It’s Pet Peeve Time
My list of writing pet peeves is always growing. See if you share some of my frustrations…and feel free to send me your own (as I may use them in a future newsletter).
1. First…with no second. When you use the word “first,” there must be at least a “second,” followed by a “third,” “fourth,” etc. as necessary. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people present a point preceded by “first,” but there is never any “second.” FYI, using “firstly” and “secondly” isn’t wrong, but my strong preference is to drop the “ly.”
2. Name issues. Consistency within a document makes it easier to read, so when you refer to specific people, you must choose a style to use after the first reference and stick with it. The two most common are last name (i.e., Moch) or first name (i.e., Adrienne), with the latter evoking a decidedly more informal tone. I often find inconsistencies in bios, when both styles are used, as well as the last name preceded by a courtesy title (Mr., Ms., etc.), which isn’t required (but not wrong). Just choose your preferred style and stick with it.
3. Bad online advice. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: be cautious when you take word use advice from spell check. I was recently prompted to change “proactive” to “pro-active,” but I didn’t bite; the former is correct. Be even more wary when you receive online grammar advice, which is often wrong.
4. Year inclusion. Think long and hard before you include 2012 in your written materials. Sure, you need to include the year when dating letters, proposals, etc., but in most other instances, it can be inferred rather than stated. I often promote events in my Examiner.com column, for instance, and I never include 2012 when providing an upcoming date. Is there anyone who’d think a July 20 event being promoted right now wouldn’t be in 2012?
5. Too much “together.” It’s easy to add redundancy into your writing if you’re not careful. Here are two examples from recent editing projects: “synchronized together” and “married together.” In both instances, removing “together” eliminates the redundancy.
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