In the 1990s we wrote a book called The Student’s Guide to Writing and then, a few years later, wrote the first edition of Write it Right. Both books had more or less the same objective: to offer advice to students about how to write both correctly and effectively. To our delight, both books met with a good response and seem to have worked well. But sometimes it is the case that when you provide answers, that simply prompts more questions. We can honestly say that not a day goes by without us being asked questions about words, about writing, about grammar, about essay writing — indeed, about every aspect of how we use language. Sometimes this proves a chore; late on a Friday afternoon, an email arriving asking one to explain just once more what a split infinitive is can feel like one email too many. But most of the time we are delighted to answer queries; that is, after all, what we, as English teachers, are here for. But as so many of the questions asked are the same questions, over and over again, it seemed a good idea to add a fresh section to this new edition of Write it Right in which we can respond to the questions we have been asked most often. Some questions are precise and narrow in focus, but we want to start with one of the broadest, and most frequently asked, questions.
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