Writing Skills. Reasons Why The English Language Is Hard To Learn . We must polish the Polish furniture. He could lead if he would get the lead out. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
Identify the misread meaning AND the intended meaning
1. Miners Refuse to Work after Death
2. Stolen Painting Found by Tree
3. Grandmother of Eight Makes Hole in One
4. Milk Drinkers are Turning to Powder
5. NJ Judge to Rule on Nude Beach
6. Juvenile Court Tries Shooting Defendant
7. Iraqi head seeks arms
8. Death causes loneliness, feeling of isolation
9. Queen Mary has bottom scraped
10. Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
“When the meaning is unclear there is
no meaning.” ― Marty Rubin
Successful writers learn at last what they
should learn at first,--
to be intelligently simple.
- Josh Billings
“Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”
- William Zinsser
A memo issued by the State Department to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in during World War II.
“Such preparations shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and non-Federal buildings occupied by the Federal government during an air raid for any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination.”
Overall Goal: Aim for simplicity, concreteness, action, grace, and impact
1. Eliminate Redundancies –repetitive words/ phrases
a) past history
b) triangular in shape
c) few in number
2. Use precise words/ phrases of synonyms
a) during the time that
b) come to the conclusion that
c) make assumptions about
d) very angry
3. Avoid excessive formality
a) A decision was made by the committee to conduct further studies.
Silver Level: State more concisely
1. Joined together: __________________
2. With the exception of: ________________
3.In this particular instance: ______________
4. In addition to: ____________________
5. For the purpose of advancing: _______________
6. One and the same: __________________
7.Due to the fact: ____________________
8. Once in a while: ___________________
9.In all honest truth: __________________
10. The general public: _________________
11. At the present time, it is Mark who performs the analysis of the school’s track records.
12. In my personal opinion, people who are about to graduate should come to the realization that they should continue to educate themselves.
13. Expert delineation of the characters in a work of fiction is a task that is difficult to facilitate.
14. In my personal opinion, you who are in the work force should come to the realization that you are possessed of
15. Mechanical professionals in the automotive industry have been known to recommend regular monitoring of fluids necessary for internal combustion vehicles and increasing the allocation of such fluids when necessary.
16. In the employment situation, social pleasantries may contribute to the successful functioning of job tasks but such interactions should not distract from the need to complete all assignments in a timely manner.
17. One difference between television news reporting and the coverage provided by newspapers is the time factor between the actual happening of an event and the time it takes to be reported. The problem is that instantaneous coverage is physically impossible for newspapers.
The house was renovated by the new owners.
The new owners renovated the house.
The raw meat was fed to the lion by the zookeeper.
The zookeeper fed the lion raw meat.
Why should you use it?
Active-voice constructions clearly indicate the performer of the action
Changing from passive voice to active often results in a more concise sentence.
Active Voice: Rewrite each of the following passive voice sentences into active voice:
1. The turkey dinner was cooked by Katie before Easter.
2. The invitations were sent to the wedding guest by the couple whose marriage was being celebrated.
3. The opportunity to run for student council was spurned by Chris.
4. The bunny ears were worn by Paulo as part of an April Fool’s joke.
5. The teacher was criticized by her students for being insensitive to their wishes.
Be sure that the pronouns you use refer clearly to a noun in the current or previous sentence. If the pronoun refers to a noun that has been implied but not stated, you can clarify the reference by explicitly using that noun.
Spot the vague pronoun reference:
1. American universities increasingly follow a corporate fiscal model, tightening budgets and hiring temporary contract employees as teachers. This has prompted faculty at many schools to join unions as a way of protecting job security and benefits.
2. Larissa worked in a national forest last summer, which may be her career choice.
Pronoun References: Each sentence below contains faulty pronoun reference because there is either no antecedent at all or no clear, single noun antecedent. Rewrite each sentence, repairing the problems
1. It says on the bottle label that the chemical will kill weeds.
2. A visitor to Italy immediately notices how friendly they are.
3. People who have been heavy smokers for years often gain weight when they give it up.
4. My brother has been unemployed for three months because of illness. This makes him depressed.
5. In 19th century England, they put people in jail for debt.
Highlight the pronouns and then identify instances where the pronoun references could be improved. Make the changes.
Recent studies show that about one in three people between 65 and 75 live alone. For many of them, loneliness can be a serious problem. In many hospitals and retirement homes, they recognize that elderly patients often enjoy the friendship of pets. Dogs, cats, birds, and other pets can help a senior citizen feel independent, and they can also motivate an older person to get regular exercise. In some studies, it says that taking care of a pet can also have positive effects on senior citizens’ health. They said in a recent news article that many older people living alone consider their pet to be their best friend.
1. I have three goals in life: to complete my education, traveling around the world, and to run the Boston Marathon.
I have three goals in life: to complete my education, to travel around the world, and to run in the Boston Marathon.
2. People who are in debt should give up credit cards, borrowing money, eating out in expensive restaurants, and living above their means.
People who are in debt should give up using credit cards, borrowing money, eating out in expensive restaurants, and living above their means.
3. The colours of the crest are black for death, green for life, and blue represents loyalty.
The colours of the crest are black for death, green for life, and blue for loyalty.
Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level. (Owl at Purdue Writing Centre)
Listen to the sound of the items in a list or the items being compared. Do you hear the same kinds of sounds?
For example, is there a series of "-ing" words beginning each item? Or do your hear a rhythm being repeated?
If something is breaking that rhythm or repetition of sound, check to see if it needs to be made parallel.
With the -ing form (gerund)of words:
Mary likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling.
With infinitive phrases:
Mary likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle.ORMary likes to hike, swim, and ride a bicycle.
Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.
The production manager was asked to write his report quickly,accurately, and thoroughly.
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
My grades are just as good as Stephanie’s grades.
The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner.
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
My grades are just as good as Stephanie’s.
The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study for the exam, completed his lab problems in a careless manner, and lacked motivation.
The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study for the exam, completed his lab problems in a careless manner, and his motivation was low.
The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and that they should do some warm-up exercises before the game.
The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, not eat too much, and do some warm-up exercises before the game.
The salesman expected that he would present his product at the meeting, that there would be time for him to show his slide presentation, and that prospective buyers would ask him questions.
Parallelism: Correct any faulty parallelism you find in the following sentences.
1.The dentist took an x-ray of her teeth, advised her to get gold fillings, and then he billed her $100.
2. Not only did Sheila check the house for pests but also the garage and the backyard.
3. Bill finds it hard to be fair to himself than being fair to others.
4. Her mother spent her days buying furniture, decorating the house, and she complained about paying sales tax.
5. Heather and Martin were invaded by ants, frightened by mice, and the pest control agency they hired overcharged them.
6. Three things are needed to give a good seminar: adequate preparation, a visual aid, and you should have strong nerves.
7. Chris wore a beard, a mustache, and his hair was tied back in a ponytail.
Shakespeare is so cool. You’ll find his fingerprints all over pop culture and show biz. He’s quoted more often than any other author. And he’s inspired more than 350 movies. In 2000, he was voted “Artist of the Millennium.” Not bad for a guy who’s been dead for almost 400 years.
How come we’re not all sick of him? Well, for one thing. His characters are like real people, with real problems. Think about it. Most of us don’t live in a Danish castle like Hamlet. But at one time or another we’ve all found it tough to do the right thing. And I guess anyone who fell in love in high school, and then got hassled by their parents, can relate to Romeo and Juliet.
William Shakespeare is very popular today. There are many allusions to his poetry and plays in popular culture. In fact, his work is quoted more often than any other author and he has inspired more than 350 movies. In 2000, he was voted “Artist of the Millennium”; an incredible accomplishment since he has been dead for almost 400 years.
People never get tired of reading and studying Shakespeare because his characters are like real people with real problems. Even though most people do not live in a Danish castle like Hamlet, at one time or another, they have found it tough to do the right thing. Also, anyone who fell in love in high school and experienced their parent’s disapproval to this love can relate to Romeo and Juliet.