‘These Types Of’ vs. ‘Like These’

This video clip about typing is a funny way to call attention to a concern I have about  a particular use of the word type. (For clip, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypDwh2ShJ6A. Alert: I suggest watching the clip only after reading the rest of this short post. Clicking on the link may take you away from the post.) Something I read […]

‘The Majority of’ vs. ‘Most’

    We were recently reminded of a wordy phrase that we see and hear way too often: “the majority of ….” Example: “in the majority of cases …” Here are a few others, found on the internet: “the majority of the cookies,” “the majority of the population,” “the majority of the rain,” “the majority […]

‘Peek’ vs. ‘Peak’ vs. ‘Pique’

Peaks of the Grand Tetons, Wyoming, USA Peek – peak – pique: three words that sound alike (homophones) but have entirely different meanings. Peek means to take a quick look. Peak means the summit of a mountain. Pique means to stimulate interest, e.g., “to pique someone’s curiosity.” (Pique, when used in the passive voice, can […]

‘The Point Being Is That …’

How often have you heard people say “the point being is that …”? Or “the reason being is that …”? Do these phrases make sense? At Pen-for-Rent, we hear them a lot, but what they tell us is that the speaker is a little careless with his or her use of language. Why? Because “being” […]


Ever notice how, more and more these days, people say and write “next week Wednesday” or “next week Thursday,” etc.? It wasn’t long ago that we’d never see or hear a phrase like that. People always said, simply, “next Wednesday,” “next Thursday,” etc. I wonder why so many of us are now in the habit […]

‘SomeWHAT’ vs. ‘SomeTHING’

This week, I’m going to shift gears and turn back to a writing-related topic from the stories I’ve been posting in recent weeks. It’s a usage issue that has long bugged me: The misuse of SOMEWHAT for SOMETHING. It grates on my editorial ear: For example, “This beautiful old car is somewhat of a classic.” We […]

Track Record

“Track record.” This expression bugs us at Pen-for-Rent. It pops up everywhere that people wish to point out an individual’s history of accomplishments – in other words, his/her “record.” Why “track record”? Is the discussion about a race horse? That’s right, it appears that it was folks involved in horse racing who contributed this shopworn […]

Courthouse Square Reunified – More Than the Sum of Two Halves

I wrote this article in December 2015 for the 2016 edition of the annual Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce directory (aka the Santa Rosa Community Resource and Business Guide), which was published this week. Text begins beneath photo “Charming” … “tempting” … “idyllic” … “stunning” … “a jewel” … “a delight” … “great for families […]

Seven Centuries of ‘Sex, Lies But No Videotape’

A book whose contents I’ve been editing on and off over the past year and a half has now been published. Pancheri – Our Story is the life’s avocational work of an extraordinary guy, now a friend, Gene Pancheri, a retired chemical engineer living in Cincinnati, who discovered his family’s roots in a sub-Alpine valley […]

Capturing a Voice

Clients often tell me I’ve captured their voice in, for example, ghost-written speeches or newspaper opinion pieces (op-eds). The funny thing is that I have no idea how to capture someone’s voice and never spend time or effort trying to do so. What I do instead is simply write as clearly, concisely and engagingly as […]