Sentence First

Sentence First

Hello! I’m a scientist and writer turned editor and swivel-chair linguist, based in the west of Ireland. Sentence first is my blog about the English language: its usage, grammar, styles, literature, history, and quirks. The title is from a line spoken by the Queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: “Sentence first – verdict afterwards.”

I am interested in how people communicate. Words are powerful tools and deserve careful use, but language usage changes constantly. For formal writing I like the plain style, but because I’ve had love affairs with various kinds of writing, from science writing and travel writing to fiction and poetry, I’m interested in all styles and in the countless ways we express our ideas.

Sentence first began as a pet project but took on a life of its own, and has received favourable mention in the Economist, Guardian, Telegraph,Baltimore Sun, Atlantic, TIME, American Scholar, and elsewhere. I write a regular column for Macmillan Dictionary Blog, and have written forSlate, Merriam-Webster, ELT Journal, The Fortnightly Review, Emphasis writing consultancy,, and the Visual Thesaurus.

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