I’m a reviewer, just want to build on what we’ve done in the past. So here it is again with the addition of this week’s feature:
Week 1, September 2: Comma Splice
Week 2, September 9: Choosing the right word
Week 3, September 16: Avoiding Apostrophe Catastrophe
Week 4, September 24: English grammar and style options. Plus proofreading tools.
Week 5, September 30: Cranky: that’s what I am! Misuse of the colon.
Week 6, October 8: Wordiness
Today, I thought we would continue with some common mistakes as we use the proofreading tools. It was suggested to use some more examples, so that is what I hope to do. I’m going to use myself and my common mistakes!
First of all, I’ve discovered the free “Grammarly browser extension.” It claims to help you write mistake-free in Gmail, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr, Linkedin and anywhere you write on the web. I like it as a basic tool. It slows me down and helps me find dumb mistakes. I fancied myself at being grammatically correct – most of the time. And now I see, I’m not all that and am learning more and more. Here is a typical response to my writing one blog, 13 writing issues! So let’s look at them, one by one.
Wordiness: Oh, that’s me all right. I can go on and on and I do see that I enjoy shorter blog posts. So exactly what does this mean:
While repetition and elaboration are fine tools for drawing the reader’s attention to a certain point, you don’t want to go overboard or do it unintentionally.
Also, can you say it in five words instead of fourteen? Then do so. Example of both, going overboard and saying less.
WORDY: We had searched and searched for ideas on where to camp next. We looked at various blogs, websites, even Trip Advisor. Bill is usually the one who has a knack for finding our next stop as he knows all the things we like in a location. The main one being at this time of the year, to go hiking. And finally, he found one that seemed to really suit us and it was the right price.
BETTER: We were so excited about finding this gem of a state park. We couldn’t wait to start exploring, knowing the hikes would be second to none. The price was right and we had such a great site.
Extremely Long Sentences: if you have more than two ideas in a sentence, it may be better to write it as two sentences. Lengthy interruptions or segues should also be written as a separate sentence.
TOO MANY IDEAS: We love to explore and hike when we travel, looking for good exercise and stimulating excursions. as well as we look for museums, historical sites, and discover the main attractions in an area.
BETTER: There are several things we want on our next stop on our travel route. We like areas with opportunities to hike. We also want to learn about the area by visiting museums, historical sites and main attractions.
Big Words: sometimes you just can’t avoid large words (scientific terminology, for instance, can’t be changed). As much as possible, though, use vocabulary that will be understood by all your potential readers.
Thanks to @colettebates, she added this comment, which seems to suit this as an example:
Clearly with the rise of globalisation and writing in English perhaps needing to be suited to non-native non-fluent users of English, then those are important factors to bear in mind. Yet with words such as ‘utilise’, to suggest that one should, in writing, deploy the word ‘use’ instead, might not yield inference and interpretation of the meaning intended. To utilise something is to make use of, not to use, three short words instead of one medium word.
Please feel free to ask for further info or examples. Next time I’m here, we’ll look at passive voice!