Archive for the ‘Formatting’ Category

Can you think of exceptions to any of these tips? Please include examples with your explanation.

April 9, 2013

10 TIPS FOR TIGHTER TEXT

1. Avoid redundant word combinations (added bonus, biography of her life, past history).

2. Change unnecessary “that, who, and which” clauses to shorter phrases.

3. Replace “not” phrases with antonym.

4. Avoid “there is, there are, there were, it is, it was” as sentence openers.

5. Use active verbs instead of “to be” words.

6. Replace or delete weak modifiers (emphatic words, excess adverbs).

7. Keep it simple, Simon.

8. Instead of qualifiers, use less definite verbs (should, might, may, could).

9. Replace vague nouns and adjectives with specifics.

10. Avoid cliches like the plague.

Joy Eckel, Freelance Copy Editor
Email joyeckel@gmail.com for a free sample edit and estimate!

Writing Repair

April 9, 2013
Friend: I do like being busy and engaged in things so, so far so good. (hmmm… how would you punctuate that last phrase? I see a couple of ways, the way I have it but also:
… and engaged in things, so so far, so good
…and engaged in things so so far, so good 
but my first choice seems perhaps most logical; the double “so so” seems to demand separation, doesn’t it?
***
Joy: Or how about … and engaged in things; so far, so good? (I think “so far, so good” qualifies as a sentence.)
***
Friend: Interesting … with the semicolon, we could dispense with the first “so” since it was functioning as a conjunction, and the semicolon really does the work for it! Maybe you could start a blog or post a series on Facebook: “fixing broken sentences” or some such!
***
As a copy editor, I wish I had more friends who enjoy exchanges like the above, so I decided to follow this friend’s advice and start a blog on the subject: writing repair. If you have a tricky writing issue, be it verbiage, punctuation or formatting, please post it. I’ll be happy to respond, and I hope others will chime in with their opinions.

I’m also available for copy editing work; email joyeckel@gmail.com for a free sample edit and estimate.


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