Category: Effective Writing

Composing with Conjunctive Adverbs

Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Many of us probably use conjunctive adverbs without being aware we’re doing so. Further understanding their role aids our precision with their inclusion in our writing. Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs that connect related main (independent) clauses. They provide a transition between sentences, typically by comparing and contrasting statements or demonstrating cause and effect. They include …

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Play It Again, Sam

Posted on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at 11:00 pm

It has been a while since our last pronunciation column, so here's another group of familiar words whose traditional pronunciations may surprise you. (Note: capital letters denote a stressed syllable.) Antarctica  Like the elusive first r in February, the first c in this word is often carelessly dropped: it's ant-ARC-tica, not ant-AR-tica. Err  Since to err is to make an error, …

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Digging Out Extra Details, Clauses, and Words

Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Writers often walk the fine line of how much information to include in a sentence. What qualifies as too much? We want to include only the details and words that will leave a central point or image clear without slowing the way. Consider the following sentences: On the night of December 25-26, 1776, General George …

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Practicing Parallelism

Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Parallelism is the use of consistent grammatical structures in a series of two or more items to assist ease of reading and understanding. We touched briefly on this topic in Parallel Construction and Effective Writing. We’ll revisit it here with additional detail. Let’s start by considering the following sentences: In October, we plan to build …

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Singular They Part III

Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Thank you to the many readers who commented thoughtfully on both How Did They Get in Here? (July 3, 2019) and How Can They Be Singular? (July 31, 2019). Today we'll wind up our discussion of the singular they, including modern arguments for its use. When we ran this series in 2015, we received little …

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