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May 2014 Volume 10 Issue 5

The Write Stuff

May 2014  Volume 10 Issue 5

Errors by Professionals

 

I believe people who read a lot tend to be better writers than non-readers, because they regularly expose themselves to material written by professionals. No one is immune from making mistakes, however, even those of us who write for a living. Consider the following, taking note of the miscues that are italicized:

 

Typos

  • To schedule a prvate tour and meeting, please call or email. (Especially unfortunate in a brochure for a private school.)
  • You will have the oppertunity…learn innovative ideas for your busiensscomence as follows. (Three typos in one paragraph promoting a marketing expo: opportunity, business and commence.)

Wrong Words

  • He got the chance to pleed his case in meetings with the GM. (Pleading might have been a better strategy.)
  • We have appetizing options to satisfy anyone’s palette. (Too bad we’re not artists, but we each have a palate.)
  • The windows have beautiful shudders for privacy. (Imagine the privacy shutters would provide.)

Proofing Errors

 

  • Recent reports suggest prices we may have hit bottom. (Delete “prices” and this sentence makes sense.)
  • I would like to request you if your company wants more information about our services. (Add “call me” after “you” and the ask becomes clear.)

What’s the takeaway? While you can learn a lot from reading professionally written material, be on the lookout for mistakes you shouldn’t emulate.

 

Honoring Dad

Monday will mark 12 years since my beloved father died. I’m still heartbroken, but also grateful for everything he taught me. Early in my career, he said I’d probably never be content unless I was my own boss. He was right–but I didn’t act on his words until after he was gone. In response to my teenage cry of “it’s not fair,” he didn’t disagree and said I should get used to it: life isn’t fair. There was certainly nothing fair about losing my dad months before he would have turned 70, but as the classic song says, “only the good die young.”

As Well As or And?

Many people use as well as in place of and, but that often isn’t appropriate. Remember, less is more when it comes to writing.

 

A: The Sharks and Penguins, as well as the Bruins, fell one game short of moving on in the NHL playoffs.

 

B: The Sharks, Penguins and Bruins fell one game short of moving on in the NHL playoffs.

 

While “A” isn’t grammatically incorrect, “B” is better.

 

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