Monday, December 9, 2013

Today's Writing Tip Is on Slang

Sometimes we're not sure how to spell slang words. Is it gonna and wanna, goo’ night, yer mother, and hook up? What about profanity? God damn right or goddamn right? Can you spell the word boys as boyz if you want to give it a hip-hop feel? Should we just guess and standardize our diction using a style sheet? Urban dictionary to the rescue!

There are a number of excellent slang dictionaries online that tell us the proper way to spell phat (no, I'm not talking about that feeling of despair when you stand on the scale), innit (British), and other words that may not appear in traditional dictionaries. And like Merriam-Webster,, or Collins Gage, these dictionaries are individualized for the US, Canada, and the UK.

Actually, it can be fun to just browse these dictionaries to find new words, but they're also very useful to have in our toolkit when we come up against slang or swear words that we know how to say but we're not completely sure how to spell.

Sigrid Macdonald is an editor and the author of three books. Her last book, Be Your Own Editor, is available on Amazon: and you can read more about her editing services at  

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