<![CDATA[Words Matter by Wix | The Essential Writing Blog]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/homeRSS for NodeWed, 31 May 2023 10:29:38 GMT<![CDATA[How to Become a Ghostwriter and Start Landing Jobs]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2021/02/ghostwriting/6003ecbea06ea2009befb630Tue, 16 Feb 2021 08:01:12 GMTJonathan SitbonHow to Become a Ghostwriter and Start Landing Jobs

Somewhere out there is an individual with a brilliant idea that they just can’t put into words (or simply don’t have the time to do so). In cases like these, who they gonna call? That’s right, ghostwriters.

Ghostwriting is the practice of writing a work in the voice and name of someone else. While the concept doesn't completely bypass skepticism from the masses, it does provide a solution for many people who don’t have the ability to prose on their own. Not to mention, it’s a well-respected and valued line of work as far as professional writing jobs go.

If you’re someone who excels at writing and loves the challenge of manifesting big concepts into words, this profession will speak to you. In this article, we’ll go over what ghostwriting is, answer burning questions surrounding this career and take you through the steps on how to become a successful ghostwriter yourself.

What is a ghostwriter?

In essence, a ghostwriter is a professional writer who gets paid for their work, but gives full credit to someone else. Hence, their ghost-like inconspicuousness.

Each ghostwriting process is seen as a collaborative effort where the ghostwriter works together with their client at every stage, until completion of the piece of content. The extent of the client’s involvement, however, will differ with each project.

It’s important to distinguish between ghostwriting and co-authoring here: a ghostwriter completes their job without receiving credit or royalties beyond payment for their work, while a co-author receives equal recognition and will split royalties with their fellow writer.

Types of ghostwriting

Ghostwriting doesn’t come in just one form. Types of ghostwriting run the gamut from political speeches to non-fiction books and various genres in between. Here are the most common types of ghostwriting practiced today:


Ghostwriters are often employed by publishing houses to produce books under the name of an author whose demand in the market outweighs their productivity, or when they want to publish a series of books under a pseudonym.

A famous example is the ,Nancy Drew series, which was published under one author name but was actually written by a series of ghostwriters.


If you’ve seen Veep, then you know ghostwriters are the real heroes behind good political speeches. Can you imagine Vice President Selina Meyer finding the time to write her own? It’s not uncommon for speeches (political or not) to be devised by a ghostwriter who can accurately summarize a public figure’s sentiments with words.


When public figures want to publish an autobiography or memoir, they’ll often turn to a ghostwriter to complete the task, since they don’t usually have the writing ability themselves.

Other examples of non-fiction material that might be ghostwritten include cookbooks, business books or “how-to” guides aimed at establishing a professional’s credibility. Whether it means writing the entire book from start to finish or filling in the gaps, ghostwriters are highly valued in this area of service.


Whether it comes from a lack of experience or motivation (,writer's block, we’ve all been there), many popular musicians cannot quite write their own lyrics. Talented ghostwriters usually get the job done.

This doesn’t apply solely to the lyrics. Using an anonymous composer to arrange a music score for a performance or soundtrack is pretty common in the film industry today. Fun fact: this practice goes as far back to Mozart, ,who was a famous “ghost-composer” himself.

Blog posts

Not all business owners and entrepreneurs have the time to write their own content. Yet an active blog is a valuable asset for building an authoritative presence, growing customer engagement and brand awareness. That’s why experts from all fields will hire ghostwriters to create compelling, regular content for visitors to their blog.

How to become a ghostwriter

The pursuit of this profession depends on three things: good writing and researching skills, discreet marketing, and excellent collaboration. Once you’ve contemplated what types of ghostwriting you’re best suited for, there are strategic steps you can take to prepare yourself:

  1. Build your writing skills
  2. Get professional work experience
  3. Create a writing portfolio
  4. Market yourself

01. Build your writing skills

These will improve with practice, but it's important to establish a routine from the start. Regardless of the subject, writing consistently is the one way you can significantly build your skills. Exercise your writing muscles with personal projects like publishing on ,your own blog or committing yourself to write a short story every day.

If you want a more structured way of learning how to write better, taking an online course can always be beneficial at the start of your career. It’s always good to learn about different methods of writing from masters in the field.

Reading more will enhance your writing, too. The more you read, the more you become exposed to new styles, genres and levels of writing that you can learn from. In the words of Stephen King “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or skills) to write.” Of course, perusing through some of ,the best books on writing will give you practical advice on how to boost your skills.

On top of your general writing skills, depending on what type of ghostwriting interests you most, you may need to familiarize yourself with specific jargons. For example, ghostwriters specialized in “how-to” books for dieting experts should use an authoritative voice and become acquainted with nutritional vernacular.

02. Get professional work experience

Being a ghostwriter is not an entry level job, so start with ,freelance writing gigs that will improve your ability to deliver for someone else, like ,content writing for a business or articles for an online publication. Editing jobs are also to be seriously considered. They will help you familiarize yourself with different levels of writing, and learn how to give and receive feedback.

In addition to writing, building the following skills will come in handy when starting your ghostwriting career:

  • Interviewing: Collaboration is an important aspect of ghostwriting. Conducting interviews throughout each project will be critical for fully understanding your client’s voice.
  • Researching: A ghostwriter should become an expert in any given field, in a matter of months—if not weeks. Sharpen your researching skills so that, when the time comes, you’ll be able to find the information you need in a quick manner.
  • Organization: Ghostwriting will be a back-and-forth process. You’ll end up making countless edits and working with new variations of the same text—be sure to keep a meticulous track of your progress.

03. Create a writing portfolio

You have the talent, the grit and the experience—but who else knows about it? Every professional writer needs a way to showcase their skills. An online writing portfolio will act as a virtual resume, helping you get noticed and stand out as a writer.

Writing portfolios usually include a professional bio (or CV) on top of carefully selected writing samples: articles, books, personal writing, etc. The point is to exhibit your talent, versatility and professionalism. Don’t forget to add a contact page to show you’re willing to initiate a conversation about new gigs.

Not sure you have the time or skills to create web pages on your own? Most CMS today offer neatly designed templates, with all the features you’ll need to run your business online. Take a look at these templates for writers, and tell us what you think.

Now, the million dollar question: do you include ghostwritten work in your portfolio? This is tricky, since technically you cannot take credit for these projects. However, there are still ways to expose your skills.

First, simply ask permission from your clients—you might be surprised by their answer. You can do this at the start of your project, inserting a clause in your contract from the get-go. Another option is to include a testimonials page in your writing portfolio. Your clients will be happy to leave positive references without revealing the specific projects you worked on.

04. Market yourself

Now, how do you land a job? Market yourself, of course. Doing this off-the-radar is more complicated than if you were a regular content writer, since you have to stay sensitive to your previous clients’ anonymity. Here are some smart methods for tackling the task:

  • Agencies and freelance websites: These platforms work to match new clients with relevant writers. Registering with one of these sites is a great way to open doors and get hired. Examples are Fiverr.com or GothamGhostwriters.com.
  • Writing about ghostwriting: Writing about the topic of ghostwriting is an excellent way to prove your authority in the field and get your name out there. Use your expertise on the subject to participate in online forums, seeking questions on the topic and providing answers. Also consider publishing how-to guides for fellow ghostwriters on your online blog.
  • Self-promotion: Now’s not the time to be humble. Self-promotion goes a long way, especially in this social-media-concentrated generation. You can successfully promote your services on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Just remember to stay tactful to your past clients and don’t expose their identity without permission.
  • Word-of-mouth: 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as the key influencer in their purchasing decisions. A similar tendency applies when it comes to finding employers. Most people feel comfortable working with someone who was recommended by a colleague or friend whom they trust. When you’ve established a list of clients, remind them to recommend you to others. If they’ve had a positive experience, chances are they’ll be happy to.

Best ghostwriting practices

Before you embark on a professional career in ghostwriting, keep in some rules of thumb that will successfully guide you:

01. Set clear goals

Just like any employer, your client should set their goals and expectations from the beginning. It’s important to agree upon reasonable deadlines and to clarify how much involvement they will have in the writing process. This will enable you to manage your time efficiently and ensure both parties are satisfied in the end.

02. Get to know your client’s voice

One of the exciting aspects of ghostwriting is that each time, you hide behind someone else’s persona. When doing this, you need to understand their voice. Writing a mystery novel requires a different stylistic approach than a memoir, and an autobiography for a former politician will require a different style than one of a celebrity.

Conduct a preliminary interview with your client at the start of your project. Listen to them speak about their work and take note of the way they explain things. Ask them guiding questions that will help define their voice, such as: If your brand could be represented by one celebrity, who would that be? What are three adjectives you would use to describe your writing?

Pro tip: Prepare an onboarding deck that proposes these questions in a fun, interactive and professional way. It will impress your clients and keep them engaged.

03. Be flexible

Ghostwriting is a working relationship between two parties: you and your client. Every so often, you might find that each of you approach a subject from different angles. Perhaps there will be times when you don’t agree on a certain writing method, or you’ll find it difficult to adapt their voice.

Resolving these differences is critical, and may require flexibility on your part. While your expert input is generally welcomed, you’ll have to compromise in order to implement the feedback of your client. Remember, at the end of the day, their satisfaction takes precedence over your own.

04. Communicate with your client

Good communication is always an impressive professional quality to uphold. Check in with your clients regularly, taking the time to go through edits together and asking questions when you are unsure about something. These conversations will clarify certain elements as the work unfolds, and often lead to the best creative brainstorming sessions. Not to mention, your client will be touched by your attention to detail and dedication.

05. Leave your ego at the door

You know the saying, “always the bridesmaid, never the bride?” In this case, you may find yourself thinking, “always the writer, never the author.” Investing so much time into a project without receiving credit for it can cause some serious damage to the ego. So, although it’s not easy for every writer to do—be prepared to leave yours at the door.

Professional ghostwriting depends on putting your clients' needs first and letting them walk away with the byline. This will be easier to do when you remember the immense self-gratification that comes along with helping someone else put their thoughts into words.

Burning questions about ghostwriting

Now that we’ve covered what ghostwriters do and practical tips for how to become one, here are some things to consider about the profession:

How much do ghostwriters charge?

Ghostwriting fees will vary greatly based on the experience of the writer and the service they provide. While beginners might receive a few thousands dollars for ghostwriting a book (albeit depending on the number of pages or words), top celebrity ghostwriters are known to earn as much as $500k on a single mission.

Individual contracts should be written and signed before the start of each project. When determining your fee, consider the project’s timeline, how much research needs to be done beforehand, the project’s length, and how many rounds of editing will be needed. Many ghostwriters will receive their entire fee upfront, or get paid at a specific marker (for example, the completion of every chapter), and it’s up to you whether you want to charge by project, page, word, or hours.

Won’t I really get no credit for my work?

By now this aspect of ghostwriting is understood. We’d be wrong to say it isn’t a challenge. Giving credit to someone else for your words is something that, for many writers, feels unnatural. And many professionals don’t feel justified by the financial compensation.

However, for many this can also be one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. The ability to write and envelop the voice of someone else is a feat that requires great skill, and it’s something many a ghostwriter is proud of.

Is it totally legal?

Plagiarism is something no writer wants to brush shoulders with, and it makes sense that you’d be concerned with the possibility of implicating someone else for stealing your content. In this sense, you can breathe easily.

Ghostwriting is 100% legal. There are no grey areas here—as long as you (the employee) agree to write for your client (the employer) in return compensation, it is considered a traditional service and business transaction.

But is it ethical?

Like most ethical questions, determining the moral nature of this occupation will change depending on the context and who you ask. An interesting way of looking at ghostwriting's ethical underpinnings is by considering the three parties involved in the process—the writer, the author and the audience:

  • As far as the writer is concerned, the transaction is pretty straightforward. You’re doing work in order to perform a service, and foregoing credit to your client is part of the bargain. Plus, you can feel good about helping another person put their ideas and/or research into eloquent, compelling words.
  • From an author’s standpoint, agreeing to compensate a writer for their services can be likened to hiring a graphic designer to create your logo. Ideally, the author and writer will form a symbiotic relationship, where the formulation of ideas and their manifestation could not exist without either individual.
  • Things enter into the nebulous ethical zone when we consider the audience. There are some fields where ghostwriting is expected—in the case of political speeches or celebrity autobiographies, for example. Ghostwriting in the blogging world is increasingly ubiquitous, too. However, many audiences feel surprised and even deceived when they find out their favorite nonfiction book was written by a ghostwriter, or their go-to cookbook didn’t include a single authentic recipe from the chef who signed it.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when deciding the ethical implications of ghostwriting is the level of transparency that is established for the reader.

Why would I take this route?

Hello writing practice! Being a ghostwriter will no doubt test your writing capabilities. By engaging in new styles and working with new people, you’ll practice and improve your writing for the future. On top of that, you’ll have the chance to improve your research skills and collaborative dexterity.

One of the great benefits of ghostwriting is that you'll be paid to do what you love. Among the professional writing careers out there, ghostwriting is definitely at the top.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

By Jenna Romano, Wix Blogger

Writer, avid museum goer, long distance runner, and meme enthusiast.

<![CDATA[How to Become a Writer and Live Out Your Dream]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2021/02/how-to-become-a-writer/6003e6cf106e68004306ecb5Tue, 02 Feb 2021 07:41:41 GMTJonathan SitbonHow to Become a Writer and Live Out Your Dream

To become a writer, you need a unique voice. First, it’s a foolproof way to stand out in today’s competitive landscape since you’re creating an inimitable experience for your audience. Second, your writer’s voice provides that particular authenticity in storytelling every reader craves.

Take the example of literary giant Toni Morrison, whose exploration of her own voice resulted in her acclaimed first novel, The Bluest Eye. It emerged from Morrison’s own interest in wanting to read the story she finally set out to write. She went on to build a successful career by always writing with a sense of purpose that would further develop her individual style.

Finding your voice takes time. It requires experience and learning to trust yourself and all that you stand for. But that shouldn’t prevent you from starting somewhere. Today, there are different ways to hone your craft, from creating a free blog to writing for clients. Follow our step-by-step plan to become a successful writer, while also making money from it.

Is writing a viable career?

The key to making writing a viable career is having reasonable expectations about what you’ll earn in relation to the type of writer you’ll become. The median annual wage for writers and authors, which culminated at $63,200 in May 2019, in the U.S., hides huge discrepancies. For example, the pay of a grant writer is significantly higher than that of a technical writer. Or a self-publishing novelist will have a salary that fluctuates more than someone who gets a publisher, and whose income does not solely depend on book sales.

In all fields of writing, you'll need to practice and polish your craft in order to gain access to more profitable positions that are based on level of experience. Furthermore, writers gain a better understanding about their work through on-the-job training. This means that they will perfect their skills gradually rather than turn pro overnight.

It takes time and effort before you can begin making substantial money from writing. That said, you should become a writer for the right reasons and foremost for the pleasure it gives you.

Do I need specific credentials?

As mentioned earlier, writers will sharpen their writing skills on the job, as they accumulate experience that qualifies them for better paying roles. Moreover, some professional writers won’t have formal credentials because many companies and clients prioritize your work history above everything else.

However, depending on the kind of writing you want to do, you’ll need to look into the different levels of education that are relevant for you. Remember that with the right accreditations, you can strengthen your position as a writer.

  • PhD in Creative Writing or Literature is necessary for those who want to teach at a university level. Before you can embark on a PhD - a four-to-seven year commitment - you’ll need to have completed your bachelor’s degree and in most cases, your master’s degree as well. This means that you would be enrolled in a university or college for more than a decade. Finally, university lecturer jobs and other full-time faculty positions are highly selective and hard to come by, so ask yourself if this is truly your passion.
  • MFA (Master’s of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing can help aspiring writers gain confidence and mastery of their craft. It also signifies that you are a professional writer because you have completed courses to refine your writing techniques. In addition, an MFA holder will have the relevant credentials to teach courses at a higher education level.
  • Bachelor’s degree is an important stepping stone (four-year program) for those who want to pursue an academic career or for nonfiction writers whose authority on a specific topic is supported by having the right qualification. Some news outlets also require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, whether they majored in journalism or something related.
  • Associate’s degree in Writing, Marketing or Media is a sure way to build your writing career launchpad. Typically a two-year program, an associate’s degree gives you academic knowledge and helps you qualify for an entry-level job in a specialized field, such as copywriting or content writing. It’s also a great solution for those who can’t afford a four-year program.
  • Certificates are given in supplemental programs that teach skills and provide additional resources and instruction. Courses may range from two weeks to two months and are generally conducted online. No prior degree is required to enroll in a certificate program.

How to become a writer in 10 steps

From finding your niche to growing your brand as a writer and everything in between, here are the 10 steps you’ll need to complete before becoming a writer—and commit yourself to doing what you love each day:

  1. Pick a field of writing
  2. Find a niche
  3. Start a blog
  4. Overcome writer’s block
  5. Improve your writing skills
  6. Get feedback
  7. Edit your work
  8. Find new opportunities
  9. Grow your brand as a writer
  10. Get involved in a writer’s community

01. Pick a field of writing

I remember the day I decided to become a journalist. That decision marked my life because for five years, I built a career toward one goal: to help others understand the world around them. To this day, my writing is guided by my desire to make my reader’s life better. Choosing a specific path for your writing career should be personal. It will help you create richer content and engage with your audience. By narrowing your focus, you will be able to achieve a lot more as a result. Here are some of the most popular fields of writing to consider:

  • Columnist writes opinion pieces for a newspaper or magazine. It can be on any topic that strikes their interest.
  • Copywriter creates advertising or marketing copy on behalf of companies, brands or agencies.
  • Grant writer crafts the application forms for nonprofits and organizations seeking funding.
  • Ghostwriter is someone hired to write text for another person who will be officially credited for that content.
  • Journalist reports for news, magazines and other publications. A journalist requires specific skills, including the ability to research, be objective and work in a fast paced environment.
  • Localization writers focus on the process of adapting content to a market different in culture, language, geographical location and even values.
  • Novelist authors novels in genres, such as fiction, sci-fi or fantasy.
  • Technical writers can communicate complex information in written form, like documents, manuals and white papers.
  • Web content writer specializes in providing optimized content, such as blog posts or articles, for websites.

02. Find a niche

When considering how to become a writer, it is recommended to fill a niche or specialized role within the thriving writing ecosystem. Whether you pick a health, education or food niche, owning a topic makes it easier to create quality writing that’ll resonate with your audience. In turn, you become more valuable to your clientele or readership. You’ll also work more efficiently and gain satisfaction from producing good content.

The first thing to do is evaluate your passions or skills to help you find a niche that’s also sustainable over time. Then, you’ll want to make sure there’s a market for that particular topic. Remember that your interests or expertise should always intersect with something people actually want to read.

How to proceed? Come up with a list of relevant terms or topics your target audience is susceptible to search online. Using keyword research tools (such Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs), you’ll be able to analyze how often the words and topics you found are actually searched for on Google, in your country. You want to keep in mind that keywords with high volume of search also tend to be more competitive, so aim to write about topics that are more niche—especially at the beginning of your career, when your reputation is not fully established.

03. Start a blog

In parallel to collecting ideas and topics, you should think about where you will centralize all your content. Starting a blog is a great way to turn your first publications into effective writing samples that you can share with potential clients when looking for gigs. As you write for your blog, you’ll also be sharpening your technique, nurturing your writer’s voice, and even experimenting if you desire.

For many, blogging is the gateway drug to a writing career as both share a common goal: to increase readership. Blogs are scalable and are great places to connect with readers. They allow people to quickly post content and directly share their thoughts with other like-minded individuals.

To ensure you’ve got all the essentials to set up your own, check out these effective tips for starting a blog.

04. Overcome writer’s block

Writers will face doubts about their skills or talents during the early stage of their career, but there are ways to ease these difficult times. First, your determination to become a writer should put all your fears to rest. Second, remain positive that the right opportunities will appear soon enough.

For those who are dealing with writer’s block, there are a couple of strategies to help you overcome this treacherous period. You should work with an outline to guide you through your writing. You’ll also want to frequently check in with any objectives you set for yourself, whether that’s implementing new topics or wanting to write more. Goals help you write with purpose.

Consider creating an editorial calendar to better organize and manage your content, ideas and time as you take on more writing assignments. This will also help you track your advancement along the way.

The key to establishing the perfect writing schedule is to set attainable targets for yourself. Not only will it keep you motivated to stay on task, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment as you reach each milestone.

05. Improve your writing skills

Every expert in their field knows that practice makes perfect. Writing is no different, so in order to improve your craft, you’ll need to find different ways to refine your chops. One way is to write each day in a journal, notebook or on your blog. By choosing the latter, you get the benefit of having other eyes on your progress. Another way is to become a voracious reader. This is important because reading exposes you to new styles, voices and even vocabulary, all of which you can incorporate into your own work. You can read some of the best books on writing to help you develop critical thinking skills and teach you how to assess good writing from bad. This kind of thoughtfulness will elevate the level of your own material.

06. Get feedback

Getting feedback will strengthen your writing. It can come from friends, family, editors or peers. This valuable information pinpoints the areas of your content that work well or don’t. Once you get some feedback, you’ll need to know how to apply it to improve your overall performance.

Start by reading over the feedback to get a sense of the bigger picture, asking yourself “What are the main issues being addressed?” For example, the problems arising could either be style, grammar or structure. Listen to their message and remain calm. This will help you stay objective. Then, thoroughly review your feedback once more to make sure you understand what the comments actually mean and how much revision you’ll have to make. Ask for clarification if something is unclear.

07. Edit your work

At this stage, you’re probably staring down at an initial draft that’s ready to be edited. It’s definitely possible to edit your own work and with the insightful feedback you received earlier, you’ve also got some hints on where to start.

To begin revision, here are a few writing points not to miss:

  • Catching typos. Take time to read through your content and look for any type of mistake—grammar, spelling, duplicate words or missing content—so no one doubts your professionalism. If you’re working on a computer, it’s always good to refer back to spell check and grammar check.
  • Writing with clarity. Make sure sentences are arranged in logical order. For example, each sentence in a paragraph should follow a sequence of time or events. You should also check that your sentences are not incomplete and that your word choice usage is correct (i.e. effective v. affective).
  • Be original. Writing in your voice and style makes your content more relatable and is also essential to building brand identity. Always write about your own ideas and unique take on a topic or query. In doing so, you’ll also avoid plagiarism—accidental, of course. It happens more often than you might think due to a lack of understanding of what it encompasses and how to prevent it from happening.

08. Find new opportunities

There are many writing opportunities out there, but it’s essential that you find the right fit for you. You can search across online job boards for paid freelance writing gigs, such as FlexJobs or MediaBistro. Or use social media platforms, like LinkedIn, to connect with companies related to your niche.

When you’re ready to make first contact, take time to work on your intro email or message and personalize it. Here you’ll want to use your own writer’s voice that will set you apart from the hundreds of emails an organization might be getting at any given week. You can craft a killer email subject line by using precise language and engaging text.

Alternatively, if you’re a columnist or freelance journalist, you can submit your proposal by sending them to the relevant editors at media outlets. To make a successful pitch, you must know the audience you’re writing for and be fluent in the tone you’ll be expected to uphold at the various publications.

09. Grow your brand as a writer

A writer who creates a strong and authentic brand will be able to attract their ideal audience and better connect with them. As a result, they will also be able to effectively market themselves. That’s because a brand tells everyone who you are and what you’re all about.

When building your writer brand, there are several ways to go around it. First, you’ll need to know who your target audience is and how you will reach them. Are they online or off? Do they engage better via social media or email? These are just a few of the questions that you need to consider when developing your method of communication.

Second, just like developing your writer’s voice, you’ll also need to create your brand voice. This will be displayed across all your marketing efforts, whether that’s your website, social media accounts or in the media. Take the example of best-selling children’s horror author R.L. Stine, whose brand voice is both matchless and authoritative, “Reader Beware.” Very few authors will experience similar success. Without him, no one else can effectively give you Goosebumps, as explained in this NPR sound-bite: “It’s not so much about one of your stories. It’s about all of them, and about you.”

10. Get involved in a writer’s community

Forming relationships with other like-minded writers can be lucrative and beneficial for building your reputation as a professional writer. Networking not only helps you stay on top of industry trends but keeps you informed in an ever-changing landscape. Through professional connections, you might gain access to additional money making opportunities, such as collaborating with other experienced writers in your field. This could come in the form of guest posting, which is where you write an article on another person’s website, exposing you to other readers.

It's important to get involved in writing communities, online or off. It's never been easier with so many active social media writers' groups. You can check out a number of online writing communities formed for specific audiences. Remember this, writing shouldn't feel like solitary confinement all the time. So, let your voice ring out.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg, Writer at Wix

I love to read and research history and enjoy wearing many hats in life.

<![CDATA[“Alumnus”, “Alumni”, “Alumna”, “Alumnae”: What's the Difference?]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2021/01/alumnus-alumni-alumna-alumnae/5fdf82ad6d6c3d001720af53Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:40:01 GMTJonathan Sitbon“Alumnus”, “Alumni”, “Alumna”, “Alumnae”: What's the Difference?

A ,classic scene in the Monty Python movie, The Life of Brian, asks the question: “What have the Romans ever done for us?” While the Romans are long gone, their influence remains strong in the English language with its many Latin loanwords, including alumnus.

The Romans originally used the word alumnus to mean “foster child”. It eventually evolved to also mean “pupil”.

In today’s English, we use “alumnus” to mean a graduate of an educational institution or program. You might also hear someone referred to as an “alumnus” of a company or organization that they worked for.

Nouns borrowed from Latin can cause confusion as they behave differently from other English words, particularly when changing from singular to plural (alumnus vs. alumni) or from masculine to feminine (alumnus vs. alumna).

So let’s set the record straight.

What does ‘alumnus’ mean?

An alumnus is one male graduate. For example: ,Arnold Schwarzenegger is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin.

Note that over the years, the definition of alumnus has expanded to also include a former member of any structured organization (a company, an association, etc.).

What does ‘alumni’ mean?

Alumni is the plural form of alumnus, so you’d use it when referring to more than one graduate.

The only time you wouldn’t use alumni is if all the graduates are female. That’s right, if there’s a group of 1,000 female grads and one male, you’d still use alumni. Unfortunately, the Romans were not familiar with modern ideas about gender-inclusive language. In case of any doubt, consider referring to both alumni and alumnae (the female, plural form).

For example:

  • Colin, Samuel and Gerald are all alumni of the same program.
  • We look forward to welcoming all alumni and alumnae of the class of 2000.

What does ‘alumna’ mean?

An alumna is one female graduate. For example: ,Natalie Portman is an alumna of Harvard University.

What does ‘alumnae’ mean?

Alumnae is the plural form of alumna, so you’d use it when referring to more than one female graduate. It’s a very common word in the context of all-female colleges such as Barnard, who proudly refer to their “,alumnae,, stories”.

When to use ‘alum’?

Alum (alums in plural) is a shortened version of alumnus or alumna. It developed in modern times as an informal way to refer to a graduate, and also to save people having to keep track of the different Latin endings. It’s more likely to be used in conversation.

For example: You studied at the University of Singapore? What a coincidence, I’m an alum also!

As the world becomes more and more conscious of different identities, using the word alum also avoids having to define graduates by their gender. Interestingly, Latin has a built-in neuter ending for nouns which could also solve this problem, but I don’t see alumnum catching on any time soon.

How to write ‘alumnus’, 'alumni', 'alumna', 'alumnae'

Given that these words come from Latin, some style guides recommend italicizing them when typing. They should not be capitalized, unless they are the first word of a sentence, or form part of an official name, for example the P&G Alumni Network.

In a nutshell

Now you should be able to switch smoothly between alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae and even alum, depending on the situation.

But take care: good grammar is important, but in situations where many people don’t know the rules, using the correct forms may make your writing difficult to understand, or even seem pretentious. If in doubt, consider other options such as graduate or former employee. With any text, understanding your audience is the key to good communication.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Samuel Green, Marketing Writer at Wix

Samuel Green, Marketing Writer at Wix

Samuel is thrilled that his high school Latin has finally been of use. He’s an alumnus of Trinity College, Cambridge.

<![CDATA[Can You Start a Sentence with “Because”? Well, It Depends]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2021/01/can-you-start-a-sentence-with-because/5fdf8055d564b20017b1d290Tue, 19 Jan 2021 09:05:00 GMTJonathan SitbonCan You Start a Sentence with “Because” Well, It Depends

Here’s a question that I've been asking myself for quite a long time. Why was it that in school I was told to never start a sentence with because, while I kept on seeing professional writers do it all the time? Sentences starting with because turn up in novels, ,blogs, articles—and everywhere in between.

Have we all been tricked? Is there a secret that only elite writers know? Let’s see if we can work this one out.

The rule is that you can’t start a sentence with “because” as it should only be used to join the main clause with a dependent clause. Otherwise, you end up with a fragmented sentence.
Exception: When you flip the order of your clauses and put a comma between them, your sentence will start with “because” and still be correct.
In conversational English, fragmented sentences tend to be more accepted and can make a point stand out.

The historical rule: You cannot start a sentence with “because”

Let’s first try and understand where our school teachers were coming from. Because is a subordinate conjunction word, which means it is used to join a main clause to a subordinate (or dependent) clause.

For example, let’s break down the following: “Jason went for a run because he needed to get fit for football season”. This sentence is made up of two distinct parts (or clauses):

  • “Jason went for a run...”: You can immediately tell it’s the main clause because it can work as a complete sentence by itself, even if you remove it from the original text.
  • “... because he needed to get fit for football season” is the subordinate clause: If you try and isolate it, you immediately see that it looks incomplete and doesn’t make much sense.

The use of because joins the two clauses and makes it a new, complete sentence.

Now let’s take a look at the two clauses if we were to separate them with a period: “Jason went for a run. Because he needed to get fit for football season.”

This version is wrong because the second sentence is what we call a fragmented or incomplete sentence. It leaves us feeling like there’s more we need to know about getting fit for football season.

Exception 1: Flipping the order of the sentence

The case is made: You can’t start a sentence with because. Actually, things are a bit more nuanced than that. This is where you discover the formula that your teachers were keeping secret. It all has to do with flipping the order of the sentence and adding a simple comma.

If you start your sentence with the dependent clause (“Because…”) and introduce your main clause with a comma, you would have just created a sentence without fragments. The comma serves as a necessary link between the two clauses, ensuring that they work together as one meaningful piece of information.

It’s simpler if we take a look at our example sentence:

Because Jason needed to get fit for football season, he went for a run.”

As you can see, we flipped the order of the sentence and added a magic comma. It becomes a complete sentence with no fragments, so even your English teacher would have to say it’s correct.

Exception 2: In conversational English

The English language has changed over the centuries. In today’s world, it is becoming more and more acceptable to bend, and sometimes, break grammar rules. For instance, if you want your writing to come across as conversational, then it may be acceptable to start a fragmented sentence with because.

For example:

  • “Why was he allowed to eat the ice cream? Because I said so.”
  • “She succeeded in her new role because of her grit. Because of her grit alone.”

You’ll find examples of this everywhere, from Bon Jovi’s song title “Because We Can” to countless novels where dialogue takes place. These types of sentences can have a powerful impact and make a point stand out.

In a nutshell

So, can you use because at the start of a sentence?

Yes, but only in the two following cases:

  • When you flip the order of your sentence and join the two clauses with a comma.
  • In conversational English—where incomplete sentences are more acceptable—if the sentence starting with because immediately follows the main clause.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Josh Weinberger, Marketing Writer at Wix

Josh Weinberger, Marketing Writer at Wix

An Aussie boy living in Israel who loves words, football (soccer for you Americans), music and time with the fam.

<![CDATA[What Is a Metaphor? Definition and Examples]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2021/01/what-is-a-metaphor/5fe072c82359110017ce9998Tue, 12 Jan 2021 12:52:22 GMTJonathan SitbonWhat is a Metaphor Definition and Examples

Metaphors are powerful tools that allow us to ,unleash our creativity, expose our inner worlds, and stand out in our writing and speech.

We use metaphors dozens of times every day, yet what exactly are they, how are they built, and what distinguishes them from other figures of speech?

Simply put, a metaphor is a figure of speech that states that one thing is another thing. It’s used to make a comparison between two objects or concepts that aren't alike but have something in common.

In this article, we’ll dive into all aspects of a metaphor and show powerful examples across film, music, and literature.

Thinking of publishing you're work but not sure where to start? ,Create a website to get started with your writers portfolio or blog.

What is a metaphor?

In ancient Greek, the word metapherō means “to carry across.” In some ways, this is exactly what a metaphor does: it carries a shared quality or characteristic across two things or concepts of different natures. This is why a metaphor usually has two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject we’re trying to describe, while the vehicle is the object whose attributes we’re borrowing. In Shakespeare’s most famous “All the world’s a stage” monologue from As You Like It, "the world" is metaphorically assimilated to a stage, in which people are merely actors. Therefore, "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle.

Without using comparative words, such as like or as, metaphors allow us to create new connections, and thus, convey additional meaning. A common figure of speech, they can help the audience understand an idea more clearly. Metaphors can also show us that something is a symbol of something else.

Finally, metaphors are often used to add color or emphasis to the point you’re trying to get across. For instance, if you say someone has a “heart of gold,” you’re using a metaphor to describe their good nature. While the person’s heart isn't literally made of gold, this type of figurative language communicates the point in an intuitive, sensible and poetic way.

Metaphor examples

Metaphors are used across disciplines and genres: You can find them in the most casual conversations, complex pieces of literature, ,motivational quotes and diverse films. They allow any text to stand out and pull its audience into a new reality.

Metaphor examples in literature

You can find great examples of metaphors in literature and ,poetry. Written down, metaphors make you identify with certain emotions or experiences, carrying weight that simple descriptions rarely do.

My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” —The Fault In Our Stars, John Green

Memories are bullets. Some whiz by and only spook you. Others tear you open and leave you in pieces.” ―Kill the Dead, Richard Kadrey

Wishes are thorns, he told himself sharply. They do us no good, just stick into our skin and hurt us.” ―A Face Like Glass, Frances Hardinge

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” —As You Like It, William Shakespeare

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference.” —“The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost

Metaphor examples in music

So many songs hold hidden meanings behind their seemingly simple lyrics. Metaphors are everywhere in popular music, here are a few powerful examples.

“Third floor on the West Side, me and you. Handsome, you’re a mansion with a view”—”Delicate,” Taylor Swift.

“Even when it’s rainy all you ever do is shine. You on fire, you a star just like Mariah”—”Mine,” Bazzi.

Life is Monopoly, go cop me some land and some property”—“Stir fry,” Migos.

You were the light for me to find my truth. I just wanna say, thank you”—“These Days,” Rudimental.

“My lover’s got humor. She’s the giggle at a funeral”—“Take me to Church,” Hozier.

Common metaphor examples

Even if you’re unfamiliar with many examples of metaphors, you must have heard these at some point in your life. These commonly used, and often cliché metaphors reveal just how prevalent this figurative device is in our everyday lives.

  • Life is a highway.
  • Her eyes were diamonds.
  • He is a shining star.
  • The snow is a white blanket.
  • She is an early bird.

Metaphor examples for kids

Explaining the idea of a metaphor to kids may be challenging, but using examples always helps. Kids’ metaphors tend to be lively and exciting, full of animals and imaginative ideas, making metaphors into a great pedagogical tool.

  • Her tears were a river flowing down her cheeks.
  • The classroom was a zoo.
  • He is a night owl.
  • Mario is a chicken.
  • Her eyes were fireflies.

Different types of metaphors

Metaphors are not as straightforward as they might seem. There are many different types of metaphors, each distinguished by unique characteristics. Here are some examples of the most commonly used families:

01. Absolute metaphors

These metaphors compare two things that have no obvious connection to make a point. For example, "She is doing a tightrope walk with her grades this semester."

02. Implied metaphors

These metaphors compare two things that are not alike, without actually mentioning one of those elements. For example, “A woman barked a warning at her child.” Here, the implied metaphor compares a woman to a dog, without actually mentioning the vehicle of the metaphor. Implied metaphors make sense only when the object you’re implying (e.g., a dog) is common or well known enough by the audience.

03. Dead metaphors

Like clichés, these metaphors have lost their strength because they’ve been ,overused. For example, "You light up my life."

04. Mixed metaphors

A combination of two or more different metaphors that create a sometimes silly effect. For example, "The new job has allowed her to spread her wings and really blossom." In this example, the woman is compared to both a bird and a flower, creating an odd combination that manages to get the point across, yet must be avoided. The reason we easily understand this metaphor is because the elements the woman is being compared to are so ingrained in our mind that we don’t actually pay attention to the literal meaning—or the absurdity of combining them.

Mixed metaphors can be useful if you’re trying to be funny, but if you’re not, they can come off as awkward or even undermine the point you’re trying to make.

05. Extended (or sustained) metaphors

These lengthy metaphors are introduced and then further developed throughout all or part of a piece of literary work. Since these metaphors are used over a longer section of text, they can be a powerful literary device that provides strong, vivid imagery in the reader’s mind. Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” poem is a great example. In these verses, he uses extended metaphors to convey the idea that everyone makes choices that forever shape their lives.

06. Conceptual metaphors

In these metaphors, one concept or abstract thing is understood in terms of another. For example, “Time is money”, where both “time” and “money” are conceptual objects.

How to use metaphors in your writing and speech

Metaphors can be incredibly useful because they add powerful detail to your writing. When you use metaphors, you bring your words to life and help the reader imagine and even feel certain emotions, scenes, or characters. It is important to remember not to mix metaphors and confuse your audience; that can actually take away from your work instead of enhancing it.

Moreover, when you write, it’s essential to keep your audience in mind and choose your metaphors accordingly. If you’re writing for kids, there is no reason to use overly complex, extended metaphors that may not come across as clearly.

Finally, before you begin to include metaphors in your writing, remember why you wanted to use them in the first place. It is often when it's hard to explain something just as it is, and a comparison offers a useful reflection of the feeling you wanted to evoke. No need to overdo it. When it's easier to just explain something for what it is, ask yourself, is a metaphor necessary here?

How to create your own metaphors

Coming up with your own metaphors can be difficult, but in reality, all you need is your imagination. Creating smart, visual and relevant metaphors is often what sets very good writers apart from the rest, showcasing an imaginative mind that is able to convey an image or a feeling through simple yet powerful comparisons.

The first step is choosing the character, object or setting you’re trying to write about. Then, focus on the particular scene you’re describing. If you’re having trouble describing it, think of other objects that share characteristics with it. Now comes the fun part—take your metaphor and expand on it. Adding your own personal touch can go a long way.

Metaphor vs. simile: What’s the difference?

Metaphors are often confused with similes because they serve similar purposes—comparing two distinct things. However, while metaphors poetically say that something is something else, similes say that something is like something else. By using words such as "like", "as", or "than", similes create a comparison that differs from the implicit comparisons metaphors draw. Here are a few common examples of similes:

  • He is cute as a button
  • She is brave as a lion
  • This house is as clean as a whistle.

In a nutshell

A metaphor directly compares two distinct things that aren't alike but have something in common. Unlike a simile, it doesn’t use comparison terms such as “like”, “as” or “than”, but rather states that something is something else.

Now that you know what a metaphor is, when to use it and how, you can infuse your own personal touch into your writing.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Lipaz Avigal, UX Writer at Wix

Lipaz lives in Tel Aviv and loves to travel, spend time at the beach, and cook delicious and creative vegan dishes.

<![CDATA[“Master’s Degree” or “Masters Degree”: Which Is It?]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2021/01/masters-degree/5fdf6d1b1b21f80017156137Tue, 05 Jan 2021 07:38:04 GMTJonathan Sitbon“Master’s Degree” or “Masters Degree”: Which Is It?

So you’re putting the finishing touches on your CV or ,resume website, but you can’t remember how to write out the name of your graduate degree. Does it have an apostrophe? Should it all be capitalized?

Well, you actually have a few formatting options, but the most common and most correct way to spell it all out is “master’s degree”, including an apostrophe and not capitalized.

What is a master’s degree? And how to spell it right?

There is a simple reason for the apostrophe. A master’s degree (from Latin magister, “master” or “teacher”) is an advanced degree awarded by a university or other academic institution after one completes a curriculum and demonstrates expertise in a specific field or profession. This means a graduate possesses mastery in a subject.

Quick reminder: ,an apostrophe is a punctuation mark indicating (among other things) the possessive case of a noun. So, there you have it! If you have a master's degree, then you should make sure to include the apostrophe to show off your possession of all that knowledge—and that precious diploma.

Here are a few examples of how to use “master’s degree” in a sentence:

  • They got their master’s degree at a local university.
  • “Art Garfunkel once envisioned a simple life as a mathematics teacher. He earned a master’s degree and was well on his way to becoming a Ph.D. That plan was derailed when he and Paul Simon became famous as the folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel.”— ,AP News, 25 September 2017
  • “Eva Longoria is backing up her beauty with a whole lot of brain. The actress graduated with a master’s degree… in Chicano studies from Cal State Northridge, where she physically attended classes for three years, according to TMZ.”—,Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2013

Two important points to bear in mind:

  1. When you use it without mentioning the discipline, master’s degree should always be left lowercase.
  2. If you’ve attained superhuman status and have more than one graduate degree, then you would pluralize like this: “They earned two master’s degrees over the years”.

Some other ways to name a master’s degree

The other way you can write out the name of a master’s degree is using its official title. In this case, you’ll want to be sure to capitalize it and drop the apostrophe. For example:

  • They were awarded a Master of Arts in English by the university.
  • They completed a Master of Science in Engineering three years ago.

The official name can also be abbreviated like this:

  • An M.A. in History or an M.S. in Mathematics.
  • An A.M. (from Latin, artium magister) in History or an S.M. (from Latin, scientiae magister) in Mathematics, if your university has a preference for Latin, like Harvard University, the University of Chicago or MIT.

Note that these abbreviations can work with or without periods, depending on the style guide your university follows and its country of origin. Here are some common abbreviations:

  • Master of Arts > MA / AM
  • Master of Science > MS / MSc / SM / ScM
  • Master of Business Administration > MBA
  • Master of Education > MEd / EdM
  • Master of Engineering > MEng. / ME
  • Master of Social Work > MSW
  • Master of Fine Arts > MFA
  • Master of Public Health > MPH

What about bachelor’s degrees?

The exact same rules apply to bachelor’s degrees. You can write out the name any of the following ways:

  • A bachelor’s degree in psychology
  • A Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • A B.S. / B.Sc. / S.B. / Sc.B. in Psychology

In a nutshell

To sum it all up, someone with a master’s degree has achieved mastery in a particular field. Since mastery is something they possess, the title must be spelled with an apostrophe. Remember: when using the official title of the master’s degree, always capitalize it.

“Master’s degree” or “Masters degree”: Take a little quiz

Before you go, try to answer this question to see if you understood the rules:

Which of the following options are correct?

  1. Masters in Political Science
  2. Master’s degree in political science
  3. Master of Arts in Political Science
  4. Master’s of Political Science
  5. Masters of arts degree in political science

Quiz answers: 2) and 3).

How did you do? This quiz doesn’t qualify you for a master’s degree, but at least now you’ll have one less typo on your ,resume.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Tannis Presser, UX Writer at Wix

I have a Bachelor of Arts in History, an M.A. in Conflict Resolution & Mediation, and a second master’s degree in television consumption, which I awarded myself.

<![CDATA[When and How to Use an Em Dash (—)?]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/12/em-dash/5fccb8620646eb001772b749Tue, 29 Dec 2020 09:04:27 GMTJonathan SitbonWhen and How to Use an Em Dash (—)?

The em dash was once reserved for ,typography nerds, but now it's everywhere. It adds panache to your texts, connects sentences and looks great on the web.

What is an em dash?

The em dash (—) is a versatile and stylish bit of punctuation. You can use it to add emphasis to your writing, make your text easier to scan, and highlight important phases.

The name em dash comes from its size, which is about the same width as a capital ‘M’. But the em dash goes by other names too: m dash, long hyphen, long dash—and just plain awesome.

When to use an em dash?

1. To replace parentheses

Normally, you use parentheses to offset something parenthetical (extra information that is optional to understanding the main idea). Want to add some flair and style to your text? Use em dashes instead, like in this example:

Good punctuationperiods, commas and dashesmake your writing easier to read.

If the phrase is at the end of the sentence, you only need one em dash:

The secret weapon of a good writer is the thesaurushundreds of synonyms for each word.

2. To replace commas—in style

Commas often serve the same role as parentheses, they add extra info to a sentence. This extra bit of information is called an appositive. Whenever commas are used with appositives you can replace them with em dashes. You probably don't want to do it with every appositive, but every once in a while, it makes important text pop.

Here are some examples of appositive phrases in between em dashes:

  • The overuse of commascommon in older textslooks strange in our digital age.
  • ,Building your own websitesomething that used to be very hardis easy with the right tools.

3. To replace a colon

Colons mark a list that comes at the end of a sentence. They're functional, but you can add some jazz to your list with an em dash:

Everyone should read the ,great works of Russian literatureWar and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and Anna Karenina.

The em dash is a great way to make your list stand out. (Of course, if you don't want the list to dominate, stick with a colon.) Example:

We all know the keys to great writingcoffee, editing and more coffee!

4. To serve as a visual bleep

Maybe you have a word that you can't write in the workplace chat or for some other reason? Our trusty em dash can also handle this. Here how you can add a bit of mystery and drama to your writing:

  • She'd already talked toabout the situation.
  • M said that he'd like to join the group.

5. To give your text a sharp turn

The em dash was made for the stream of consciousness. You're going and going deep into some thoughts and then inspiration hits—in an entirely different direction.

This is a nice visual cue to your readers that your thinking is dashing from one place to the next. Example:

When you're thinking of a wonderful summer daythe harsh reality of winter is just around the corner.

How to put the em dash into a sentence

Now that you know when you can use an em dash, it's important not to overboard with it. Twice per sentence is plenty. There's no set rule for how many times you can use it per page, use your best judgement.

There's also no agreement on whether you should use an em dash with spaces or not. ,AP style has a space, while Chicago doesn't. The key is consistency. If you put a space before and em dash, make sure you add one after it.

Pro tip: You can use a thin space to get the best of both worlds.

How to type an em dash

  • On a PC with a full keyboard (numeric keypad): Alt + 0151.
  • On a Mac: hold down option, shift and minus at the same time.
  • On a PC-laptop: ,go to the Character Map and select the em dash there.

Hyphen, en dash and em dash: What’s the difference?

It's easy to confuse the em dash with it's close relatives the hyphen and en dash. To put it simply:

  • The hyphen is shortest of all and is used to connect multiple words that work together as a single concept: My mother-in-law is a stickler for proper punctuation.
  • An en dash is used for ranges: It's hard to figure out your life path from 1822!

To find out everything you need to know about horizontal punctuation marks, check our complete guide to ,hyphens vs. dashes.

A quick roundup

A few em dashes can add some zest to your text. In places that you would use a comma or colon, consider an em dash instead. A few em dashes on a page bring out the key phrases of your text—use them wisely!

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Derek Kedziora, UX Writer at Wix

Derek Kedziora, UX Writer at Wix

When he's not crafting microcopy, Derek is cycling around Kyiv, taking long walks or tinkering with old school technology.

<![CDATA[35 Brazilian Words That Won’t Make You Look Like a Gringo]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/12/brazilian-words/5e6f6e0eb3737800179619fdTue, 22 Dec 2020 09:15:55 GMTJonathan Sitbon35 Brazilian Words That Won’t Make You Look Like a Gringo

If you plan to visit Brazil, the first thing you should know (besides the fact that you will fall in love with the accent) is that only 5% of the Brazilian population speaks English. The other 95% will try as hard as they can to understand your hand gestures, and this is because they genuinely are one of the warmest people you will meet. But why not come slightly prepared and retribute their kindness and hospitality by learning the most common expressions before you travel?

This list of 35 survival phrases and words used in conversational Brazilian Portuguese will ensure that locals will smile back at you in every interaction.

Introducing yourself

Let’s start with the ABC. What are the essential words you should know when you order a corn on the cob or coconut water from a beach vendor? When you introduce yourself to a group of Brazilians and want to nail your etiquette? Or even for a small chit-chat with the taxi driver? Here’s a must-learn list of basic words in Brazilian Portuguese:

01. Oi: Hello

02. Bom dia / Boa tarde / Boa noite: Good morning / Good afternoon / Good evening

03. Tudo bem?: How are you?

Example: Bom dia, tudo bem? — Good morning, how are you?

04. Me chamo…: My name is...

05. Prazer: Nice to meet you

06. Venho do(a)...: I’m from…

Example: Me chamo Anne e venho da França. Prazer! — My name is Anne and I come from France. Nice to meet you!

07. Tenho … anos: I’m … years old

08. Sim: Yes

09. Não: No

10. Tá bom: Ok

11. Por favor: Please

12. Obrigado (for male) or Obrigada (for female): Thank you

13. Tchau: Bye

Example: “Com licença, você quer beber alguma coisa? — Excuse me, would you like to drink something?

Sim, por favor. // Não, obrigado(a). — Yes, please // No, thank you.

De nada, tchau. — You’re welcome, bye.”

Exploring the country

Whether you’re out and about and don’t want to get (literally) lost in translation, or whether you come across a tempting restaurant and need to warn of your food restrictions, it’s important to have some more sentences under your belt. Take a look at the following key expressions that will help you in all circumstances:

14. Falar inglês: To speak English

Example: Você fala inglês? — Do you speak English?

15. Não entendo: I don’t understand

Example: Não entendo, pode repetir por favor? — I don’t understand, can you please repeat?

16. Banheiro: Toilet

Example: Onde fica o banheiro? — Where is the bathroom?

17. Que horas abre/fecha?: What time does it open/close?

18. Cerveja or chopp: Beer

Example: Quero uma cerveja por favor. — I would like to have a beer please.

19. Quanto custa?: How much does it cost?

20. A conta: The bill

Example: Quero a conta por favor. — Can I please have the bill?

21. Alergia: Allergy

Example: Tenho alergia a... — I’m allergic to…

Winning a Brasileiro’s or Brasileira’s heart

Remember that smile you were looking for in every Brazilian face after interacting with them? Now that you know these survival expressions, you’re guaranteed one. But truth be said, you’ll only become fluent in Brazilian Portuguese if those social encounters go a little deeper. At the end of the day, if you meet a girl or a guy who sparks your attention, you’ll need some more material to go past the first 5 minutes of conversation. Just go the extra mile and master the following expressions (and don’t worry, in case things won’t go as planned, some of these will still save you):

22. Maneiro(a) or Bacana: Nice

Example: Ela é uma menina maneira. — She’s a nice girl.

23. Nossa Senhora!: Oh my goodness!

24. Gato (for male) or Gata (for female): Pretty

Example: Nossa Senhora! Ele é o maior gato. — Oh my goodness! He’s so pretty.

25. Saudades: To miss someone

Example: Vou ter saudades de você. — I will miss you

26. Cara de pau: Idiot

Example: Ele é um cara-de-pau e só pensa nele. — He’s an idiot and only thinks about himself.

27. Beijo: Kiss

Example: Posso te dar um beijo? — Can I kiss you?

28. Foi mal: Sorry (very informal)

Example: Foi mal, não vai rolar nada entre nós dois. — Sorry, nothing will happen between the two of us.

Diving into Brazilian slang

Your experience wouldn’t be totally authentic if you’d only stick to the essentials. Brazilians are usually very informal people and that is why slang is an important part of their vocabulary. So, if you want to see how Brazilian culture actually comes together, learn some of the most used local slang words and phrases:

29. Cara: Guy or Dude

Example: Ok cara, não se preocupa. — Alright dude, don’t worry.

30. Beleza: Yes or Deal

31. Joia: Great

Example: Tudo joia por aqui. — Everything alright around here

32. Topar: To accept

Example: Você topa ver um filme hoje? — Do you want to watch a movie tonight?

33. Caramba: Damn it

Example: Caramba, esqueci o dinheiro. — Damn it, I forgot my money.

34. Valeu: Thank you

Example: Valeu pela ajuda. — Thank you for the help.

35. Pagar mico: Embarrassment

Example: Paguei o maior mico ontem à noite. — Last night was so embarrassing.

Now you should be covered with the most basic phrases as well as some of the more advanced vocabulary.As you can see, a few dozens of phrases and words are very helpful to pave your path into becoming a fluent Portuguese speaker. So go ahead and enjoy the linguistic and cultural complexity of the Lusophone world!

Boa sorte! (Good luck!)

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Livia Catran Azaria, Portuguese Content & Product Writer at Wix

Livia Catran Azaria, Portuguese Content & Product Writer at Wix

I’m a polyglot who is passionate about interacting with different cultures, discovering the world, and eating good food on the way.

<![CDATA[What Is a Soliloquy? Definition and Examples]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/12/what-is-a-soliloquy/5f9e4e7dd2a74f0017c2a6e7Tue, 15 Dec 2020 09:08:18 GMTJonathan SitbonWhat Is a Soliloquy? Definition and Examples

Are you someone who talks to yourself? An aspiring playwright? Both or anywhere in between? Wherever you fall on this spectrum, this guide will help you identify a soliloquy when you read it, see it or perhaps catch yourself in the act.

In short, soliloquy is the act of expressing your thoughts out loud, even when no one’s there to hear you. Unlike a monologue, a soliloquy is a speech that’s always addressed to yourself.

Here, we’ll cover the definition, etymology and examples in theater and literature.

What does “soliloquy” mean?

“Soliloquy” comes from the Latin solus, which means “alone,” and loqui, “to speak.” The word “soliloquy” most commonly refers to a speech a character in a play recites onstage alone, or as if they’re alone.

Shakespeare popularized soliloquy as a dramatic device in the Elizabethan Era.

What purpose does a soliloquy serve?

A soliloquy acts as a window into a character’s inner thoughts and feelings. It can also help advance a play’s plot, since it allows the audience to get inside a character’s mind, learn what they might do next or what might have happened offstage.

Soliloquy vs. monologue: What’s the difference?

While all soliloquies are monologues, not all monologues are soliloquies.

Both monologues and soliloquies are speeches given by a single character. The main difference is that a soliloquy must be directed toward oneself, while a monologue can be directed at someone else.

For example, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Mark Antony addresses the crowd at Caesar’s funeral with his famous “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech. Because Mark Antony delivered this speech in the presence of others, and not to himself, it’s a monologue, not a soliloquy.

Examples of soliloquy in theater and literature

Many of the world’s best-known soliloquies come from Shakespeare, though there are also plenty of contemporary examples. Let’s take a look at a few:

Example 1: Lady Macbeth’s “unsex me here” from Shakespeare’s Macbeth

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth—or ,,The Scottish Play, depending on your superstitions—Lady M delivers one of the playwright’s most famous soliloquies. In Act 1 Scene 5, she’s alone onstage and calls on supernatural forces to make her ruthless enough to murder King Duncan, paving way for Macbeth to ascend the throne:

Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,

And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full

Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.

Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse,

That no compunctious visitings of nature

Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between

Th’ effect and it.

Example 2: Berenger’s breakdown at the end of Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

One of my personal favorite pieces of theater ends in soliloquy. In the final scene of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, the main character, Berenger, is alone onstage, hysterically reflecting on being the last human standing. (Spoiler alert: Everyone else turns into rhinoceri.)

BERENGER: [still looking at himself in the mirror] Men aren’t so bad-looking, you know. And I’m not a particularly handsome specimen! . . . Now I’m all on my own. [He locks the door carefully, but angrily.] But they wont get me. [He carefully closes the windows.] You won’t get me! [He addresses all the rhinoceros heads.] I’m not joining you; I don’t understand you! I’m staying as I am. I’m a human being. A human being . . . I’m the last man left, and I’m staying that way until the end. I’m not capitulating!

Example 3: “To be or not to be” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet

I’d be remiss not to mention what’s likely the world’s most famous soliloquy: “to be or not to be” from Hamlet. Here, the title character believes he’s alone and begins contemplating whether he’d be better off dead:

To be, or not to be—That is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep—

No more—and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished.

With that, you’re ready to pinpoint soliloquy the next time you see it onstage, read it in your next work of Shakespeare or somehow end up in deep conversation with yourself.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Sophie Miller, Wix Partners Marketing Writer

An avid punster with a newfound hobby of exploring Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus architecture.

<![CDATA[What Does “Comradery” Mean? Definition and Examples]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/12/comradery/5f9e5ee52be984001798567cMon, 07 Dec 2020 08:23:58 GMTJonathan SitbonWhat Does “Comradery” Mean? Definition and Examples

Movies set during the Cold War are rife with references to “comrades”, while in contemporary times we will more often hear of “comradery” among sports teams. With its origins tracing back to Latin through Middle French, the word comradery certainly has a colorful etymology and meaning.

"Comradery" is a feeling of closeness and friendship between two people or a group of people who spend a lot of time together.
It is a North American variation of "camaraderie", which is the more accepted spelling of the word.

What is “comradery”? Definition and origin

When we think of comradery, we should get a feeling of friendliness and closeness between several people.

The word originates from the Middle French camarade, which was used to mean “roommate” or a “group sleeping in one room”. Its etymology traces back to the Latin word for “chamber”, camera.

The spirit of comradery stems from a shared experience—from sleeping in the same room to facing together a difficult or adversarial situation, like a battle or a sports competition. This is why you’ll frequently find the words comradery and comrade used among soldiers, athletes or work colleagues.

Examples of “comradery” used in a sentence

A definition is only the beginning of understanding a word. A truer appreciation comes from examples of people who use it in a personal sense:

  • In a ,U.S. Army article by Lesley Atkinson, Lt. Col. (P) Tameka Bowser is quoted as saying: “I was offered an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship as a high school senior and decided to give military life a try. It was quite a challenge mentally and physically, but I truly enjoyed the sense of accomplishment and comradery.”
  • That same sense of comradery is widely experienced in sport, as reported in the UK newspaper, ,The Guardian: “As an excellent new book based on the first-hand experiences of former Wales players makes clear, champion rugby teams are built as much on camaraderie and self-belief under pressure as on fat tests and mineral water.”
  • In an article on peer support groups from ,MobileHealthNews.com, the focus is on a mother dealing with her child’s illness: “She said that online support groups have helped her form comradery with other parents caring for children with rare liver diseases. Specifically, she remembers being able to share day-to-day upsets.”

Is it “comradery” or “camaraderie”?

Both words mean the exact same thing. The spelling comradery is simply a modern, North American version of camaraderie. According to all dictionaries, both variations are correct. Still, camaraderie is considered to be the more common spelling. For some data to support this, you need to look no further than this ,Google Books Ngram Viewer to compare usage of the two versions since 1800.

How to use “comradery” in a sentence?

Any word with more than one acceptable spelling can lead to ‘mash-ups’ of the correct versions. In this case, you can be forgiven for thinking comaraderie or camradery are the real deal. So keep a close eye on the spelling!

Also, as with all writing, you don’t want to overuse comradery (or camaraderie), so why not consider a few synonyms to get your meaning across? These include brotherhood, companionship, community and fellowship.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Cormac Curtis, Knowledge Base Writer at Wix

Cormac Curtis, Knowledge Base Writer at Wix

Escaped from a lifetime working in the Irish media. Now I enjoy (in order of importance) my motorbike, family life, reading fiction and history… and writing for Wix!

<![CDATA[Ethos, Pathos, Logos: What Are They and How to Use Them]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/12/ethos-pathos-logos/5f9e51c042bd6d0017c2377fThu, 03 Dec 2020 12:23:54 GMTJonathan SitbonEthos, Pathos, Logos: What Are They and How to Use Them?

You may have heard the terms ethos, pathos and logos at some point in your life, but what do they mean, exactly? All three are techniques of rhetoric, meant to persuade others toward a particular point of view. You’ll often see them being used in political speeches, commercials, ,,content marketing perhaps, and even movies and literature.

Each technique uses a different approach to appeal to the audience and solidify the argument, whether you’re establishing: the character of the speaker (ethos), the emotional state of the listener (pathos), or the argument itself (logos).

In this article, we’ll look at these three methods in detail, and how to use each effectively.

The three traditional modes of persuasion

Greek philosopher Aristotle first defined these three methods in Rhetoric, where he writes:

Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.

Ethos is when a speaker or writer appeals to their authority as a means of persuasion. They use words to convince the audience of their reputation, virtue, intelligence, or even their professional qualifications. This way, the audience is more inclined to believe in the argument presented. Of course, in order to be effective, the speaker or writer doesn’t necessarily have to have these virtues, just appear to. This is something that can be deployed verbally or through writing, including ,,content writing.

Pathos is the act of evoking emotions in the audience or readers in order to persuade. The speaker or writer uses words to manipulate people into feeling empathy, desire, anger, joy—virtually any emotion. To do so, they need to understand who they’re talking to and the greater societal context quite well.

Logos is the act of appealing to the logic of the audience or readers. Here, the speaker’s or writer’s effort is focused on the rational validity of the argument proposed. Usually, this comes together with the use of facts, data, statistics and other logical demonstrations. As with ethos, logos doesn’t necessarily have to be logically sound to be effective, but it does have to appear to be. This is also what makes it an essential part of any ,,type of marketing.

These three techniques show up in all sorts of circumstances, from political speeches and courtroom debates, to advertisements, essays, ,,marketing strategies and opinion pieces.

A good and memorable speech will utilize all of them together. For instance, a politician may establish rapport by mentioning her up-by-the-bootstraps childhood (ethos), speak about the unifying power of the country’s citizens (pathos), and then go on to explain how her election will bring about these ideals in practicality (logos). It's also not uncommon to see all three used in the same ,,motivational quote, for example.

“Ethos”: Definition and examples

What is “ethos”?

Ethos is sometimes mistakenly defined as the speaker’s appeal to the audience’s ethics, but, in fact, it has more to do with the speaker’s own values or character. Near the beginning of a speech, the orator may use ethos to establish credibility by delivering a brief biography or selected highlights of their personal history. They may also use their voice, tone, gestures or vocabulary to further ground that they’re qualified to talk about the specific topic at stake. Essentially, it’s about trust.

Famous examples of “ethos”

Example 1: Advertising campaigns

Any advertisement that has a celebrity endorsement uses ethos. Michael Jordan and Nike, Matthew McConaughey and Lincoln automobiles, Oprah and Weight Watchers—all these are examples of leveraging the speaker's reputation as a means to prop up a product or service. This works because the celebrity is commonly seen to possess certain virtues that the brand wants to be associated with.

Example 2: ,,Michelle Obama’s remarks on the 2020 Democratic National Convention

During the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama used ethos when she endorsed presidential candidate Joe Biden by reminding the audience of her own integrity:

Now, I understand that my message won't be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic Convention. But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I'm feeling. You know I hate politics. But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.

Example 3: ,,Jaws,, by Steven Spielberg

In the 1975 film Jaws, Quint (played by Robert Shaw) delivered his famous soliloquy about the USS Indianapolis. The whole speech oozes with ethos, as Quint tells the story of his experience as a sailor in WWII to explain his vendetta against man-eating sharks:

You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. Three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.

How to use “ethos”

The next time you’re ,posting on social media, or give a presentation in the office, try using ethos. Talk about your past experiences and qualifications. Make sure your audience knows who you are, and why they should trust your voice. Actually, though you may not be aware, you use ethos quite often already. Any time you’ve asked a listener to trust in what you are saying, based on your character or expertise, you’re working with your ethos.

To use ethos effectively, you need to remember your audience. What do they need to hear in order to believe in you? What kind of background details can you give them? Keep in mind that ethos is highly relative, since the qualities that are expected in one field aren’t necessarily the ones another audience will value. Remember who you’re talking to and shape your argument accordingly. If you’re a car salesman trying to convince a customer, you can mention you’ve been in the business for 40 years and know what you’re talking about. If you’re applying for a job in a startup, mention your personal attributes that the interviewers might value: flexibility, ambition, and tech savviness.

Focus on what will really build up your character in the eyes of the audience and establish your authority. The more relatable and trustworthy you are, the more effective your speech will be. Equally as important, don’t mention the factors that will destroy your credibility and are unrelated to the topic at hand.

“Pathos”: Definition and examples

What is “pathos”?

Stemming from the Greek word for "suffering," "experience," or "emotion,” pathos appeals to the emotions of the audience. Aristotle believed that the orator could use their words to lead the audience to experience virtually any type of feeling. He thought that, in order to succeed, they should be constantly aware of three main factors: 1) the audience’s frame of mind, 2) how emotions vary from person to person, and 3) the influence the speaker has over the audience.

Famous examples of “pathos”

Example 1: Coca-Cola’s Taste the Feeling campaign

Pathos is common in advertisements today. Just look at the McDonald’s I’m lovin’ it and Coca-Cola’s Taste the Feeling campaigns—the emotion is in the slogan. Talking about Coca-Cola, in each commercial from the brand, the people in it are happy, young, generally loving life under the sun, accompanied by bright colors, buoyant music and an atmosphere of energy and positivity. The messaging implies that if you want to be happy, drink Coca-Cola. Pathos is the perfect choice as the other methods of persuasion fall flat. Not logos—there are not many logical reasons to drink sugar-packed beverages. And as for the company’s ethos—the consumers don’t necessarily care about the brand’s values or reputation. Pathos is the only way to sell the product. You’re probably craving one now.

Example 2: ,,I have a dream ,,speech by Martin Luther King Jr.’s

Pathos often appears in the best and most moving political speeches, as in Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous I have a dream speech:

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights: 'When will you be satisfied?' We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating ‘For Whites Only.' We cannot be satisfied and we will not be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

See how he uses repetition with “We can never be satisfied” to drive his point home. His words are chosen carefully to invoke emotion: “unspeakable horrors,” “heavy with fatigue of travel,” “stripped of their selfhood,” and “robbed of their dignity.”

Example 3: ,,Requiem for a Dream,, by Darren Aronofsky

One example in cinema appears in Requiem for a Dream, when an elderly housewife, played by Ellen Burstyn, appeals to her son to empathize with her sense of loneliness and emptiness:

I’m somebody now, Harry. Everybody likes me. Soon, millions of people will see me and they’ll all like me. I’ll tell them about you, and your father, how good he was to us. Remember? It’s a reason to get up in the morning. It’s a reason to lose weight, to fit in the red dress. It’s a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all right. What have I got Harry, hmm? Why should I even make the bed, or wash the dishes? I do them, but why should I? I’m alone. Your father’s gone, you’re gone. I got no one to care for. What have I got, Harry? I’m lonely. I’m old. Ah, it’s not the same. They don’t need me. I like the way I feel. I like thinking about the red dress and the television and you and your father. Now when I get the sun, I smile.

Delivered with a wavering voice, the housewife’s sadness and fragility comes across in simple, modest language: “I’m alone,” “I got no one to care for,” and “They don’t need me.” She also uses rhetorical questions to communicate her sense of hopelessness: “What have I got?”

How to use “pathos”

Pathos is a very effective way to bring the audience over to your own perspective, but you have to be keenly aware of 1) the kind emotion you want to elicit, and 2) what truth you’re going to draw on to trigger that emotion.

You have to work backwards, in a way. Then, build a narrative to encapsulate that truth—you can’t simply plop the truth on a platter. Show, don’t tell. Look at all those skateboards in Coca-Cola commercials. They aren’t simply saying, “Coca-Cola will make you feel good.” They show people who feel good.

Moreover, pathos is most effective if used sparingly—you don’t want to be too sappy or forced. An audience can smell a faker a mile away. Don’t forget to use analogies, humor, surprise, body language, maybe even visuals if the forum is right.

Lastly, to take some tips from Aristotle’s own rulebook, here are a few more tools you can use with pathos to make it more effective:

  • Aposiopesis is the unexpected breaking off in the middle of a sentence. If you are speaking, then, all of a sudden, find yourself overcome with so much emotion that you can’t even finish your sentence—if used carefully, this will invoke ,,empathy in the audience,
  • Paromologia is when you concede part of your opponent’s point. It has the double effect of making you appear honest and logical, while mitigating your opponent’s argument which ultimately, also creates a feeling of empathy in the audience,
  • Jokes are often memorable techniques for pathos. A speaker will seem more relatable, and even more intelligent than an opponent who employs only logos or ethos, even if that person’s argument is more sound. It can also be used to make the audience sit up and pay more attention to your point.

“Logos”: Definition and examples

What is “logos”?

Logos comes from the Greek term for “word,” and is a direct ancestor of the English term logic. Logos is the reasoned discourse, the logical demonstration—whether it’s inductive reasoning (drawing general conclusions based on factual evidence) or deductive reasoning (starting with an hypothesis and confirming it with logical reasoning). Data, statistics, facts, figures, and common sense are all tools of logos to convince your audience. It relies wholly on the strength of the argument itself, regardless of the emotions felt by the audience or the expertise of the speaker. An argument with logos should be able to stand up by itself.

Famous examples of “logos”

Example 1: ,,Hamlet, Act I, Scene III by Shakespeare

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius counsels his son Laertes to never give money to friends. His logic is that it’s often risky to combine debt with personal relationships, which can result in the loss of both money and friends. By the same token, borrowing can make you complacent, spend money haphazardly, and lose the habit of “husbandry,” that is, being thrifty and mindful of your own expenses.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,

For loan oft loses both itself and friend,

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

Example 2: ,,2012 State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama

In 2012, Barack Obama used logos when discussing the 2008 recession in the State of the Union address:

In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior. It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag. In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs. And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect. Those are the facts.

He makes a clear case, explaining how irresponsibility was the direct cause of the loss of millions of jobs and increase in debt nationwide. He gathers his statements and drives his point home by stressing that, indeed, those are the facts.

How to use “logos”

Logos is a powerful tool, because it often stands on irrefutable hard data and statistics. It doesn’t need the charisma of the orator or the emotions of the audience to make a well-reasoned argument. That said, how the audience receives it is another topic entirely—dry facts can come across stilted if not cushioned by the speaker’s charisma.

To use logos most effectively, temper it with common speech that everyone can understand. If your topic is complex, use simple words to explain it. Don’t hide your beautiful argument behind complicated words, jargon or generalizations. Be as specific and concrete as possible, with examples, and stress the most important points.

One method you can use with logos is the syllogism, whether you combine two premises and draw the logical conclusion from them. The most famous example, from Aristotle himself, is: “All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.” In order to use this type of logic effectively, you should be keenly aware of the accepted premises shared with your audience. You can use what is deemed by your audience to be common sense or social truths to solidify a greater, more universal truth that you want them to accept.

Aristotle was also a fan of using logos in such a way as to guide the audience to reach the conclusion to the argument on their own. By suggesting the conclusion with logic, rather than stating it outright, the audience will be more accepting of your point. Simply put, they will feel more confident in the overall reasoning if they do the work themselves.

In a nutshell

To sum it up:

  • Ethos is the act of appealing to the speaker’s or writer’s authority as a means of persuasion,
  • Pathos is the act of evoking emotions in the audience or readers to make your point,
  • Logos is the act of appealing to the logic of the audience or readers.

Aristotle believed that logos should be the most important of the three modes of persuasion, but to really be effective, a speaker or writer needs to use all three. Ask yourself three questions: Does the audience respect you? Are you able to evoke emotions? Does your logic make sense? If you can answer ‘yes’ to all three questions, then you have a powerful argument.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Wailana Kalama, UX Writer at Wix

Wailana Kalama, UX Writer at Wix

From Hawaii and now based in Lithuania, Wailana spends her free time reading creative essays on science, and working on a speculative memoir.

<![CDATA[100 Most Common Australian Slang Words and Sayings ]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/11/australian-slang/5f9e5a22fa644a001799c7f0Mon, 23 Nov 2020 10:05:14 GMTJonathan Sitbon100 Most Common Australian Slang Words and Sayings

In 2013, selfie became ,,Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year,. Guess who invented it? That’s right: Australians.

It is not the first Australian slang word or saying to make it to the wider English vocabulary. Aussies are known for their unique creativity when it comes to tweaking and rejuvenating our language. They wear sunnies with their cozzies, while cooking a barbie in the arvo. Many of these words were coined by adding the suffix ‘-ie’ in the end (just like Aussie), but there are more rules. There’s no real reason why Aussies do this except maybe to save time, effort and to sound more friendly.

Here are 100 popular Australian slang words, terms and sayings to sound like a local during your next trip in Down Under.

01. Acca Dacca

AC/DC, the rock band. Why spell it out when you can say it?

02. Aggro (or Agro)

When you are mad at someone or something, you’re aggro—short for “aggravated”.

03. Ankle biter

A child. Basically a child who is so little they can only reach an adult's ankles.

04. Arvo

Afternoon. Aussies love hanging out in the arvo with a cold one.

05. Avo

Avocado. A fruit loved by most Aussies, some who even eat it with the Australian classic vegemite (a salty, distinct tasting spread). Here’s a fun new word, Avanavo = Have an avo.

06. Bail

To bail is to cancel plans. “He bailed on your birthday party last year too”.

07. Barbie

Barbeque. What is summer without one of these? Throw some snags (“sausages”) on the barbie.

08. Bikkie

Short for “biscuit”, a.k.a. cookies in the States. See “Choccy” for how to use it in a sentence.

09. Bloody oath

Meaning “yes”, “true”, “100%”, “most definitely”. Can be used as an affirmative response to virtually anything.

10. Bludger

Someone who is lazy. “Why do you keep skipping math class? You’re such a bludger”.

11. Bogan

A person who is considered unsophisticated or unrefined, commonly associated by Aussies with someone of low socio-economic status.

12. Bottle-o

A place where Aussies buy their alcohol, the local bottle shop.

13. Brekki

Breakfast. “Why not avanavo for brekki on some toast.”

14. Brolly

An umbrella. You don’t wanna forget your brolly when it's bucketing down rain outside.

15. Budgy Smugglers

Speedos, for men.

16. Cab sav

Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine, a personal fave slang of mine to use for a happy hour.

17. Choc-a-bloc (or Chock-a-block)

If a place is chock-a-block, it is full with either people or things, like cars in a parking lot.

18. Choccy

Chocolate. “Can I have a choccy bikkie?”

19. Chook

A chicken. Yes, the animal. Most often used when ordering dinner.

20. Chrissie

Christmas. Most kids can’t wait for Santa to drop them a Chrissie prezzie in December.

21. Chuck a sickie

Taking a sick day when, more often than not, you’re not actually sick (and often just hungover).

22. Ciggie

Cigarette. Also commonly called a durry.

23. Cold one

A beer. “Hey mate, pass me a cold one.”

24. Coppers


25. Cozzie

Swimming costume a.k.a. bathing suit a.k.a. bathers a.k.a. togs.

26. Crack the shits

To get pissed off or very angry at someone or something.

27. Crook

When you’re feeling crook, you’re either feeling unwell or angry. Crook comes from the old English verb for “bend” or “hook”, so basically when you’re feeling crook you’re feeling bent out of shape.

28. Defo


29. Devo

Devastated. “That’s defo a devo outcome, I’d crack the shits if that happened to me.”

30. Dropkick

A useless individual. Used as an insult.

31. Dunny

Toilet. “Oh, I’m just gonna use the dunny real quick”.

32. Durry

Another slang word for “cigarette”. “Hey mate, pass me a durry”.

33. Esky

Cooler. “Don’t forget to pack the esky for camping this weekend”. It derives from the word “Eskimo”.

34. Exy

Expensive. “That watch is a little exy for my budget”.

35. Facey

Facebook. “Just gonna check Facey and see whose birthdays are coming up”.

36. Fair dinkum

Excellent. “That’s fair dinkum”. The term comes from “a fair day's work’” with the word dinkum being ,,added by workers on Australian goldfields—din kum comes from the translation of “true gold” in one of the Chinese dialects that was spoken there.

37. Flat out

Extremely busy. “I’m flat out at work today”.

38. Footy

Football. “Wanna come watch the footy at me this weekend?”

39. Fruit loop

Crazy person, lunatic. “Ah, he’s a bloody fruit loop!”. Derived from the Froot Loops, a breakfast cereal brand that is a mixture of crazy different colors.

40. G’day

Hello, hey, hi!

41. Gobsmacked

When you’re gobsmacked by something it means you are shocked it happened or surprised you saw what you did. For example, if you saw a dog walking on two legs, you can bet you’d be gobsmacked.

42. Good on ya

An Aussie slang phrase for “good work”, “well done”. “Good on ya, mate!”

43. Heaps

Really, very. ”That’s heaps good.”

44. Hooroo

“Goodbye” in Australian slang. Comes from the 1700s British word “hooray”.

45. Icy pole (or Ice block)

A popsicle. As a kid in Australia in the summer, this would be one of your favourite words!

46. Journo

,,Journalist. “Did you see what that Channel 7 journo said on the news last night?”

47. Kindie

Kindergarten. Usually for kids aged 0-5 years old.

48. Lappy

Laptop. I’m using my lappy to write this blog post now.

49. Larrikin

A person who is mischievous or unsophisticated, however has a good heart and is well liked. Often a jokester, likes to play pranks.

50. Lippy


51. Lollies

Candies, sweets. Basically every Aussie child's favourite after school snack.

52. Maccas (or Macca’s)

McDonald’s. After a big night out, you’ll likely end up at the Macca’s drive-thru. Fun fact: 55% of Aussies refer to McDonald’s by its slang nickname, so much that the fast-food chain used it as ,,its new brand name in Australia!

53. Milk bar

The local general store, deli or corner shop. They don’t just sell milk.

54. Mozzie


55. Mushies

Mushrooms, yum. Who doesn’t love a good pizza with mushies?

56. Muso

Musician, singer, instrumentalist or sound engineer. If you’re in the music industry, you’re a muso.

57. No wuckas

No worries, no problem. Basically when it’s all good, it’s no wuckas.

58. Pash

A passionate, romantic kiss.

59. Piece of piss

When something is considered easy, it’s a piece of piss.

60. Pissed

The Australian slang term for “drunk” or “intoxicated”.

61. Preggas

Pregnant. “My wife is preggas again with our second kid”.

62. Prezzie

Present. Birthday prezzies, Chrissie prezzies, Aussies love their prezzies.

63. Reckon?

A short of “Do you reckon?”, an Australian slang equivalent for “Do you think?”. Commonly used in a sentence as “ya reckon?”. “Ya reckon we should eat there tonight?”. Can also be used as a sarcastic response to something obvious.

64. Rego

Registration. “Make sure you update your car rego for the next year.”

65. Relo

Relatives. “Gotta love holidays with the relos.”

66. Rock up

To show up somewhere, usually without notice or last minute.

67. Root

To have sex. Not the most romantic term, however.

68. Servo

For “service station”, meaning a gas station.

69. Sanga

Aussie slang for “sandwich”.

70. Sheila

A woman. Sheila initially was how Aussies would refer to Irish women, but eventually the name stuck as slang for women in general.

71. Snag

Sausage. Throw a few snags on the barbie and you’ll have happy guests.

72. Smoko

A cigarette/smoke break.

73. Sook

A crybaby. Someone who is easily upset or who complains about little things.

74. Spag bol

The Australian short for “spaghetti bolognese”.

75. Spewin’

Annoyed, not happy, angry. “Did you see the dent he hit in my car? I’m spewin’.”

76. Squiz

To take a squiz is to take a quick look at something. “Hey mate, take a squiz at this blog post”.

77. Stickybeak

An Australian slang term for a nosy or overly inquisitive person.

78. Stoked

Pleased. “I’m bloody stoked with those footy seats you got.”

79. Straya

Australia. Need I say more?

80. Stubby

A 375ml bottle of beer. The name derives from the fact that these “stubby” beers are short in comparison to their 750ml bottles cousins.

81. Sunnies


82. Sweet as

Cool, really good, awesome. “That concert was sweet as, bro”.

83. Thingo

A thing, a thingy, a thingamajig. Essentially, what you call something when you don’t know what it is.

84. Thongs

Sandals, flip-flops.

85. Tinny (or Tinnie)

A can of beer. Also, a small tin boat. However Aussies usually use this word when referring to the alcoholic beverage as it’s served in a small tin can.

86. Trackies (or Trackie daks)

Tracksuit pants.

87. Tradie

Short for “tradesman”, a skilled manual worker specialized in a particular craft that requires on-the-job training (electrician, carpenter, plumber, etc.).

88. Truckie

You guessed it: A truck driver.

89. True blue

A real Australian. “Ah Sheila, she’s a true blue with the way she drinks that stubby”.

90. Tryna

Trying to. “I’m really just tryna explain how Aussies speak.”

91. Tucker

Food. Comes from bush tucker which is food such as bugs from the outback.

92. Uey

A U-turn. “Chuck a uey” is commonly said when driving to make a u-turn.

93. Uggs

Ugg boots. For such a popular and comfy pair of shoes, the word Ugg actually comes from them being considered “ugly” by the wife of the very creator of the Ugg boots.

94. Undies

Underwear or panties. Also referred to as knickers.

95. Up yourself

A person who is up themselves is stuck up.

96. Veg out

To be lazy. “I’m just gonna veg out on the couch this arvo”.

97. Vego


98. Woop woop

Somewhere in the middle of “nowhere” or “very far away”. “Na, it’s in woop woop, can’t be bothered going that far”.

99. Wuss

A coward.

100. Yous

You, in plural form. “What are yous up to today?”


Ready for a visit Down Under now? Ye, Ye, Na (No) or Na, Na, Ye (Yes)?

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Dana Gilden, Content Coordinator at Wix

Dana Gilden, Content Coordinator at Wix

An Australian-Israeli who loves to write and bake (in the kitchen and on the beach), is a singer/songwriter and a coffee addict.

<![CDATA[10 Best Books to Boost Your Writing and Creativity]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/11/best-books-on-writing/5fabd98be0fd57001759c8d1Thu, 19 Nov 2020 08:09:20 GMTJonathan Sitbon10 Best Books to Boost Your Writing and Creativity

Great writers have two things in common: They practice, always working to get better at it, and they read—a lot. Why not do both at the same time? These are some of the best books to read about writing. The advice, exercises and examples you’ll find will help you become better at your craft.

The books listed below cover different aspects of writing, from creativity and inspiration, to advice from the experts, to ,grammar and style:

  1. Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
  2. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon
  3. Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. On Writing, by Stephen King
  5. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lammott
  6. Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein
  7. On Writing Well (30th Anniversary Edition), by William Zinsser
  8. It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences., by June Casagrande
  9. Dreyer’s English, by Benjamin Dreyer
  10. The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White

Creativity and inspiration

These are my top three picks for books that’ll encourage you to write and ,live more creatively. If you only have time to read one, I suggest Big Magic—it’s the most inspiring of the bunch. If you’re looking for something with more exercises and concrete tips, start with Writing Down the Bones or Steal Like an Artist. Looking for more books on creativity? Check out ,The Artist’s Way or anything else by Julia Cameron.

01. Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

Best for: Writers from all backgrounds, genres and levels.

Read it when: You’re feeling stuck with your writing career, need some inspiration, or just have good ol’ writer’s block.

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

Fondly called ‘Bones’ by other writers, this book is like taking your inner writer to therapy. Explore not just how you write, but why. Become mindful of your unique pain points as a writer, think about what being a writer means to you, and find the best way to move forward from where you are now—even if you’re feeling like you’ll never make it as a writer.

Goldberg herself had her share of rejection: Writing Down the Bones was turned down by seven big publishing houses, before being accepted by a new and small publisher called Shambhala. Now, there’s a 30th edition with a foreword by Julia Cameron.

The author sprinkles writing prompts and creativity exercises throughout the book—the goal is to help you explore and get connected to yourself. One exercise I had a lot of fun with was to take ten minutes and write about a meal you love. In no time, I was deep in nostalgia about my mom’s baked salmon and leafy-green salad. It can be tempting to skip the exercises, especially once you enter “reading mode”, but you’ll get a lot more out of the book by taking a few minutes to try them.

Goldberg’s main mission is to encourage you to simply write. Not to go out and find a writing class, not to force yourself to “just write” for 10 minutes a day—but to really sit down and put your whole self into it. If you’re watching the clock and writing because you heard somewhere that you need to write every single day, then your heart isn’t really in it. So go deep and speak your truth—with your writing and also in your life.

“That is the challenge: to let writing teach us about life and life about writing.”

,Buy Writing Down the Bones and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

02. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon

Best for: Writers looking to jumpstart creative thinking.

Read it when: You’re short on time and feeling unsure of how to start your next project.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon

Kleon, a self-described “writer who draws”, authored multiple best-selling books about creativity. In this New York Times hit, he gives ten tips for getting in touch with your inner artist. It’s quick and fun to read (I read it in about an hour). Even if you’ve already read many books in the genre, this one still delivers.

The author starts out by calling out obstacles that get in the way of being creative—the pressure to be “original” and the all-too familiar ,imposter syndrome. Kleon wants you to get inspired by work you admire, because there isn’t anything out there that’s truly original. Everything is based on something that already exists. Even if you don’t feel ready, just start making things. “Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they’ll tell you the truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.”

What resonated with me the most in this book is the importance of movement and using your hands when being creative. For his first book, the author used a newspaper and a black marker to write a best-selling book of poetry. His writing process was hands-on, engaging most of his senses - touching the newspaper, the sound and smell of the marker, the sight of words being blacked out. Bringing this practice into my own life, I’ve finally taken my new ,Paint by Numbers kit out of its packaging.

“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use—do the work you want to see done.”

,Buy Steal Like an Artist and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

03. Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Best for: Anyone who wants to live a more creative life.

Read it when: Anytime, but it’s an especially great pick-me-up if you’ve just gotten a rejection letter.

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

In Big Magic, Gilbert gives her take on what creativity is, how to bring more of it into your life, and how fear of rejection stands in the way. It’s obvious how much Gilbert enjoys writing and putting her work out there—and that’s what makes it so fun to read. I just didn’t want this book to end.

My personal takeaway here is learning how to cope with my own feelings of failure as a writer. Hearing her stories of rejection and success is inspiring, and makes me want to rewire my own reactions to criticism I get at work.

“I decided to play the game of rejection letters as if it were a great cosmic tennis match: Somebody would send me a rejection, and I would knock it right back over the net, sending out another query that same afternoon.”

Speaking of cosmic tennis matches—if you’ve read other books by Gilbert, you may already be familiar with the way she plays with anthropomorphism. It’s one of my favorite things about her writing style. In Big Magic, she gives ideas (artistic, scientific, religious, etc.) their own persona, turning abstract concepts into concrete companions that can go a long way helping writers.

“Ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners…When an idea thinks it has found somebody—say, you—who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit...The idea will not leave you alone until it has your fullest attention. And then, in a quiet moment, it will ask, 'Do you want to work with me?'”

,Buy Big Magic and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

Advice from the experts

These are my top four picks for general writing tips from the pros. If you only have time to read one book in this category, I’d go for On Writing Well by William Zinsser because it touches on many different aspects of writing that’s relevant to most writers—or Stein on Writing, if you want to improve your storytelling skills.

04. On Writing, by Stephen King

Best for: (Mostly) fiction writers.

Read it when: You want quality advice from a writer, but also want to read a memoir.

On Writing, by Stephen King

Stephen King’s On Writing is a classic, and was highly recommended to me by other writers. He starts off by telling us about how he got to be a writer, his early struggles, and how he eventually found success.

Personally, I didn’t LOVE the memoir-ish first half of the book. I included it because so many others have enjoyed it, and, you know—classic and all that. If I wasn’t writing an article about writing books, I’m not sure I would have finished it—but I’m glad I did, because the good stuff really comes towards the end.

His advice focuses mostly on how to build a story and develop characters, as well as some more technical, grammar-related tips. I especially enjoyed his passion for grammar: “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.”

Two lessons I’m taking with me into my writing life are to not show anyone my work until after my first draft (so that I have space to come up with my own feelings about it), and a formula for cutting words: Second draft = First draft - 10%. I already try to remove any unnecessary fluff from my writing when I revise, but I never thought about it in such a structured way. King suggests moving onto other projects before going in for a second draft—the time away helps distance you from the words, making it less “yours”—and that’s what makes it easier to cut.

No one said writing was easy—so it’s comforting to know that even best-selling authors struggle with it.

“Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction, can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub.”

,Buy On Writing and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

05. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lammott

Best for: Fiction writers, memoir writers.

Read it when: You feel stuck or frustrated with your writing, and want to know you’re not alone.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lammott

As with King’s On Writing, this one came highly recommended by both Google and other writers. And just like King’s book, it was hard for me to get into it—but the rest of the book made it worth it.

Reading this book was like sitting down with an accomplished writer and hearing the real deal about the writing process—the failures, the hopes, that letter from her editor that made her cry, and everything in between. It felt nice to know that even “real” writers don’t get it right the first time.

My favorite advice from Lammot is her wise words about getting feedback on your work from people you trust, before you show it to editors. She compares it to when you’re getting ready for a party: If there’s someone there to gently let you know that maybe that specific dress isn’t so flattering, you might be disappointed for a minute, but then you’re relieved that at least you’re still at home and have a chance to change before showing up in public.

This advice is very timely for me, because I’ve just been thinking about why it’s so easy for me to take criticism from specific colleagues, while the same feedback from others makes me question my decision to even be a writer.

Lammot’s encouraging words throughout the book are here to remind that you’re not alone in your struggle, that many writers struggle with self-doubt, and the importance of not giving up.

“Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can’t - and in fact, you’re not supposed to - know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing.”

,Buy Bird by Bird and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

06. Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein

Best for: All writers (fiction and nonfiction) who want to engage readers with a captivating narrative.

Read it when: You want to improve your storytelling.

Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein

The art of storytelling isn’t just for fiction—it’s what makes people interested enough to keep reading, whether you’re writing a novel or ,reporting on local politics. The key to engaging readers and providing them with an emotional experience is to show, not tell.

Using his experience as an editor and publisher, Stein provides a guide in sharpening your storytelling skills, from creating suspense, developing compelling characters, writing good dialogue, coming up with a title that intrigues readers—and offers a new approach to revising your first draft. He calls it “triage” and advocates for looking at major parts of your story (like characters, scenes, and actions) before doing a thorough revision. Even nonfiction writers can apply this to their work—the idea being that you should find and fix major issues in your work before you start going line by line.

By the time your project is done, you want each word to have a purpose. My professional writing life usually consists of trying to cut words wherever possible—I’m always looking for ways to make sentences shorter, tighter, simpler. But sometimes extra words are necessary to make your writing memorable and give your readers a clear visual. Here’s an example Stein gives:

“Vernon was a heavy smoker” vs. “When a waitress heard Vernon’s voice she always guided him to the smoking section without asking.”

The second version gives you a tactile experience of what Vernon sounds like, and is more interesting to read. Even though it adds quite a few more words, it engages readers more and brings them into the story. Which is really the whole purpose of writing, isn’t it?

“You wouldn’t feed cardboard meals to guests. Don’t feed cardboard meals to your characters. Make your reader’s taste buds pop, even if he's from outer space.”

,Buy Stein on Writing and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

07. On Writing Well (30th Anniversary Edition), by William Zinsser

Best for: Everyone, especially nonfiction writers.

Read it when: You’re looking for a straightforward guide to improving your writing.

On Writing Well (30th Anniversary Edition), by William Zinsser

Zinsser is a writer, editor, and teacher - and he has great advice for anyone looking to sharpen their writing skills. You’ll learn how to start and end your writing piece, how to revise, and how to write clearly and concisely. Some parts of the book are geared towards nonfictions writers—like the chapters dedicated to specific types of writing (e.g., culture, sports, and travel), but a lot of his advice is helpful to all writers, like his philosophy of revisions:

“I don’t like to write; I like to have written. But I love to rewrite. I especially like to cut: to press the DELETE key and see an unnecessary word or phrase or sentence vanish into the electricity. I like to replace a humdrum word with one that has more precision or color...With every small refinement I feel that I’m coming nearer to where I would like to arrive, and when I finally get there I know it was the rewriting, not the writing, that won the game.”

Two tips from Zinsser that I’m already putting into practice: not visualizing the end result, and removing qualifiers from my writing. The first one resonates with me right now because I’m three years into working on a family memoir, and visualizing the final result has kept me paddling in the “research” and “interviewing” phase—now I put my focus back on the writing itself. As for the second one, I always scan my work now to check for qualifiers that make my words seem less confident, like: a bit, sort of, rather, quite, pretty much, etc. These phrases take away from the impact your words can have on the reader.

“Readers want a writer who believes in himself and in what he is saying. Don’t diminish that belief. Don’t be kind of bold. Be bold.”

,Buy On Writing Well and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

Grammar and style

Your idea of fun probably isn’t to spend your weekends cozying up with tea and a stack of grammar books. Most grammar books are dry and not what I’d describe as light, fun reading. That’s why my goal was to find ones that are educational, but not boring. Only have time to read one book in this category? I’d go for It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences.—it’s entertaining, and the author makes grammar fun.

08. It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences., by June Casagrande

Who is this book for: Anyone looking to write better sentences or brush up on their grammar.

Read it when: You want a quick guide to grammar that gets you back to basics.

It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences., by June Casagrande

A journalist and editor, Casagrande breaks down the basics of grammar in a way that’s easy to understand, and explains how to use it to improve each sentence you write. And with a touch of humor and wit, she makes it fun to read, too. For example, as writers we may instinctively know that these sentences are bad, but Casagrande digs into the grammar to explain why:

  • “Running down the street in high heels, my dog was too fast for me to catch.” (Dangling participle—sounds like your dog was wearing the heels!)
  • “She was awarded a national book award in fiction as well as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.” (Faulty parallelism—award and finalist don’t match.)

This book changed how I looked at grammar. Until now, I mostly got my words down and then made sure everything was grammatically correct. Now I think about how I use the principles of grammar as I work, rather than something to just check off my list.

“Yet, all great writing has one thing in common. It starts with a sentence. The sentence is a microcosm of any written work, and understanding it means understanding writing itself - how to structure ideas, how to emphasize what’s important, how to make practical use of grammar, how to cut the bull, and, above all, how to serve the almighty Reader.”

,Buy It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences. and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

09. Dreyer’s English, by Benjamin Dreyer

Best for: Writers from all backgrounds, genres and levels.

Read it when: You want to indulge in some grammar-snobbery and read about common writing mistakes.

Dreyer’s English, by Benjamin Dreyer

As a copyeditor, Dreyer has seen it all, and he’s sharing the most common writing mistakes even experienced writers have made. I started reading for the grammar and style advice, and I kept reading for the author’s wit and pop-culture references:

“At some point in your life, perhaps now, it may occur to you that the phrase ‘aren’t I’ is a grammatical trainwreck. You can, at that point, either spend the rest of your life saying ‘am I not?’ or ‘amn’t I?’ or embrace yet another of those oddball constructions that sneak into the English language and achieve widespread acceptance, all the while giggling to themselves at having gotten away with something.”

Insights like that made this book both informative and fun to read. A warning, though: At times his cleverness does get the better of him. His elitist tone can get a bit grating, and sometimes I had to reread sentences multiple times to understand what he was saying (which I felt was ironic for a book about improving your writing skills).

My favorite part of this book was his section on phrases with redundant words. I tend to overexplain and that probably means I use redundant phrases more often than I should. Here’s what he says about “fetch back”:

“To fetch something is not merely to go get it but to go get it and return with it to the starting place. Ask a dog.”

This book doesn’t have the same cult status as The Elements of Style (the next one in the list), but its humor made it a lot more enjoyable to read.

,Buy Dreyer’s English and ,read more reviews on goodreads.

10. The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White

Best for: Writers from all backgrounds, genres and levels.

Read this book when: Anytime, but mostly just so you can say you’ve read it.

The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White

This book is a classic, and appears on almost any list of “books that writers should read”. Strunk published the first edition of this guide in 1918, and it’s been a must-have for writers ever since. More recent editions have been edited and updated by White, a student of Strunk.

In a straightforward, no-nonsense style, Strunk and White lay out the basics to grammar and good writing—everything from ,using hyphens properly to writing concise sentences. Just note that some rules outlined in the book might not apply to writing that’s more informal.

The parts of this book I enjoyed most was when a bit of humor peeked through:

“The hyphen can play tricks on the unwary, as it did in Chattanooga when two newspapers merged - the News and the Free Press. Someone introduced a hyphen into the merger, and the paper became The Chattanooga News-Free Press, which sounds as though the paper were news-free, or devoid of news.”

Tip: If you’re planning to read this one, I recommend getting the version that’s illustrated by Maira Kalman—the beautiful paintings add a nice touch.

,Buy The Elements of Style and ,read more reviews on goodreads.


After reading all of these great books (and a few others that didn’t make it to this list), I noticed one thing that came up over and over again: Learn the rules before you decide whether you want to follow them. Read as much as you can about the art of writing. Once you’ve got the basics down, once you know all the “writing rules”, that’s when you can have fun and ,start breaking them—with confidence.

What’s your favorite book on writing? Share your top picks in the comments below.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Lana Raykin, UX Writer at Wix

Lana Raykin, UX Writer at Wix

From New York, now lives in Tel Aviv. Loves good food, good books, and her golden retriever.

<![CDATA[Are Seasons Capitalized? The Definitive Answer]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/11/are-seasons-capitalized/5f7db45a852bbf0017570c54Mon, 16 Nov 2020 07:50:53 GMTJonathan SitbonAre Seasons Capitalized? The Definitive Answer

The seasons—winter, spring, summer, and fall (or autumn, ,depending on your corner of the world)—make an appearance every year. Yet, every time one rolls around, the same question surfaces: Should seasons be capitalized?

The short answer is no. In most cases, the seasons do not require capitalization.

Let’s see why.

In general, seasons are not capitalized

Though summer and winter may seem human with their overbearing personalities, seasons are common nouns (not proper ones). They follow the rule of thumb that common nouns are lowercase:

  • I can’t believe winter will be here soon.
  • I want to know what you did last summer.
  • In spring, the flowers will be beautiful.

When can seasons be capitalized?

Every rule has exceptions, and capitalizing the seasons is actually sometimes the correct way to go. Hold down that Shift key when:

1. It’s the first word in the sentence

The rule of capitalizing the first word in a sentence trumps all other guidelines. If your sentence starts with winter, spring, summer or fall, the season name should be capitalized.

2. When it’s part of a proper name or title

The seasons aren’t proper nouns themselves, but they can be integrated into one. When this is the case, they should be capitalized along with the rest of the name: the Winter Olympic Games, the Spring/Summer 2021 Paris Fashion Week, names of films like I Know What You Did Last Summer, etc.

Personal note: If your friend happens to be named Autumn, treat her name like you’d treat your own. She’ll appreciate it. (Trust me.)

3. When it’s personified

Let’s be honest, the seasons sometimes feel larger than life. When seasons are treated like human beings—which happens often in poetry, or when you slip on a patch of ice and would like to call Winter a four letter word—they should be capitalized since they’re being used as a name. For example, you can say that Summer is relentless with her heat and Spring shows her personality to be full of love.

Examples of correct capitalization of seasons

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”—Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18”

“That is one good thing about this world… there are always sure to be more springs.”—Lucy Maud Montgomery, ,Anne of Avonlea

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.”—Edith Sitwell, I Live Under a Black Sun

“Do you remember where I put my keys, Autumn?”—My husband

What about capitalizing days and months?

Maybe this all seems a bit unfair. After all, days, months and holidays are always capitalized since they are proper nouns:

  • I can’t wait for September.
  • Do you want to meet for our ,marketing meeting on Monday?
  • Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

The rules for what is a proper noun versus a common noun can seem arbitrary. Though months and days are proper nouns, seasons and periods of the day (morning, afternoon, evening) fall in the category of common nouns—and are hence lowercase. The only way to go is to learn them by heart.

In a nutshell

Remember, seasons are common nouns and should not be capitalized in most circumstances. Capitalization only occurs when the season is 1. the first word in the sentence, 2. part of a proper name or title, or 3. personified for poetic purposes.

Next time you get cozy with a mug of coffee to watch the leaves turn color, think of fall, not Fall.

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Autumn Kotsiuba, UX Writer at Wix

Autumn Kotsiuba, UX Writer at Wix

Born in Illinois, educated in Texas, and currently based in Kyiv. Autumn left the world of fried okra and cornfields behind for homemade vareniki and snow.

<![CDATA[20 Fascinating Italian Words Used in English]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/11/italian-words-in-english/5f7eb7218ece7300177271b3Mon, 09 Nov 2020 08:07:46 GMTwixblog20 Fascinating Italian Words Used in English

Italian belongs to the linguistic family of Romance languages, along with Spanish, French, and Romanian. They all share common Latin roots, which ended up massively influencing the English vocabulary over the centuries. However, the similarities between Italian and English don’t only relate to their Latin origins. Many Italian words were imported, lock, stock, and barrel, along with the ,Italian immigration to the US in the early 20th century, which has contributed to enriching the American language and culture greatly.

These “loan words”, directly borrowed by English speakers from the Italian language, apply to many areas of our lives. Although food and music seem to be the sectors mostly dominated by Italian terms, literature, the arts and the booming American movie industry have been highly affected too.

Learning about the origin and meaning of these terms is an excellent way to enrich not only your language knowledge, but also acquire some fundamental notions of history, geography, and even cooking. Let’s take a look at the top 20 Italian words used in English today.


01. Al dente

In Italian, the word al dente literally means “to the tooth” and is used to describe the perfect consistency of cooked pasta—firm to the bite and not too chewy. It’s used the exact same way it is used in the English language, as the culinary term for slightly undercooked pasta or rice. “I like pasta only when it’s al dente”.

02. Antipasti

Appetizers served before the main course, typically made of olives, vegetables, cheese and cold cuts. In English, the word antipasto (or its plural, antipasti) is used in the same culinary context as in Italian. “I would like to order an antipasto platter”.

03. Barista

The person who prepares and serves coffee at cafes or drinks at a bar. In English, it literally translates to “barman” or “bartender”. “Barista, can I have an espresso?”.

04. Ciabatta

The literal translation of ciabatta is “slipper”, but in both Italian and English, it’s used to describe a white bread whose peculiar name takes after its elongated, broad, and flat shape. You’ll find many different types of ciabatta bread in Italy, depending on the region you’re visiting.

05. Latte

In this case, the word is taken from Italian, but it has a totally different meaning in the two languages. In Italian, latte simply means “milk”, while in English the word is used to indicate coffee with steamed milk in it. “Joe was sitting at a cafe drinking a latte”.

06. Pepperoni

Another word spelled similarly in Italian and English, but with a completely different meaning. In Italian, the word is written with one ‘p’ (peperoni) and it means “peppers”. In English, pepperoni refers to hard, cured sausage typically used on pizza. Meat lovers, keep this in mind when ordering a pepperoni pizza in Italy, or you might end up going veggie.

Music and opera

07. Allegro

In Italian, allegro literally means “cheerful”, but it’s also a well-known musical term used to describe a lively and brisk tempo: “A music tempo can be allegro or lento, our professor taught us”.

08. Ballerina

In both Italian and English, the word ballerina has two parallel meanings. The first one describes a female ballet dancer (“Some of the world’s most famous ballerinas have danced at La Scala in Milan”). The second meaning takes after the ballet shoes worn by the same ballerinas dancers—and by fashionistas (surprisingly, not an Italian word!) all around the world.

09. Diva

The word diva in Italian was originally used to indicate a famous female singer. Although today it still relates to the music industry, the word is part of our everyday vocabulary and has broadened its meaning by referring to any person with an air of self-importance. “She never says hi, she’s such a diva”.

10. Intermezzo

In both languages, intermezzo refers to a short composition in between the main acts or divisions of a play (music, dance or theatre). In music, the term has had several different usages, which fit into two general categories: the opera intermezzo and the instrumental intermezzo. A well-known example is the ,orchestral intermezzo in Pietro Mascagni’s one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana.

11. Tempo

In Italian, tempo literally means “time”. However, in musical terminology, tempo refers to the speed or pace of a given music piece. High tempo means a song is faster, while slow songs are characterized by low tempo.

Art and architecture

12. Graffiti

In both languages, the word refers to writing or drawings on public walls or other surfaces, usually without permission and as a form of art and/or rebellion. Note that the word graffiti is typically used only in its plural version in English, while in Italian it’s common both as a singular (graffito) and plural noun.

13. Mezzanine

Originated from the Italian word mezzanino, it’s used in architecture to describe a building’s intermediate floor that is partly open to the double-height ceiling floor below. In everyday vocabulary, mezzanine refers to an apartment’s additional space above the ground floor.

14. Patio

In both languages, patio describes an outdoor space generally used for dining or hanging out, installed in the house’s garden or backyard. “In the summer, we like having dinners on the patio”.

15. Stanza

In Italian, it literally means “room”. However, in a ,poem, a stanza is a group of lines separated from other stanzas by a blank line, just like different paragraphs in a text of prose. Fixed verse poems, such as sestinas, can be defined by ,the number and form of their stanzas.

16. Villa

The word originates from the Latin villa, which designated the country house of the upper-class ancient Romans. Today, in both Italian and English, villa refers to various types and sizes of homes, usually characterized by larger, independent spaces with more than one floor and a garden.

Other English words of Italian origin

17. Confetti

One word, two completely different meanings. In English, confetti is small, colorful pieces of paper usually thrown at celebrations. In Italian, confetti refers to sugar-coated almonds which are given out at weddings, baptisms, graduations and other special occasions, often wrapped in a small tulle bag as a gift to the guests. The word comes from the Latin confectum, which means “small sweet”. If you’re invited to a wedding in Italy, you won’t see friends and family throwing confetti over to the bride as she walks down the aisle, but you’ll get them as a tasty present instead.

18. Finale

In Italian, finale literally means “the end”, when used as a noun, or “final, conclusive”, when used as an adjective. In English, it only refers to the last part of a piece of music, TV show or event. “I can’t wait to see The Sopranos finale tonight!”

19. Influenza

A particularly relevant word these days. The word influenza comes from the Latin word influentia which literally translates into “influence”, as the illness was ,traditionally attributed to the influence of the stars. Although in English influenza is solely used to describe a viral respiratory infection, in Italian it has the same meaning as the word influence. Note that the word flu also comes from influenza, as its short form.

20. Lava

The word lava started being used in English in the 18th century, ,influenced by the Neapolitan dialect. Lava has the exact same meaning in both Italian and English, and refers to the boiling hot molten rock erupting from a volcano.


The Italian culture's influence on the English language is still strong and is reflected on this selection of terms—among many others. What other words in Italian do you know and use? Share in a comment below!

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Roberta Rottigni, Marketing Manager (Italy) at Wix

Eternal optimist originally from Italy, addicted to outdoors and sunny weather.

<![CDATA[“Affective” vs. “Effective”: What’s the Difference?]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/11/affective-vs-effective/5f69f8844ba30b0017b31aa3Mon, 02 Nov 2020 08:16:22 GMTJonathan Sitbon“Affective” vs. “Effective” What’s the Difference

Writing about emotions or psychology? You’ve come to the right place! Not writing about emotions or psychology? You can stick to effective and will probably never encounter the word affective again.

“Affective” describes something provoked or influenced by feelings, emotions or mood, while something “effective” is successful in achieving the desired outcome.

Let’s dive deeper into the definitions of affective and effective and learn some techniques to never confuse the two words again.

“Affective”: Definition and examples

Affective is an adjective that describes something that is related to, arises from, or influenced by feelings, mood and emotions. It is especially used in the field of psychology.

Here are some examples of affective in a sentence:

  • Harry sang to Sally about how much he loved her, causing her to cry with happiness. Harry’s music caused a long-awaited affective reaction.
  • “In seasonal affective disorder, mood changes usually begin in fall, worsen in winter, and disappear in spring and summer.”—Taylor and Levinson, ,If You Think You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • “By giving computers the ability to recognize our affective responses, they could pay attention to our natural ways of expressing like and dislike, and hence do a better job of adapting to us.”—Picard, ,Affective Computing

“Effective”: Definition and examples

Effective is an adjective that describes something that gives you the result you want. Note that, although they are dealing with similar notions, effective shouldn’t be confused with efficient—the latter describing someone or something working in a quick and organized way.

Here are some examples of effective in a sentence:

  • Applying sunscreen and wearing a hat are effective ways to avoid sunburn on your face.
  • Blastoise used Water Gun against the fire Pokémon Charizard. It’s super effective!
  • “We recognize the urgent need to develop a safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and continue to work collaboratively with industry, researchers, as well as federal, domestic, and international partners to accelerate these efforts”—FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., ,FDA News Release, 30 June 2020

Why all the confusion?

There are two main reasons it's easy to get these words mixed up.

While yes, affective derives from affect, its usage actually comes from the noun affect, describing how someone is displaying emotion—NOT the verb affect, which means “to influence”. Affect as a noun has faded from everyday language and is rarely found outside psychology, where it is mostly used to describe emotional and mood disorders.

On top of that, affective and effective sound really similar! They are near-homophones (like ,elicit,, vs. ,,illicit), meaning that they are pronounced very much alike—although they have different spellings. For the same reason, plenty of people get the words affect and effect mixed up.

“Affective” or “effective”: How can I easily tell the difference?

Probabilities can help here. If the word is to be found in the context of psychology and is used to describe an emotional process or response there is a good chance affective is being used. If you encounter the word outside this context, it is almost certainly effective.

This graph, ,comparing Google searches over the past five years, is effective at showing how effective is used far more often than affective:

affective vs. effective google trends graph

In a nutshell

To recap, affective and effective might sound similar, their meanings are clearly different. Used mostly in psychology, affective describes things impacted by, or resulting from emotions. Effective is about productivity, and describes something that produces the desired outcome.

Take a little practice quiz: “Affective” vs. “Effective”

Ready to tell the difference between effective and affective? Fill in the blanks in the sentences below and test your skills.

  1. Drinking 2 L of water a day is generally an _________ way to avoid dehydration. (affective/effective)
  2. Cats are an _________ deterrent for mice in the house. (affective/effective)
  3. Judging from Jared’s _________ reaction, he clearly didn’t want to go to the high school dance with Jamie. (affective/effective)

Quiz answers: 1) effective 2) effective 3) affective

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Michael Landis, Senior UX Writer at Wix

Michael Landis, Senior UX Writer at Wix

He’s passionate about science and technology and enjoys falling asleep to David Attenborough narrating documentaries about the ocean.

<![CDATA[What Is Figurative Language? Definition and Examples]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/10/figurative-language/5f7c8aa9d83fdc00178be6a9Tue, 27 Oct 2020 08:09:25 GMTJonathan SitbonWhat Is Figurative Language? Definition and Examples

Have you ever felt so hungry you could “eat a horse”? Complained that “it’s raining cats and dogs” out there? Or wisely observed that “all that glitters is not gold”? Then you’ve already used figurative language without knowing or noticing it.

Figures of speech pop up everywhere in literature, ,poetry books, pop culture, ,motivational quotes, ,marketing materials and even in our everyday speech. (“Pop up”—that’s figurative language!) But what is figurative language exactly? How do you recognize it? And what are the most common types you can use?

In short, the definition of figurative language is using a word or phrase beyond its literal definition to achieve a more complex meaning or to strengthen its descriptive effect.

Let’s take a closer look at this creative, non-literal use of language that colors everything that we say, read and write.

What is figurative language?

Figurative language uses figures of speech (such as similes, metaphors and clichés) to suggest new pictures or images, or to create stronger effects. It is particularly useful in getting a specific message or feeling across. For instance, let’s say I’m stuck in the desert with a friend because our car broke down. Rather than saying: “It’s hot outside, isn’t it?”, I’d probably say: “It’s a million degrees outside, what are we going to do?!” Of course, it’s not literally a million degrees outside, but by using figurative language I have better expressed the dread and urgency of the situation we are in.

Figurative language has a fundamental impact on readers. By creating new connections between concepts, images or objects that have little to no original link, readers discover new insights and see a more vivid or imaginative picture in their heads. Figurative language is also useful in explaining an abstract concept by comparing it to something else that readers can better relate to. It can transform the seemingly ordinary into something significant.

This is why authors of all genres employ figures of speech so abundantly. In literature and poetry, writers often use them to pinpoint an exact feeling or mood they would otherwise fail to express with more conventional wording. Politicians and debaters use figurative language to argue and persuade. Novelists use it to draw readers into the world they’ve created. It’s all good.

10 common types of figurative language


A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things of different kinds, and that is often introduced by using a connecting word such as like or as. Here are some examples of similes:

  • She was as busy as a bee.
  • The three-piece suit fit him like a glove.
  • The zombie’s hands were cold as ice.


A metaphor is the same as a simile, but without the connecting word like or as. In a metaphor, one element directly replaces the other one. Some examples of metaphors include:

  • She was a busy bee.
  • His eyes were a deep ocean.
  • The zombie’s hands were ice.


A cliché is a phrase, expression, or idea that has become so ,overused that it has lost its original meaning or effect. Clichés can sometimes be seen as irritating and annoying because of their predictability. Here are some classic examples of clichés:

  • All’s fair in love and war.
  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
  • The zombie fell head over heels in love.


Remember a few paragraphs ago when I was stuck in the desert and it was “a million degrees outside?” That’s hyperbolic. Hyperboles are intentional and obvious exaggerations in order to emphasize or evoke strong feelings. They aren’t meant to be taken literally, like these hyperbole examples:

  • Her smile was a mile wide.
  • The student’s backpack weighed a ton.
  • Tommy the zombie was nervous: His dad was going to kill him when he got home.


An idiom is a group of words that, when used in a certain order, have brand new, unique meaning that has nothing to do with the definition of the words taken individually. Idioms are generally used to reveal a universal truth. While something doesn’t literally cost you “an arm and a leg”, the meaning behind the idiom immediately makes sense—because what ‘costs’ more than your own limbs? Here are some examples of useful idioms:

  • The project was a piece of cake.
  • He shrugged. “Better late than never.
  • The expensive meal cost the zombie an arm and a leg.


Onomatopoeia is my favorite type of figurative language, and not only because it's so fun to say. Onomatopoeia has a simple definition: It’s the formation of a word by imitating the sound the thing it refers to makes or evokes. You can find them in most nursery rhymes.

  • The cow goes Moo.
  • Ding dong. Someone was at the door.
  • Rwwarrrr said the zombie.


Personification is when human characteristics or qualities are attributed to inanimate objects, animals, or abstract concepts. Some examples of personification:

  • The wind howled in the night.
  • The camera loves her.
  • The chair groaned when the zombie sat down.


An oxymoron associates two seemingly self-contradicting terms to illustrate a point or reveal a paradox. Taken independently, bitter and sweet mean opposite things; however, their association (bittersweet) create a distinct, highly evocative meaning. Here are some other examples of oxymorons:

  • The silence was deafening.
  • I was busy doing nothing.
  • That zombie was part of the walking dead.


A euphemism is when a polite or mild word or expression is used in place of something more unpleasant, distributing, or taboo. In this regard, it functions as the opposite of hyperbole. The most common example of a euphemism is saying someone ‘passed away’ rather than ‘died’. Here are some others:

  • The English major was between jobs.
  • He asked if she wanted to “Netflix and chill”.
  • The zombie’s girlfriend was about to bite the big one.


An allusion is a device that makes the reader think of another person, place, event, or thing. Allusions can be both explicit or implied in the narrative. Some of the most common sources of allusions come from the Bible and Greek mythology.

  • She picked up the trash like a Good Samaritan.
  • He was a regular Einstein.
  • The zombie couldn’t stop eating human brains; they were his Achilles’ heel.

Famous examples of figurative language from literature

Example 1: “Parting is such sweet sorrow”—,William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

If you want to find examples of figurative language, look no further than Shakespeare. Can you guess what literary device he’s using in this famous quote from Romeo and Juliet? If you guessed oxymoron, you’re correct! The words sweet and sorrow evoke opposite ideas of happiness and pain. However, when Shakespeare combines them, it shows how the lovers are sad at having to leave one another, but also excited and joyful at the prospect of anticipating their next reunion.

Example 2: “Hope is a thing with feathers”—,Emily Dickinson, “Hope is a thing with feathers”

In this famous poem, Emily Dickinson uses an extended metaphor to articulate a profound human emotion. She describes the abstract concept of hope to the reader by comparing it to something very tangible and visceral: a bird with feathers that perches on branches. As readers, we can better understand the complex once it’s compared to something known.

Example 3: “Beep, beep!”—,The Road Runner, Looney Tunes cartoons

Though maybe not quite literary, let’s end on a fun example. Poor Wile E. Coyote knows and fears the “beep beep” or “meep meep” onomatopoeia of his archenemy the Road Runner in the Looney Tunes cartoon series. The “beep beep” is reminiscent of a car horn and signals to the coyote that danger is around the corner. Cartoons and comics traditionally use onomatopoeia to illustrate sounds to readers, whether it’s a loud Ka-Pow! after Superman lands a good punch, or the Klang! of an anvil over Tom Cat’s head. Either way … we feel it.

Using figurative language in your writing

Figurative language makes speech fun. It allows us to go beyond the literal and offers us a range of tools to express, describe, and emote. It’s used in everything from nursery rhymes—with a moo moo here—to Shakespearean soliloquies, to excuses for not going into work (after all, your head is killing you). Understanding the different types of figurative language and when to use them is important, but in the end it’s all about what you want to say. Go ahead. The world is your oyster … Pardon the cliché.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Marika Hirsch, Knowledge Base Writer at Wix

American expat living in Ireland. Loves creative writing and carbs. Will ask to pet your dog.

<![CDATA[“To” vs. “Too”: What’s the Difference?]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/10/to-vs-too/5f74264559b99e0017f9ecc6Tue, 20 Oct 2020 07:10:41 GMTJonathan Sitbon“To” vs. “Too”: What’s the Difference?

Homophones are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have distinct meanings. These types of terms can cause confusion for people learning the language and native speakers alike. Today I’ll dive into to and too—a classic example of a homophonic dilemma in the English language.

"To" is a multi-purpose preposition used to express a direction, a limit, a purpose or a result. It can also serve as the marker of the infinitive.
"Too" is an adverb meaning “in addition”, “extremely” or “excessively”.

Through seeing how they are used in common examples and idioms, you’ll be able to better understand each of these terms’ definitions. I’ll also add a few tricks along the way to help you recognize which word should be used in any kind of situation.

“To”: Definition and examples

The word “to” pops up so often in our language, it’s almost invisible. It is mostly used as a preposition, meaning that it relates a noun phrase to some other clause in the sentence. It’s a very frequent word with several meanings, some less common than others. The preposition to can be used to indicate:

  1. Physical movement: Sally is going to the mall.
  2. Direction: As you walk down this street, you will find the store to your right.
  3. Contact or proximity: Jason applied ointment to his skin.
  4. Purpose or intention: We are drinking to his victory.
  5. Attachment, connection, response and belonging: Last night, we danced to the rhythm of the songs.
  6. Extent or degree: He was beaten to death.
  7. Similarity or proportion: Don’t compare me to my brother.
  8. The application of an adjective or noun: Jason was pleasant to Sally.
  9. When the verb that follows is an infinitive: Jason likes to run.

To is also commonly used in idioms, and memorizing idioms is a great way to remember when to use each word based on the context of a sentence:

  • It takes two to tango. (One person alone isn’t responsible for a problem.)
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. (You can’t force someone to make the right decision.)

“Too”: Definition and examples

Too is useful too, but it’s much more niche than its homophone. This word is an adverb with a few meanings:

1. In addition: Jason is coming to dinner and Sally is joining too.

2. To an excessive extent or degree. Usually with a negative connotation, “more than it should be”:

  • Sally was too sick to travel.
  • The couch we bought is too large for the living room.
  • Sally crashed into Jason while driving because she was too close behind him.

3. Extremely, very: I can’t eat the soup yet because it’s too hot.

Too adds life and emphasis to any sentence, but can easily be omitted in many cases. For instance, we can say “it’s too hot outside” or we could also simply say “it’s hot outside”. The sentence loses a bit of life, but carries pretty much the same idea.

Here are a few idioms containing the word too:

  • You can’t have your cake and eat it too. (You can’t have everything)
  • Not a moment too soon. (Almost too soon.)
  • Too much of a good thing. (One too many.)

How to remember the difference between “to” and “too”?

When speaking, you won’t really need to remember which is which, since they both sound the same. Easy-peasy. Things get more problematic when writing, and mixing to and too is all too tempting even for native English speakers or seasoned writers.

Below is a list of helpful tips that I hope will help you remember whether your word needs an extra little extra “o”:

  1. To is a lot more versatile than too. Therefore, just by understanding the meaning of too well, you can easily figure out which word to use based on the process of elimination. (If it’s not too, then it must be to.)
  2. The word too has an excessive amount of “o’s” and excessive also happens to be one of the meanings of the word.
  3. Memorize this: Too can be replaced by in addition, extremely or as well. Every time you’re wondering which word to use, try replacing the word with one of these synonyms. If it works, then you should use too, and if it doesn’t, to is your answer.
  4. Pick an idiom with each of the words and take the time to fully understand the meaning. Next time you’re writing something, you can easily recall your idiom and compare it to the context of the word you’re trying to use.

In a nutshell

To and too are homophones, meaning these words sound the same but are spelled differently and have separate meanings. When writing, it can be challenging to know when to use each word in the right context. To summarize everything mentioned in the article above, here are the key elements to ensure you keep your to’s and too’s straight:

"To" or "Too": Differences in a Tab

Take a little practice quiz: “To” vs. “Too”

Here’s a quiz to practice everything you’ve learned. Did you obtain a perfect score after reading all the tips in this article? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

  1. Sally couldn’t eat her oatmeal because it was ______ hot. (to/too)
  2. Sally drove Jason _____ the park. (to/too)
  3. Jason woke up in a bad mood so he didn’t feel like talking _____ Sally in the morning. (to/too)
  4. Right before Christmas, the mall gets way _____ crowded. (to/too)
  5. I’d like _____ invite you ____the party. Your wife can come _____. (to/too, to/too, to/too)

Quiz answers: 1) too 2) to 3) to 4) too 5) to, to, too

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Laura Moreno Saraga, ADI Content Writer at Wix

Laura Moreno Saraga, ADI Content Writer at Wix

A fan of great food, fun adventures and tiny things. Laura was born in Bogota, Colombia, studied in the US and now lives in sunny Tel Aviv.

<![CDATA[100 Brilliantly British Slang Words and Phrases]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/10/british-slang-words/5f6b77f051a8be0017ae103cTue, 13 Oct 2020 11:08:36 GMTJonathan Sitbon100 Brilliantly British Slang Words and Phrases

Did you know that the UK has around 40 different dialects of English, each with their own accents and slang? This can cause a great deal of confusion if you’re exploring the country, or even if you’re just looking to stream the latest British TV series.

So, as a way of easing you in, here are some of my favorite slang words, phrases and expressions from around the British Isles.

01. Arse

What a great way to start the list. An arse is your rear end (not to be confused with an ass, which is a donkey). But it can also be a reference to an annoying person: “Stop being such an arse”.

02. Banter

Making jokes, often at the expense of others in your company. British people love to banter, and someone with good banter is likely to be popular. While from the outside it may look like we’re insulting each other, it's actually a sign of affection.

03. Bare

Used mostly in London to mean "a lot of". “There were bare man at the rave”.

Note the use of “man” in the singular to mean “men” or even “people”. I just threw in an extra slang term for free.

04. Barmy

Crazy. “That’s a barmy idea”.

05. Bender

British people like to enjoy themselves. A bender can last a significant amount of time, and involves large amounts of alcohol or drugs. “He went on a week-long bender”. Think rockstars, mid-90s footballers and Prince Harry.

06. Bloke

A man. Often used with “good” attached. “He’s a good bloke”.

07. Bollocking

You get a bollocking when you’ve done something you shouldn’t have. “I didn't do my homework and the teacher gave me a right bollocking”.

08. Bollocks

Testicles. You can also “talk bollocks” (speak nonsense, or lie) and if something is a “load of bollocks”, it’s not true. Not used in polite company.

09. Bonkers

Can mean either "crazy" or "angry" depending on the context. Someone can be “completely bonkers” or can “go bonkers” (the latter can also mean losing your temper).

10. Bonnie

Used in Scotland, this word means "pretty" or "beautiful", and is normally used in reference to a woman. Some think it has its origins in the French word bon, meaning "good".

11. Bruv

Short for "brother", this London street slang is used to refer to a male friend. “You alright bruv?”

12. Bugger all

Nothing. “I did bugger all today”.

13. Buzzin’

Used mostly in Manchester to mean "very excited/happy". “I’m buzzin’ for this”.

14. Cheers

A multi-purpose word which can be used as a toast, to thank someone or even say goodbye.

15. Chippy

What’s more British than fish and chips? And the best place to get some is in your local chippy. Don’t forget the mushy peas.

16. Chuffed

To be happy or satisfied with something. Often preceded with the word "quite" or "pretty" because British people don’t like to show off. “I’m pretty chuffed with my results on that exam”.

17. Cor blimey

An exclamation of surprise. “Cor blimey, did you see that?” For more usage examples, check out ,this instructive video by British rapper Bigz.

18. Course

Short for "of course" and normally followed by a word like "mate" or "bruv". “Did you take care of that thing? Course bruv”.

19. Creps

London street slang for sneakers (which British people call trainers).

20. Dead

Used to mean "very", particularly in the north of England. “Did you see that bloke? He’s dead gorgeous”.

21. Dodgy

Untrustworthy. A person can be dodgy but so can an object: “I think I ate a dodgy curry”.

22. Dosh

A British ,slang term for money.

23. Ends

London slang for the area you’re from. It’s important to represent your ends.

24. Fag

This slang word for a cigarette has no pejorative associations in the UK, but causes all sorts of problems for Brits visiting the US. They just want a cigarette, guys.

25. Fancy

Used as a verb to show desire for something or someone. “I really fancy her” is a profession of a love interest, but you could also ask someone: “Do you fancy some lunch?”.

26. Fam

A shortened version of "family", this is used mostly in London. It can refer to your actual family but it’s often just how you’ll greet a friend. “You alright fam?”

27. Fiver

A £5 note.

28. Food

While most British people think “food” is something you eat, it’s also street slang for drugs. Think twice before you ask someone if they know a good place to get some food...

29. Footie

A slang term for the national sport—football. That’s the game you play with your feet, hence the name. Don’t say soccer to a British person. You might get a bollocking.

30. Gaff

Home. “Do you want to come round my gaff?”

31. Gaffer

Boss or manager. Often referred to as "The Gaffer".

32. Gagging

Used in the north of England to mean "thirsty".

33. Galdem

Mostly heard in London, this means "ladies". See also mandem.

34. Geordie

Someone from Newcastle. Can also be used as an adjective to describe something from Newcastle.

35. Gob

A mouth. If someone is annoying you, you can tell them: "shut your gob". Best done at a distance as there may be repercussions.

36. Gordon Bennett!

An exclamation of surprise. The origin of this phrase is disputed, but the most likely candidate for inspiring the expression is an eccentric wealthy newspaper owner named ,James Gordon Bennett Jr.

37. Grand

£1,000. Interestingly, it’s only ever used in the singular. Whether 1 grand or 20 grand—never put an "s" on the end. Also used as an adjective in parts of northern England to mean "fantastic": “That’s grand”.

38. Grass up

To inform on someone to the authorities. You can refer to a person who grassed you up as a "grass".

39. Have a strop

To have a tantrum or go into a rage. Used with toddlers, teenagers and adults alike.

40. Innit

A shortened form of “isn’t it”, this can be added onto the end of sentences for emphasis. “Cor blimey, it’s bloody hot today, innit!”.

41. Jiffy

A short period of time. “I’ll be with you in a jiffy”.

42. Jokes

Used as an adjective, to mean “funny” or just “fun”. “Let’s go into town tonight mate, it’ll be jokes”.

43. Knackered

Extremely tired. A possible result of a knees-up.

44. Knees-Up

A lively party. “We had a bit of a knees-up last night”.

45. Knob

A penis, but also an annoying person. “Don’t be such a knob”.

46. Long

Mostly heard in London to mean a "lot of effort" or "annoying".

47. Loo

A toilet. The origins of this word are disputed, but all British people will know what you mean if you tell them “I’m just popping to the loo”.

48. Lush

Heard a lot in Wales but also in parts of northern England to mean "great" or "very nice".

49. Manc

Someone from Manchester.

50. Mandem

Mostly heard in London, this means "men". See also galdem.

51. Manor

Another London term to mean the area you come from.

52. Mate

A term of address, usually to a man but not always. “How are you, mate?”

53. Mental

Crazy. An object or event can be mental (“Did you see that goal? Mental!) and so can a person (“The new gaffer’s mental”). If someone “goes mental”, it means that they got very angry.

54. Merc (or merk or murk)

You’ll find multiple spellings of this word, largely used in London, to mean "to kill". “He got merked last week”.

55. Mint

Mostly heard in Manchester to mean "great".

56. Minted

Very wealthy. “She’s absolutely minted, mate”.

57. Moolah

Money. “He’s making loads of moolah”. Yes, British people have a lot of slang words for money.

58. Mug

A face, or an idiot, depending on context. “He’s got an ugly mug” would be the former, “do you take me for a mug?”, the latter.

59. Naff

Tasteless, cheap-looking. Normally used together with "a bit". “Those curtains are a bit naff, don’t you think?”

60. Nick

To steal.

61. Nicked

To be arrested. Possibly because you nicked something.

62. Nippy

A little bit cold—as if the cold air was nipping at your skin. “It’s a bit nippy out, isn’t it!”.

63. Nutter

A crazy person. “He’s a complete nutter”.

64. Pagan

London street slang for someone untrustworthy.

65. Peng

Another London term, for someone or something that is attractive or desirable. A person can be peng, but so can food. Check out some ,peng chicken.

66. Pig’s ear

When you’ve made a pig’s ear of something, you’ve really messed it up. “He’s made a complete pig’s ear of that project”.

67. Pillock

An idiot, or annoying person.

68. Pint

A beer. Beer is drunk in pints in the UK, which is still valiantly struggling against the encroachment of the EU-mandated metric system. A British pint is roughly 20% larger than a US one, which means Brits are 20% more likely to be drunk.

69. Plonker

Someone who is a bit stupid or annoying. A little bit more affectionate than calling someone a pillock. “Don't be such a plonker”.

70. Porkies

Cockney rhyming slang: pork pies = lies. No one likes someone who tells porkies.

71. P’s

London street slang for money, from a shortening of "pounds".

72. Pub

Short for “public house”, these are the default places for British people to meet and drink pints, and they are everywhere. Unlike bars, they open in the morning, often serve food, and normally have at least one resident drunk.

73. Punter

A customer. “You’ve got to keep the punters happy”.

74. Quid

A pound. Like “grand”, quid only ever appears in the singular.

75. Rugger

Rugby, another popular sport which the British invented only for everyone else to beat them at it.

76. Scouser

A person who comes from Liverpool. The Beatles were Scousers, for example.

77. Shag

A not so delicate way to refer to sexual intercourse. Can be a verb (“I'd love to shag him”) or a noun (“she was a great shag”).

78. Shiner

A black eye. Possibly caused by telling someone to shut their gob.

79. Shook

London street slang for "scared".

80. Skint

To be without money.

81. Slag off

To criticize. “Stop slagging him off behind his back”.

82. Slash

A crude term for urinating. “I'm just going for a quick slash”.

83. Slog

A major effort. Can be combined with "hard" for emphasis. “This project was a really hard slog”.

84. Snog

Much more fun than a slog, this is a term for a french kiss. Can be a noun (“fancy a snog?”) or a verb (“did you snog him?”).

85. Sod off

A not so polite way to ask someone to go away. “Oh, sod off, won’t you?”.

86. Take a punt

To take a chance on something. Originally a reference to gambling but can be used in a broader context now.

87. Take the Mickey

Cockney rhyming slang: take the Mickey Bliss = take the piss. This is a slightly politer way to say our next expression:

88. Take the piss

To mock or laugh at someone or something. Alternatively, to not be serious about something (“this essay was a joke—are you taking the piss”?). Taking the piss out of your friends can be done as part of banter.

89. Tenner

A £10 note.

90. The dog’s bollocks

Something or someone that is the best it/they could be. “Our new defender’s the dog's bollocks”. “That new chippy is the dog's bollocks”.

91. The local

A pub that may be your closest or just your regular favorite. For some reason, you don’t “go to” the local—you “go/are down” the local. “He’ll be down the local”.

92. Tidy

Used in Wales to mean "fantastic". The Welsh clearly place a high value on tidiness.

93. Ting

A thing, person or even a situation, this is a great multi-purpose word. Coming originally from Caribbean English, it’s most prevalent in London. Can be combined with other slang for extra effect: “Check out that peng ting over there fam”.

94. Toff

A pejorative term for someone from the upper classes of British society.

95. Tosser

Similar to a pillock, a tosser is someone who is annoying or a bit of an idiot. Calling someone a tosser to their face won’t normally go down well.

96. Wagwan (or wagwarn)

Imported from Jamaica to the streets of London, this reduced form of "what’s going on" is used as a greeting between friends.

97. Wanker

This classic British insult literally means that someone masturbates, but is used much like pillock and tosser. It is not considered appropriate for use in polite company.

98. Wankered

Usually used together with "completely", this means to be drunk. “I got completely wankered last night”.

99. Wasteman

A London street insult which seemingly is derived from the idea of someone who is wasting their lives or is a waste of space.

100. Wee

A Scottish classic which is also popular in Northern Ireland. It means "little", but can be added to almost everything. “That’s a lovely wee doggie you’ve got there”.


Now you’re definitely ready to stream that new British TV show or blend in with the locals on your next trip to the UK. Did I miss any of your favorite British slang off the list? Let us know in the comments.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Samuel Green, Marketing Writer at Wix

Samuel Green, Marketing Writer at Wix

I like languages, puns and rappers.

<![CDATA[What Does “PS” Mean and How to Use It in a Letter or Email]]>https://www.wix.one/wordsmatter/blog/2020/10/what-does-ps-mean/5f69df355064790017433443Tue, 06 Oct 2020 14:50:32 GMTJonathan SitbonWhat Does “PS” Mean and How to Use It in a Letter or Email

So, you find yourself wanting to add a PS to the end of your email or letter. A somewhat vintage gesture that’s made its way into pop culture thanks to the Beatles’ hit, “P.S. I Love You”, and that Cecelia Ahern novel under the same title.

But, when it comes to adding this acronym to your email, what’s the right way to go about it? Not to mention, what does it even mean?

"PS" stands for the Latin phrase post scriptum, which literally translates to “after text”.
Both "PS" and "P.S." are correct. The decision to add periods may depend on the style guide you follow, your audience, and ultimately, your own preferences.
Periods or no periods, "PS" should always be capitalized.

What does “PS” mean in a letter or email?

PS means “postscript”. This acronym comes from the Latin term post scriptum, literally meaning “after text”. Back when people used to handwrite or typewrite letters (and trusted they’d reach their intended audience), PS allowed the writer to include an additional thought, after the letter has been crafted and signed.

Today, PS is still very much in use—both in handwritten letters and emails. Now that you can edit your messages without starting from scratch, including PS is purely stylistic. It’s a great way to leave a personal note at the end, add a touch of humor or reveal an inner truth. You can even add a PPS, meaning “post-post-scriptum”—for the writer with extra afterthoughts.

Examples of “PS” in letters

PS, a sentiment just as important as “Dear,” if not more cherished. Here are a few examples in history of famous people using PS in a letter.

Example 1: ,Elizabeth Taylor to Richard Burton (1973)

My darling (my still) My husband,

I wish I could tell you of my love for you, of my fear, my delight, my pure animal pleasure of you — (with you) — my jealousy, my pride, my anger at you, at times. Most of all my love for you, and whatever love you can dole out to me — I wish I could write about it but I can't. I can only 'boil and bubble' inside and hope you understand how I really feel.

Anyway I lust thee, Your (still) Wife.

P.S. O'Love, let us never take each other for granted again!

P.P.S. How about that — 10 years!

Example 2: ,Elvis Presley to President Nixon (1970)

Dear Mr. President:


I am glad to help just so long as it is kept very private. You can have your staff or whomever call me anytime today, tonight or tomorrow. I was nominated this coming year one of America's Ten Most Outstanding Young Man. That will be in January 18 in my home town of Memphis, Tennessee. I am sending you a short autobiography about myself so you can better understand this approach. I would love to meet you just to say hello if you're not too busy.


Elvis Presley

P.S. I believe that you, Sir, were one of the Top Ten Outstanding Men of America Also.

I have a personal gift for you which I would like to present to you and you can accept it or I will keep it for you until you can take it.

Example 3: ,Steve Martin to fan, Jerry Carlson (1979) (personalized fan mail)

DEAR Jerry,






How to format “PS”

Now that we’ve covered the meaning of PS and a few examples, let’s drill down a bit. What should you do when including this small, yet meaningful addition to your next email or letter?

1. You should always write PS in all caps, no matter what your country or style guide is.

2. Periods or no periods? It depends on the style guide you or your editor follows:

  • Merriam-Webster, the Chicago Manual of Style and the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) say the correct format is PS, capitalized and without periods.
  • The Cambridge Dictionary recommends PS as the British spelling and P.S. as the American one.
  • The New York Times uses P.S.

So, both PS and P.S. are correct—up to you to decide if you want to add the periods or not, based on your style guide, audience, and ultimately, personal preferences.

P.S. I prefer capitalizing it with periods because it looks more letter-like and just feels right. And isn’t that what a P.S. is all about, an extra feeling you just gotta add?

Using “PS” in emails: Cool or old-school?

Since modern technology allows us to add any extra info to our emails, what’s the point of having a PS? Shouldn’t you just edit the email to include it? Well, not necessarily.

PS is a stylistic effect that directs your reader’s attention to something specific—maybe even the most important part of your email. According to Professor Siegfried Vogele in Handbook of Direct Mail: Dialogue Methods, the PS can actually be what your audience reads first, not last. Because after all, who doesn’t want to know what you’re really thinking? PS is also very human, which is why it’s used as a popular sales tactic in ,email marketing. Adding a PS to the end of an email can help create a clear call-to-action, show off a brand’s personality and leave a memorable final note.

So, should you use it in your next personal or professional email? Unless it feels off-brand or inappropriate, like a formal email to your boss or a product update to users, then why not? Ultimately, the PS is like an extra scene at the end of the credits. It feels like a gift. One only the reader should be privy to knowing.

Looking to create a blog? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

Netanya Bushewsky, Wix Partners Marketing Content Team Lead

Netanya Bushewsky, Wix Partners Marketing Content Team Lead

Canadian born and raised, classic romantic and forever fascinated by the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Lattes, do they even contain pumpkin?).