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The Write Way - grammar

What can go wrong?




Problems with grammar, punctuation and accepted current usage

These determine meaning, the accuracy of the text, and the impression it makes on your reader.

The dangling participle
Walking through the park, the flowers looked beautiful.

The misplaced modifier
We only sell fresh eggs. (we don't sell butter, cheese, or milk ?!!)

The ambiguous pronoun
Polythene bags can be a hazard for toddlers and babies. Throw them away, or lock them in a cupboard where they can't be played with.

Subject - verb agreement
Neither the manager nor the team leader accept responsibility for the error.

Relative clauses and commas
My husband who works abroad a lot suffers from anxiety attacks. (Not at all surprising!)

And we have all seen the missing, misplaced or unnecessary apostrophe:

cherrie's, grape's, apple's
key's cut here
The Kings Arms
The committees' decision is final.



Problems with style

These determine the clarity of your text, its tone, and the impression it creates on your reader.

Unnecessary words.
Is your writing concise? Lengthy phrases and unnecessary words make texts less appealing to the reader:

There has been a decision taken to award the tender to the second lowest bidder.
The tender has been awarded to the second lowest bidder.

The active and passive voices
The active and passive voices create very different tones in writing. Be sure to select the right one for the message you wish to convey. Compare:

A mistake was made in your account.
We made a mistake in your account.

and

Because this direct debit was cancelled.
Because you cancelled this direct debit.

Word choice
Word choice also determines the tone of a text. Too many nouns tend to make writing (and the writer!) seem dull, heavy and formal.

Compare:

The submission of a planning application will not be necessary.
You will not need to submit a planning application.


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