Thursday, January 25, 2007

Top 20 Abused, Misused, And Mistreated Words

Many words in the English language are used incorrectly. Every writer can benefit from a refresher that outlines some of these most commonly misused words. If you are not always sure of when to use some of these words, you're in good company. Many intelligent and well-educated people continue to use these words incorrectly. But before you publish your next document or click the 'submit' button on that email, double check for any violations of these 20 abused, misused, and mistreated words.

While spell check quickly catches misspellings, misused words can easily slip past spell check and into your documents. One way to identify words used out of context is by turning on your word processor's grammar check feature. However, though grammar check will identify a majority of misuses, it shouldn't be your final proofreading expert. Some misuses, particularly those that involve uses of 'that vs. who/whom,' can pass through grammar check but still need repair.

For important and published works, consider sending your documents to a professional proofreading service. Even professional writers use proofreaders. After staring at your document for hours on end, it's easy to skim over sentences with missing words, typos, and words used out of context. Professional proofreading services are affordable, fast, and ensure that readers always associate you and your company with top-notch quality work.

Author is a skilled and professional copywriter. For more information about proofreading your work, visit

Article Source: Bytepowered Articles
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Monday, January 22, 2007

The Friendly Editor: 5 Ways You Can Help Others Write Faster and Better

Editor Note:I have decided to post this article by Daphne Gray-Grant in it's entirety. Daphne's expert advice and excellent writing is just too good for my readers to miss! If you write for any purpose I recommend signing up for Daphne's News Letter.

Do you ever have to edit the work of others? Here are five tips for making the process easier, getting better copy out of people and helping the writers who work with you become happier and more fulfilled.

1) Give your writers explicit directions, so they have a detailed idea of what you expect and need. Don't say, "I need an article about the autumn fundraiser," or "I want to know all about the launch of the new stain remover." Instead, describe the purpose of the article and the key questions it should answer for the reader. Describe who is likely to read the article and where in your publication it's going to appear. Will it be accompanied by a photograph or illustration? (And, if so, what?) A good story assignment may be 200 words or more; it should never be a single sentence! Investing half an hour in drafting a thorough assignment upfront will save you many hours of grief later on.

2) Be especially clear about deadlines. Make them reasonable -- the longer or more complex the story, the longer the time needed. And try to build in a "cushion" for emergencies. For example, if you need the article by May 15, ask for it by May 12, so you have a couple of extra days in case anything goes wrong.

3) If the writer you're working with is not a professional, be sure to warn him or her it's inevitable you're going to have to edit. (Professionals understand this already. Even brilliant fiction writers like Alice Monroe and established journalists like Bob Woodward have editors.) You might say something like: "I need to edit all the articles to match the style of the publication" or "to achieve a unified voice." Make sure they understand that editing does not mean they are "bad" writers or, heaven forbid, "bad" people. And be sure to honour the writer's effort by giving him or her feedback in a timely fashion. If you ask for the story on May 12, edit it soon after -- otherwise your deadlines are not going to be perceived as "real" and you're likely to be seen as a jerk.

4) Use "praise sandwiches." Many would-be editors mistakenly focus on only what they don't like. But you should also make a point of highlighting the good stuff. If you can start by commending something that works, move on to something that needs fixing, and end with something that works (a praise sandwich) people usually respond positively. As you do this, try to avoid the word but. "I really liked the metaphor you used at the beginning BUT thought your quotes were a bit weak." The but is a big red flag that will cancel out the positive statement. Use and instead. Or, don't link the thoughts at all.

5) When you're editing, never, never ever use the colour red to mark corrections or comments. We all have bad memories of being edited harshly by grade school teachers who "bled" red ink all over our precious compositions. Use blue or green ink instead -- it's much friendlier.

It's not hard to help others become better writers. Follow these tips and you'll not only receive better copy, faster -- you'll also have more friends.

A former journalist, Daphne Gray-Grant is a writing and editing coach with an international practice helping corporate communicators better, faster. Visit her website at where you can sign up for her free weekly newsletter on power writing.

Article Source: Bytepowered Articles