Monthly Archives: February 2017

Mucus or mucous?

I haven’t posted a Troublesome Pair for ages but I’ve had this one up my sleeve (erm, no, I haven’t, that would be disgusting!) for ages and hadn’t got round to posting it. With a Birmingham Cough going the rounds still, this seemed a seasonal post; my apologies to the more sensitive reader. It is a valid and troublesome pair, though!

Mucus is the noun, i.e. the thing itself: slimy stuff that gets secreted by animals and even plants (it’s more commonly known as mucilage in plants, though mucilage is also, in general a viscous bodily fluid or secretion).

Mucous is the adjective – so mucous membranes secrete mucus, for example.

Bonus word: mucilaginous is the adjective that goes with mucilage. I bet you’re glad you asked, aren’t you!

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


Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


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How do I add or remove auto captions in Word 2010, 2013 and 2016?

The impetus for this post came from Ana Chavez, who emailed me to ask how to remove automatic captions that were appearing whenever she inserted a Table into Word. I couldn’t work out what was going on, and she kindly messaged me when she found out. Thank you, Ana, for your kindness in getting back to me!

This post covers Word 2010, 2013 and 2016 for PC and the images are from Word 2013. The solution may differ with Word for Mac.

What is auto captioning in Word?

Automatic captioning or auto captioning is a feature which adds a caption to any table (or other item) you insert into your Word document. It looks like this:

automatic caption on table

Here, I have inserted a table and the beginning of a caption has already appeared.

This is actually very useful, as it will remind you to add your captions and also sort out the numbering for you as you go along (you can make choices just as you do when inserting a caption manually – see this post for full information on that). However, my original question was about removing these – so this article covers both removing and adding auto captions.

How do I add / remove automatic table captions?

You can find the caption options in the Reference tab, in the captions section:

caption menu word

To access Auto Captions, first click on Insert Caption. This will give you the standard dialogue box allowing you to insert a caption:

auto caption menu in word

At the bottom of this dialogue box is the AutoCaption button. Press this to access AutoCaption options:

autocaption options

If you have found this article because you want to stop Word auto captioning, you will probably find one of these boxes ticked, and it’s probably Add caption when inserting … Microsoft Word Table. However, you can see from this screenshot that you can automatically add a caption to pretty much anything.

You can also see that you can automate the label, position and numbering system just like you can in the Insert Caption dialogue box when you’re doing it manually. However, doing it this way will automate the whole process. Your caption will appear automatically, as we saw in the first picture, and you just have to type in your caption text.

Once you have chosen your options, click OK and your AutoCaptioning will work as you want until you turn it off again.

How do I remove AutoCaption?

If you want to remove automatic captioning, un-tick whichever box is ticked:

no autocaption in word

Now press OK, and you will have removed automatic captioning.

This article has explained how to add or remove auto captioning in Word 2010, Word 2013 and Word 2016. If you’ve found it helpful, please comment below or use the sharing buttons to share it!

Related articles on this blog

Table of figures and table of tables

How to create a two-line figure caption and a one-line entry in the table of figures


Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Word, Writing


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How do I cancel a Facebook event?

This article on how to cancel a Facebook event follows on from How Do I Create A Facebook Event? and other posts on Facebook events you can find links to below.

Why would I want to cancel a Facebook event?

There are as many reasons why you need to cancel a Facebook event as there are reasons why you would cancel the event itself. If you want to remove an event from Facebook (and tell the attendees it is cancelled), this article explains how.

How do I cancel my Facebook event?

You will find the button for cancelling an event when you Edit the event. Click on the Edit button on the right-hand side of the screen:

edit a facebook event to cancel it

Right down at the bottom, you will see Cancel Event: click on the words:

cancel facebook event

This is the Confirm Cancellation screen. You will see a few options:

confirm cancellation of facebook event

You can choose between two options and an extra bonus option:

  • If you choose to Cancel Event, Facebook will tell the guests that it has been cancelled, but people can still post on the event. Click the radio button next to this option to select it.
  • If you chose Cancel Event, you can also add a post to the event with the reason for cancelling in your own words: just type in the free-text box.
  • If you choose to Delete Event, Facebook will tell the guests that it has been cancelled, and then the event and everything everyone has posted in the event will disappear

Once you have chosen your option, click the Confirm button to confirm the cancellation. Clicking Cancel will cancel the cancellation – the event won’t be cancelled. Confusing, I know. So confirm the cancellation unless you’ve changed your mind.

cancelled event

If you have cancelled – rather than deleted – the event, it will still appear in your Events feed, but it shows clearly that it’s cancelled. People can still post messages, which can be useful. You can’t edit it any further.

This article has explained how to cancel your Facebook event.

Related posts on this blog

How Do I Create A Facebook Event?

How Do I Communicate With The People Attending My Facebook Event?

How Do I Change The Time Of My Facebook Event?

All articles about Facebook


Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Facebook



Warn or worn?

DictionariesThis one was suggested by my friend Linda quite a long time ago; I have revived these Troublesome Pairs posts yet again, so watch out for some good ones coming up over the next few weeks.

This is a tricky one for those who get vowels mixed up; often people coming to English from a language that doesn’t mark vowels in the same way, such as Arabic, can get caught out by all our very similar words, especially when they sound almost the same.

To warn, a verb, means to alert someone about something which is about to happen, usually bad. You can issue a warning (the noun) or be warning (verb) someone about the problem.

Worn is the past tense of wear OR an adjective arising from it, and both words have two meanings: to have on the body, as in clothes (I will wear a hat today) or to do with erosion and damage through constant use or friction, etc. (the water of the river has worn through the rock to make a valley; I have an old, worn book that has been damaged by years of use).

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


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How do I change the time of my Facebook event?

This article on how to change the time of my Facebook event follows on from How Do I Create A Facebook Event? and How Do I Communicate With The People Attending My Facebook Event? and actually covers the question I asked in the first place when I had created a Facebook event but needed to change the time.

Why is it so hard to change the time of a Facebook event?

It isn’t actually difficult at all to change the time of your event, however it is not obvious or intuitive. We’re used to getting drop-down menus or calendars or options when we try to edit an event in a calendar, but Facebook (currently) does it a bit differently.

How do you edit a Facebook event?

Once you have set up an event, you can edit it at any time by clicking the Edit button on the right of the screen:

How to edit a Facebook event

This takes you into the edit screen. Here you can add a photo, change the name, add a location and change the date and time.

Here’s the confusing part. If you want to change the date, click on the calendar icon and a calendar sheet will come up where you can select the date:

Edit date of a facebook event

However, when you click on the time, all you will get is the hour or minute section highlighted. Nothing to drop down, no arrows, no clock. This has confused many people.

change the time on a facebook event

However, all you need to do is click on that highlight and use your number keypad or top row numbers to type in your new number. If you want it to read 8:30, start by highlighting the hour and typing 8.

It’s not completely simple, though. Once you get to the minutes, the numbers move along the field like the numbers on a till – so if you highlight :00 and press the 3 key, this will happen:

change facebook event time

and you actually have to type 30 to get it to read 30 and not 03. I don’t know about you, but I expected the cursor to be at the beginning, so you could just type a 3 and get 30.

Anyway, there you go – click Save and there’s your date changed:

change time facebook ok

This article has explained how to change the time of a Facebook event.

Related posts on this blog

How Do I Create A Facebook Event?

How Do I Communicate With The People Attending My Facebook Event?

How do I cancel a Facebook event?

All articles about Facebook


Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Facebook



Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Small business chat update – Jane Badger

We’re welcoming the lovely Jane Badger from Jane Badger proofreading and editing (she’s also a writer) to the series again today. We first met Jane in November 2013 and updated ourselves on her new business venture in December 2014 when she’d launched her editing business full time. When we updated again in January 2016 and I asked her where she wanted to be by now, she replied, “Still growing, I hope”. Short and to the point, then! Let’s see how she’s doing now. 

Hello again, Jane! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Pretty much. Growth has been unspectacular, but growth there has been — at least on the proofreading and editing side. My regular clients are all still sending me work, and the fact they are expanding is helping me too.

I followed through on my plan to look at my continuing profession development, and took a series of courses run by the SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders). That meant I could upgrade my membership of the SfEP to intermediate level, which was very satisfying!

Writing is in an in between state. Writing anything has been difficult, as the increasing volume of paid work means it is difficult to devote the time to it that it needs. However, I’ve found an interest in railways that surprised me: I haven’t become a train spotter, but have started putting some pieces together on the horses who worked on the railway, and the people who worked with them. One blog piece, on women, railway horses and the war, hit a spark, and was my most successful blog piece of the year.

I have also managed to complete a couple of smaller research projects that I’d been wanting to look at: horse stories published during World War II, and the horse stories published by Puffin books. The World War II project I did for a conference on girl’s fiction. I’d just about managed to retain my knowledge of how to present things from when I used to teach, so it went reasonably well.

On the academic front, I was also part of a conference run by the University of Cambridge on horse stories: Pony Tales: Writing the Equine. That was an excellent event, where KM Peyton (author of the Flambards series) and Meg Rosoff (Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner 2016) spoke.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Speaking at conferences was another of those things that I had thought were well behind me, so it was good that those opportunities came up.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I’ve learned to say no to clients! I recently turned down a large and lucrative book edit because I felt the book was not yet in a state where it could be edited. I’ve also become better at recognising red flags for when clients might prove tricky: for example, a prospective new client initially said they were happy to wait for me to be able to fit their work in, but when they sent their test edit chapter, it very soon became obvious that waiting for me was precisely not what they were prepared to do. I politely declined the opportunity of working with them.

At last, I managed to go to a local networking event where I met actual people rather than communicating over the internet. My plan is to carry on with local networking now that I have faced the fear and done it. One really useful thing that emerged from the event is that it’s not just about getting business for yourself, but also about looking out for the interests of everyone in the room.

I’ve also set up a backup for when I can’t take work on, for whatever reason, and that’s worked well. I find it does give clients more faith in you if they know you can recommend someone else who is as good as (or better!) than you.

What do I wish I’d known a year ago?

I am always learning, and clients always provide something new for you to learn about. Fortunately, I am a member of a couple of internet-based groups who are very good at providing support and help if you have a problem.

What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?

If you are an introvert, what do you find helps you to get out there and network?

Any more hints and tips for people?

Get out there and look for support and help in whatever form it comes, whether it’s local business networking groups, or internet-based groups.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

I’m hoping to have some local clients.

The SfEP courses I did were really worthwhile, and my plan is to work on upgrading to advanced membership through doing more training courses, looking in particular at developing my editing skills.

I will get the rights back to Heroines on Horseback, my book on pony books, later this year, so am investigating how I’m going to proceed with that. Whatever I do, it will be a steep learning curve, so I’m looking forward to that. The Society of Authors runs workshops on e-book publishing, so I’m planning on doing one of those.

Fabulous progress from Jane here. To pick up on a couple of points, it’s SO important to learn to say no – and so difficult. When you’ve only been going a few years, you tend to say yes to everything, just in case it all goes away. But saying no is important – both for you and the client, if you’re not going to be a good fit – and listening to that gut feeling is also vital. In addition, having a back-up is, in my opinion, vital. I have a list of people (including Jane!) who I refer clients on to if it’s not a good fit or I can’t get them into the schedule, and have a couple of people who cover my work in case of illness or holiday. Well done, Jane, and I’ll look forward to seeing how you get on this year.

Find Jane’s website at

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 


Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat


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How do I communicate with people coming to my Facebook event?

This article follows on from How Do I Create A Facebook Event? and you should read that one first if you’re starting out on the process. Today we’re talking about how to communicate to the guests who are attending your Facebook event.

How can I get in touch with people attending my Facebook event?

There are two ways to do this: add a post to the event, or message attendees.

Adding a post to the event

Once you’ve created an event, when you go into the event page, you will find that it looks quite like a normal Facebook newsfeed. On the left-hand side, you will find an option to Write Post / Add Photo/Video or Create Poll (you can create a poll to find out people’s music or food preferences, for example).

Type your message into the text box and hit Post and your message will be visible on the event page.


You can use the drop-down arrow that appears in the top right to “pin” your post to the top of the event newsfeed if it’s important.

Who will see this message? Anyone who visits the event page and people whose notification settings are set to send them posts in events they’re attending.

Where will you see replies? Anyone can reply to your post and all comments will be visible to everyone who is invited to a private event or who looks at a public event.

Messaging your guests

There is also an option to send a Facebook Message to your guests.

On the right-hand side, under the list of guests who are attending, you will find a Message Guests link:


When you click on the link, you have the option to select the group of people who are going, those who have replied maybe and those you have invited but who haven’t responded. So this is a good way to remind people to reply, as well as to send messages onto to those people who are attending.


Write your message at the bottom of the screen, tick Send as group message and press Send, just like you would when using a standard Facebook Message.

Who will see this message? Only the people in the particular group you’ve selected, so it’s useful if you want to tell people something without telling the whole world, or chivvy along invitees who haven’t yet responded.

Where will you see replies? Replies will appear in the Facebook Messenger session that you’ve set up by doing this.

This article has explained how to get in touch with people attending your Facebook event.

Related posts on this blog

How Do I Create A Facebook Event?

How do I change the time of my Facebook event?

How do I cancel a Facebook event?

All articles about Facebook


Posted by on February 2, 2017 in Facebook