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 from the OED, Economist, Atlantic, Guardian, TIME, Telegraph, Baltimore Sun, and elsewhere. In 2014 I co-founded Strong Language, a blog about the culture and linguistics of swearing. I’m also on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and LibraryThing.
You can e-mail me if you want something written, edited, or proofread, or just to say hello. There’s more information on my editing and proofreading website. I get a lot of grammar questions – too many to make a habit of answering them, though I do so when I can.
From 2010 to 2020 I wrote a regular column for Macmillan Dictionary. I’ve written for the Guardian, History Today, Merriam-Webster, Stinging Fly, Irish Times, Slate, Mental Floss, ELT Journal, Fortnightly Review, Visual Thesaurus, English Matters, TheJournal.ie, Emphasis Training, CruiseTimes, Time Traveller, Irish Vintage Scene, Offpress, Anglo Files, and others.
Blog comments are welcome, and are never judged for their grammar. (I’m in editor mode only when editing, and even then I’m not judgemental.) Unless otherwise stated, all writing and photography are © Stan Carey. Thank you for visiting.