Welcome to PBwriter’s website

Free English language lessons and advice for native and ESOL speakers and writers

If, like me, you care about language, writing and words, then welcome to my site. I wrote it because I like to help people batter the English language into a manageable form. That applies to second-language speakers just as much as native speakers, and I was trained to teach both at secondary school level. You can find out a little bit more about what interests me here.

The posts are rewrites  of some of my technical lessons. The material was useful when I was advising more mature writers by editing or proofing their written work. I’ve published some of the advisory material used for editing and proofing on the site, too.

The material might be useful to you if you want to improve your writing, or might interest you because there’s something new to learn, or might teach you some old stuff in a new way. I use guidelines, not rules: I want to understand why a bit of grammar or usage is the accepted norm and when I can do something different to make a point. I like to discuss the reasons why something is the way it is rather than shout at people to “just DO it“. I love etymology and peeling apart the structure of words. I hope there’s something here to interest or enlighten you.

The language posts can be browsed and searched. If an internal hot-link is not active (updates can sometimes break links) menus and category post lists are always visible. If you wish to ask a question or challenge the information or request that  comments on a post be turned on to start a discussion, please use the Contact page and tell me what you want.


The eagle-eyed will have quickly worked out that I approve of the Oxford comma. If you’re unsure what that means,, have a look at the Punctuation category under Language or go straight to comma, Oxford .

Editing, language and writing