Category: Effective Writing

Becoming Savvy with Sentence Structures: Part One

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 11:00 pm

The art of writing resembles any trade that begins with the basics and evolves into skillful applications of them. A key component of precise and eloquent composition is understanding sentence structures. English comprises four foundational sentence constructions: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. In part one of our discussion, we’ll review simple and compound sentences. Simple …

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Overseeing Omissions in Writing

Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Sometimes in our writing or speaking we will drop a word or words that are needed for grammatical completeness, but they are still understood when they are left out. Examples Do you think [that] she is correct? His brother and [his] attorney, Chris, will represent him. I tend to watch football more than [I watch] …

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Nuggets from Ol’ Diz

Posted on Monday, March 25, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Let’s welcome baseball season with this item by our late veteran copy editor and word nerd Tom Stern. Baseball’s back. I realize a lot of people don’t care. To them, sports fans are knuckle draggers who probably also read comic books while chewing gum with their mouths open. But baseball isn’t called “the grand old …

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Detaining the Double Negative

Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 11:00 pm

We recently reviewed how negative constructions both serve English expression and muddy it more than positive constructions will. Another aspect of English negation that deserves a closer look is the double negative. To convey something is incorrect or untrue, English offers words such as no, not, nothing, barely, scarcely, and hardly, as well as terms with cancelling prefixes such as improbable and …

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I’ll Be Hanged! Or, Have I Just Gone Missing?

Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at 11:00 pm

GONE MISSING Several readers responded to our recent article The Media Made Me Do It, which asked for alternatives to gone missing. Interestingly, the overwhelming choice was to simply replace the phrase with is missing or has been missing. This is fine in many, perhaps most, cases, e.g., The man was missing instead of The man went missing. But it’s no help at all …

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