"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Writing Right!---A Guest Post by Nikola Hartmann









”Every Student Should Own a Dictionary.”

You can imagine my humiliation when I read those words on a report I’d hastily written for a high school chemistry class. And though this incident occurred roughly 30 years ago, the memory still makes me cringe.
Since then, I always take the time to proofread my work three, four, and even five times. And still I occasionally overlook a misspelled word or use one in the wrong context.

In my travels around the web and even in print, I notice that I’m not alone in my struggle to conquer the comma or defeat the dangling participial.
We, writers sometimes forget that using our word processor’s spell checker is not the same as editing. I love technology as much as the next girl. But when it comes to finalizing my work, I prefer the old-fashioned way.

Here is a simple guide to help you catch potential “hiccups” before they find their way into print.
i.e. or e.g? Know the Difference.
i.e. is Latin for id est. It means that is or in other words. For example: “The standard rate, i.e., $25.00 is still in use.”

The abbreviation e.g. stands for the Latin words exempli gratia and means for example. As in, “Don’t forget to pack your toiletries, e.g., toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, deodorant.”
Commonly Misspelled Words.

achieve
caffeine
guarantee
handkerchief
jewelry
liaison
perseverance
rhythm
silhouette
visible

10 Everyday Words That Are Often Misused.
Word Meaning

all ready--- prepared
already--- before now

continual--- repeated
continuous--- constant

desert---- dry, arid land
dessert--- sweet food eaten after a meal

discreet--- careful
discrete--- distinct

eminent---- well-known
imminent--- about to happen

fortuitous---- happen by chance (not necessarily fortunate)
fortunate-- lucky

stationary--- still
stationery-- writing supplies

“Puffspeak”. Avoid using inflated words and jargon-filled expressions.
Puffspeak Conversion

facility--- building
downsizing--- layoffs
impact(v)--- affect
finalize--- finish
methodology--- method
upwardly mobile-- successful
optimal--- best
inoperative--- broken
bottom line--- result

Long-Winded Expressions. Most wordy phrases can be trimmed to two or three words.

Instead of--- Use

at this point and time--- now
by means of--- by
due to the fact--- because
sue is a woman who--- she
rarely ever (double talk)--- rarely
in spite of the fact--- although
with the exception of--- except
all of--- all

Don’t risk losing credibility by submitting so-so work. Check out these free resources when you need help.
Guide to Grammar and Writing
How to Use There, Their and They’re


Any comments on this piece? Did you learn something new?
Do tell. :-)



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8 comments:

  1. Nice list. Writing right builds our credibility, and increases our chances of converting readers into buyers. I really liked how you stressed the importance of avoiding long-winded expressions. So many bloggers do this to try to impress their readers.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  2. Welcome, Michael!

    It's so good to have you here. Nikola and I thank you for your thoughts today.

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  3. Thank you, Nikola and Jennifer for sharing this. I get e.g. and i.e. mixed up, so I avoid using them. :) Great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 10, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    Karen,

    I can dig it! Nobody's perfect. :-)
    Glad we could shed some light...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks to all!

    I really enjoyed researching and writing this piece – and learned a lot in the process.

    Another good resource is “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. It’s the classic guide for anybody who wants to learn how to write clear and uncluttered nonfiction.

    Happy Columbus Day! - Nikola

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  6. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 10, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    Thanks for the suggestion and feedback, Nikola!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi -

    I popped over here from Karen Lange's blog. I can see why she hangs out here - good stuff!

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 4, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks much! We're glad to have you. :-)

    ReplyDelete