English is a very powerful language and sometimes we forget how damaging a simple error can be. Peter is today bringing to your attention a few of the most recent errors spotted.
This article is a collection of thoughts about writing errors made on Triond owned pages by writers who have all been publishing for some time. Take a look and see which apply to you and think about how you can correct just one error before you publish your next article.
Bad phrasing of sentences is something we all do frequently. Consider the following:
“Who is in an office at some point or another had to be to go to accounting…” and
“…should the iPad be given to for business purposes and educational reasons…”
These are some examples that I have recently encountered. I have NOT included links here as I do not wish to offend these fellow writers in any way (and I am sure that I have committed similar sins in the past and probably will again in the future). It is important to take a little time to re-read and correct the things that you write – do not rush to publication.
Sometimes it is difficult to correct our own bad phrasing, because we see what we originally intended the phrase to say and fail to see what is actually written. I have found that the only way is to take time at the end of the writing phase to stop, walk away for a coffee then try to think as if you are your reader looking at the article for the first time – be a critic and ask the questions “why should I not bin this article right now?” and “what value is the reader getting?”. Even after doing this I know that I have published with errors in place only encountering them when I wish to make a quote from the article.
If your mother tongue is not English and you are writing in English then we all know that you face challenges communicating in this complex language and life is all about communication. We all have to start somewhere, and learn once we have produced our first pieces. Here are a couple of challenges I have noticed here.
Written in English, but, translated literally and directly from a foreign language (probably the writer’s original language). This can mean that an idea is not properly portrayed in the English language. Many other languages miss key English concepts like: of, is, at, to the, from. Many of these prepositions are implied by context of the words in the specific language, yet they are so important to being understood in English. You can certainly fail to convey the right message to your readers by the words that you miss out from sentences.
Another challenge here is that of sentence structure, which can often be reversed when English is compared with some languages. For example “Shops, I am going to” instead of “I am going to the shops”; may be a valid structure for some languages.
Errant capitalisation is an interesting challenge, as shown in the following phrase “…well trained and dedicated, but still fail or failed to advance to their full Potential, because they lack skill in…”, oops. This writer remembers committing this most basic of errors during his teenage years (and still forget if truth be told). Not everything we write is a headline, which is one of the reasons we commit this sin. If you wish to emphasise the word then capitalise it all or apply bold or italics to it.
Being repetitive and repeating a concept in every paragraph in the article can be very boring and off-putting. Honestly we get it if you talk about the concept twice – it is an important topic, but go into the detail at the appropriate time and use “it” or other suitable expressions in your sentences. Life is about communications, yet it is appropriate that we are focused and to the point when expressing ourselves.
Paragraphing on any article is important. Five hundred and thirty seven words is too long for any single paragraph (oh yes I found an article this long published in a single paragraph). Remember the gaps are as important as the idea that is expressed, they give us time to breath and gather our thoughts before going on to the next element. Internet articles are similar to newspaper articles in that pictures add value, they also will be wrapped around advertising – particularly on paid sites like Triond.
When you introduce a concept please think about the lay reader, the person with little or no knowledge of your area of specialisation. If you use a specialist or rare word, then tell us what it means.
Just because you have erred does not mean you should stop writing it should spur you on to do better next time around.
Also see the following articles on this general topic by Peter B. Giblett: