Category: Effective Writing

A Really, Really Awesome List

Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at 8:16 pm

We wish to thank newsletter reader Dorothy Rosby for permission to use the clever article she developed after reading our recent posts Worn-Out Words and Phrases: 2017 and its Follow-up post. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.   It’s come to my attention that I use the words awesome and amazing far more often than my …

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Graphic Ignorance

Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, at 10:17 am

TV networks’ graphics departments have long been out of control with their intrusive cluelessness. After 9/11, many cable channels initiated a constant “crawl” of news at the bottom of the screen. The spellbinding stream of words, slow and endless, is perversely distracting. But if you run a news channel, shouldn’t credibility be a front-burner concern? …

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Striking the Surplus from Tautologies (Follow-Up 2)

Posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at 11:09 pm

In response to comments from our readers, last week we revisited our late April newsletter article on tautologies by re-examining vast majority. Today, we’ll conclude our review by looking more closely at two more terms: Contested Tautology #2: Identical Match This noun phrase presents a similar issue to that raised among readers for vast majority. The question lies in whether …

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Striking the Surplus from Tautologies (Follow-Up 1)

Posted on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at 11:26 pm

A newsletter article in late April addressed the matter of the tautology (also known as a pleonasm), the “needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word.” We provided several such examples of overweight phrases and suggested how to trim them back into shape. Several readers responded in defense of certain phrases, sharing that what seemed to be a modifier repeating …

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Putting Out the Patrol for Made-Up Words

Posted on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, at 2:15 pm

Estimates of English’s total word count vary, but linguists agree the number ranks near the top of the world’s vocabularies. A May GrammarBook newsletter article cited English as having as many as 300,000 distinctly usable words. With so many residents in a vernacular, impostors posing as real words are bound to slip in. They start as mistakes …

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