Spring Forward, Fall Back!


Hi there.

You may be wondering what on earth is this ‘Spring Forward Fall back’ business? Well, if you have not remembered that the clocks go back this weekend, then the title says it all. In Spring the clocks go forward and in Autumn (or Fall if you are North American) the clocks go back. So, remember to put your clocks back!

For the origins of this phrase see, http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/spring-forward-fall-back.html. The site explains that fall originated in England and referred to the fall of a leaf in Autumn.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you will know that I mention William Shakespeare a few times and if you are not a fan then maybe you had better look away now!

If like me you enjoy finding out where phrases originate from, then start with Phrases.org.uk, in which you will find 135 phrases coined by William Shakespeare.

Here are a few to whet your appetite (sorry, couldn’t resist):

All’s well that ends well – A risky enterprise is justified as long as it ends well. Phrases.org.uk, state that John Heywood used it before Shakespeare.

High time – The time that something is due to be done. According to Phrases.org.uk:

High time’ derives from the allusion to the warmest time of day – when the sun is highest in the sky.’

By the way, ‘whet your appetite’ (not to be confused with an older phrase ‘whet your whistle’) has been around since the 17th Century and refers to stimulating your thoughts so that that you develop an interest in the subject matter.

I could go on and on, but I won’t as I previously covered this subject in my series You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this brief jolt through the past. The next time we meet, we will all have had an extra hour of sleep! Enjoy!

Take care








Watch these !


Hello there.

So what is the cat watching?  Well, if he wants to improve his grammar with a few simple tips…probably the videos that I have decided to include in the blog this week.

Whether you are writing an article, an essay, an email, content for a website, promotional material or a letter, at some stage you may need some help.

I am a great believer that we are all different and we learn in different ways as one size does not feel all!

I say this as sometimes I watch videos and other times I read books to help me retain information and extend my knowledge base.

I decided to include two very different grammar videos which I thought were effective and entertaining.



The second video illustrates how complicated English language is, and how academics cannot agree on everything themselves. My advice when something like this happens is usually to research and see what the general consensus is.

There will always be exceptions to some grammatical rules, as there are now so many ways that people express themselves, so in some ways, they are making up their own rules.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the videos, and are inspired to find some more on YouTube.

Take care,



Black History Month Special


Hi there

It’s October which is synonymous with Black History Month, so this week I thought that I would write a short piece about where you can find information concerning Black businesses, entrepreneurs and significant figures from the 1800s through to present day.

In an article by Ronald Barba, called 21-successful-black-entrepreneurs-throughout-history, we are introduced to men and women who changed the way the US business landscape looked. They were entrepreneurs in fields such as engineering, banking and publishing to name but a few.  Please see 21 Successful Black Entrepreneurs,  for the full article.

One of the entrepreneurs mentioned in the article is Annie Malone, who you may recall from my blog called In Celebration of Women Part Two! She founded Poro College, a commercial and educational college established to develop cosmetics and hair products for African-Americans. In Top Black Leaders of 1800s and 1900sD L Chandler of News One continues with more prominent figures in the Black business world, some of whom appear in the Ronald Barba article.  Chandler says that these particular business people were chosen as a way of:

‘highlighting their significant contributions to American society.’

Whilst there can be no doubt about the effect that America has had on the business world globally, on this side of the pond there have been some figures who have made an impact on British society and beyond. In 2008 David Smith of The Guardian wrote The 10 powerful Black Britons who changed the world, see this and in 2014, Natricia Duncan for the Voice online wrote about The Most Powerful Black People in Britain Revealed

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you feel motivated to do more research on Black History Month then a good place to start would be  www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk.

 Take care,



Email Etiquette


Hello there!

Did you know that there are certain protocols to follow when writing an email? To be honest I only recently discovered the various ways of ending an email when searching the internet for an appropriate sign off.

I have always just treated emails as though they were a less formal way of communicating while maintaining professionalism.

This week I thought I would share a few websites which have given me insight into this area.

I am starting off with Inc.com as they have covered a great deal of ground on the subject with two articles. The first is called 25 Tips for Perfecting Your E-Mail Etiquette and can be found here –http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/06/email-etiquette.html. Their other article is 15 Email Etiquette Rules Every professional should follow. This can be found here –http://www.inc.com/business-insider/email-etiquette-rules.html.

If you want to find a quick guide on how to sign off an email, then check out How to end an email – and 27 sign offs you should avoid in the Independent –https://goo.gl/pOLkWJ

Well, I hope that this whistle-stop email tour has been beneficial to you.

All that remains is for me to sign off…Now, how do I do that correctly?

Take care,




No text please…we are still British!


Hello there.

Now I know that most of us no longer write with a Feather Quill pen, but it is a way of communicating and an art form that can be appreciated. I am not sure that the same can be said for text messages containing abbreviated words.

This week I am revisiting a subject I covered in a piece last year called No Text Please We’re British?  If you want to remind yourself about what I wrote, here is the link – https://pmnoblewrites.wordpress.com/2015/05/

So by now, you will have realised that I really cannot tolerate English Language being used inappropriately. I use texts myself, but I do not shorten words, use abbreviations or acronyms.  I have a few reasons for this.

Firstly, words are precious so why shorten them? Secondly, why be lazy? Writing the words in full will help you to remember how they are spelt and thirdly, there can be no misunderstanding of what is meant when the language is clear.

Talking of understanding, did you know that there are translations on the internet for text talk?

http://www.noslang.com/ is a slang dictionary which can translate ‘idk’ and ‘afk ‘to ‘I don’t know’ and ‘away from keyboard.’  I apologise if you already knew about the existence of these type of sites or if you knew what these letters meant.

There are other sites too like http://transl8it.com/ and https://goo.gl/g61P49 where you literally just type the text message into a box and it will translate it for you. For a full list of abbreviations and acronyms see http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php

With these sites, no one will ever know that you didn’t have the foggiest idea what they were saying in their last text!

Disclaimer: the purpose of this blog is to keep you informed not to encourage you to use these phrases.  Also note that some of the phrases on the full list may offend you.

Rest assured I will not be using any of the words on the list as I think that they are a CWOT!

Take care