you ever found yourself  in “the writing zone” – inspired, full of energy, the words just jump out and land ‘bang & splat’ onto the page like magic – so you write and write and suddenly, you find that the next word you are about to put down fits perfectly into the sentence, only it happens to be in another language? The pace then slows to a halt and for all the world, you just cannot find any other word that fits as well. Read More

Making the Best of Technology

This weekend I went on a TED Talks spree. I must’ve seen about 50 videos on everything from James Cameron and his love for the deep sea diving to The Child President. I know TED is sometimes viewed as making scientists and philosophers appear as performing monkeys for the masses, but I beg to differ. Take a tour through TED Talks and I guarantee that even after a 5 or 10 minute talk you’ll feel a little happier, a little more optimistic and perhaps a little more inspired. Read More