Tag Archives: essay

My Dad’s love of words, and the effect on me!

Charles (Chas) Hayden

Over the years, I have been very much inspired by my father (Charles Stanley Hayden). He had a great fascination for words and at the meal table he often quizzed the family on aspects of vocabulary. He loved doing crosswords and seemed to do them most days. From an early age, I remember dad working on the New Zealand Herald crossword puzzle. He would call out clues to get me and other family members involved in the activity. He loved words, especially the rarer ones.

He tried his best to do anagram crossword puzzles but he just couldn’t get the hang of them. One of his friends at school was Mr Clyde Vautier of Gisborne, who went on to complete his BA at Victoria University in Wellington. When I was a boy I recall Mr Vautier visiting us in Tauranga and giving dad tips on how to do this type of crossword, but to no long-term avail!

At school, I had to write essays. In those days, English wasn’t my strong subject: I was a “science man”. (As a 12 year old, I managed to find the formula for gunpowder in a library book, and proceeded to make it in a test-tube at home. My ingredients weren’t very pure and the experiment was a failure, very fortunately, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here to tell the tale.) But I diverge from the essay writing. I couldn’t get inspired to write the essay so I asked dad if he could help me. He did. I think a lot of the essay was written by him, although it was in my handwriting. But when I got it back from the teacher, the teacher was quite surprised at all the big words that “I” had come up with. I think he may have suspected I’d had some help. (I learnt my lesson on plagiarism then, and as far as I know I’ve never indulged in it since!) One word I remember my dad loved to use was the word ‘pertain’ even although much more common words would do just as well!

Looking back, it’s surprising that my dad was so good at English, and vocabulary in particular, though he had only gone up to Standard 6 or 7 (age 12) at school. But he loved to read. One of his favourite books was the historical novel, Mutiny on the Bounty (published in 1932, when dad was 18 years old), based on the mutiny against Captain William Bligh in 1789.

My dad’s fascination with words seemed to have rubbed off onto me: a few years back I completed an MA (Applied Linguistics) thesis on “The Linguistic Ecology of Academic Words in Different Subject Fields”[1]. I dedicated that piece of work to my dad, as he had died a few months prior to my completing it. Since that time, I have dedicated much of my life to helping students in the Middle East, Asia and New Zealand to enhance their proficiency in written and spoken English.

[1] Hayden, R. (1995). The linguistic ecology of academic words in different subject fields (Master’s thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand). Retrieved from https://www.librarycat.org/lib/SLALS-VUW/item/99770343


Capital Letters Matter

Capital Letters

Today’s post focuses on Capital Letters. In written English there are several rules controlling the use of capital letters. These include the following:

  • the first letter of a sentence is always capitalised

For example: Locals say that the fort was built by Portuguese soldiers.

  • names of people, countries, nationalities, places, organisations, days, months, titles of address always start with capital letters

For example:

In Dhofar, the southernmost region of the Sultanate of Oman, monsoon rains generally fall from late June until the end of August.

In 1963 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I have a dream speech”.

  • the personal pronoun, I, is always capitalised

For example: Yung Yung and I discussed the timing of the OCF meeting.

  • titles of books, songs, movies have the content words capitalised

For example: Khan is King

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

A Tale of Two Cities

How Great Thou Art

  • abbreviations

For example: OECD, UNTSO, NGO

If you have a document you need proofread use our no-obligation assessment service (CLICK HERE for details), including checking for capitals!.

Can I get a third party to proofread my university thesis?

Students are sometimes hesitant to employ a proofreader to check their thesis or dissertation. I have looked through the policies of universities in New Zealand, and have discovered that the universities themselves expect, and even encourage, students to get people other than themselves to proofread their work. However, each university has a slightly different policy about third party proofreaders, and what they can and can’t do.

The universities whose policies I examined are: University of Waikato, University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, Victoria University of Wellington, and University of Otago.

For details of their policies refer to the following webpage on this site: Policies on Proofreading Theses.

Note well that when proofreading your work I will make sure I meet the requirements of your university or institution, whether it is in New Zealand or anywhere else. See home page for details: Professional Document Editing.

How to edit your paper

Here are some useful tips on how to edit your own assignment, report or paper:


If you still need help after this, do get in touch with me:



How to edit your own paper or essay

Want to edit your own essay?

Not sure where to begin?

Here is an excellent article to point you in the right direction:


If you need further help, do get in touch with me: Professional Document Editing