Category: Effective Writing

Punctuation or Chaos

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at 9:43 am

She said I saved the company No one knows for sure what the above sentence means. It consists of six everyday words, and the first five are monosyllables, yet this simple declarative sentence has at least three quite different meanings—maybe more, because with no period on the end, the reader can’t even be sure the …

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Words in Flux

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, at 9:30 am

The words we’ll examine today highlight the rift between language purists and less-fussy people who just want to get their point across. You probably can guess which side we are on. Podium  This word might not mean what you think it means. A podium is not a stand with a slanted top for notes or …

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Media Watch

Posted on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at 3:19 pm

Let’s begin this installment of “Media Watch” with a headline we could do without: • “Manning and Co. bring in ’da noise” Did you catch it? Why the apostrophe? It should not be there unless one or more letters are omitted from the front of da (like the missing be in ’cause). That’s not the …

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Pleonasms Are a Bit Much

Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at 2:38 pm

The term pleonasm comes from pleonazein, a Greek word that means “more than enough.” When you use a pleonasm, you are repeating yourself. The jolly man was happy is a pleonasm: The man was happy says the same thing without the unnecessary addition of “jolly.” Serious writers want to make their point with a minimum …

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Resolutions for Word Nerds

Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, at 11:09 am

Below you’ll find our New Year’s resolutions for self-appointed guardians of the English language. We language cops need our own code of ethics to protect us from ourselves and shield others from our self-righteousness. The Stickler’s Ten Commandments for 2016 1) Thou shalt proofread. Proofreading your work is a dying art—but why is that? Do …

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