Monthly Archives: April 2016

Adapt or adopt? Adaptation or adoption?

This is a Troublesome Pair that I find very commonly in academic writing, across a whole range of writers. It would be expected in people whose native language doesn’t use vowels (I had a very interesting conversation about Arabic-speakers having trouble with vowels in English) but I also find it in native English-speakers (it’s actually fairly uncommon to find both groups making the same errors)

To adopt something means to take it on as it is. For example, Laura might adopt my process of editing a text, then doing a spell check, then using software to check consistency. If the UN adopts a resolution, it means it takes it into its procedures as it is, with no changes. If you adopt a dog from a shelter, you take it as it is.

To adapt something means to change it according to specific circumstances. For example, Laura might adapt my process by choosing to edit the text, then run the consistency software, then run a spell check. The UN might adapt a resolution to take into account a new world order or the creation of a new country. You might try to adapt your adopted dog’s behaviour if you don’t want it to sit on the sofa.

Adoption therefore means the act of taking on something as it is, while adaptation involves you changing, or you changing something else, to fit the circumstances.

In academic writing, a researcher might well adopt a questionnaire method, but they might adapt someone else’s questionnaire if it needs more questions on widgets and fewer on bath mats, for example.

You can find more troublesome pairs here, and here’s the index to them all!


Tags: , , ,

WordPress tip: How do I allow Likes on comments?

I noticed that lots of other people’s blogs allow you to “Like” comments on a post (as well as Liking the post itself). Because I had to have a little look for it, I thought it would be a useful thing to blog about. So, how do you allow Likes on comments in WordPress?

Note, this applies to blogs, self-hosted blogs may need all or part of a widget to do this.

Why enable “likes” on blog comments?

We’re all used to Liking posts on Facebook and now Twitter. It’s a good way to let the poster know that you’ve seen and approved of what they’ve said, even if you don’t comment.

We can also allow Likes on our WordPress blog posts (for info on how to do that, see this article).

Being able to Like a comment on a blog post means that you can acknowledge it without continuing the conversation infinitely. Other people can also show their appreciation of a particular comment. It adds another thread to the links between you and your commenter.

How do I enable liking on blog comments?

Go to the WordPress dashboard (the original one) and locate the Settings area.

Go to the Sharing menu.

Scroll down until you see the Comment Likes are … section at the very bottom:

Turn on likes on comments in WordPress

Click on On for all comments and Likes will now be available on all comments.

What does Liking look like on blog comments?

Here’s a screenshot from a blog post on my book review blog, showing various nested comments. People can click on the little star to Like the comment:

Likes on blog comments visible

If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful, do please comment and/or use the sharing buttons below this post to share it with other potential readers who might find it useful. Thank you!

Related posts on this blog

How to set up a WordPress blog

How to add pages to make your WordPress blog into a website

How to add images to your WordPress blog posts and pages

How to add slideshows and galleries to your WordPress blog posts and pages

Using the Publicize feature in WordPress

WordPress 7 – adding an avatar picture

WordPress 8 – setting a static landing page

WordPress 9 – setting up a Posts page

Adding links to blog posts – how to do it on the major blogging platforms (and email)

How video can help your blog or website

How to get back to the old WordPress dashboard in


Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Blogging, WordPress


Tags: ,

How to get a good start to your self-employment

handshakeI recently did some consultation work with someone who is exploring moving into being self-employed. He was a shining example of what you should do (in my opinion), even before his chat with me – and it’s inspired me to put down some bullet points that I think give some ideas of good practice for anyone considering starting out in self-employment.

Here’s what Bob has done to get a good start to his self-employed life:

  1. He knows what he wants to do and – crucially – he’s passionate about it.
  2. He’s prepared by saving up some money to live on while he develops his business. This will save him from having to rush into things and make mistakes.
  3. He’s found some mentors, both in his business and outside it in the general small business world.
  4. He’s arranged some work experience with someone in his chosen field.
  5. He’s already understood that it’s not great to do things “for free” – far better to do them for your portfolio, for a reference, for a recommendation.
  6. He’s willing to learn – both his particular skill and about general business principles.
  7. He’s open-minded about where his business might take him and willing to grasp new opportunities.
  8. He’s prepared to outsource and ask for help, e.g. getting a family friend involved in setting up his website.
  9. He’s prepared to be accountable, planning to keep me and maybe some others updated on how he’s doing.
  10. He’s accepted that it’s likely to be an emotional journey, more than any career within a larger organisation usually is.

I think all of these things stand him in good stead for a successful and happy change to self-employment. And there are ten of them – how handy!

If you want to read about how I moved into self-employment and the freelancing life, take a look at my business category on this website, or even my books. No pressure, though – you might just want to take these principles to heart!



Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Business


Tags: ,