In an earlier post, we gave details on some of the problems associated with the Google Translate tool. Well, there’s another type of automated tool that often makes intelligent writers look foolish, and that is the automatic grammar checker. Grammar is crucial to every kind of writing, but relying on an automatic grammar checker to fix your mistakes is a recipe for disaster.
Here are a few reasons why:
The Rules are Limited
English grammar laws are pretty complex, and the rules for most grammar-checking software is limited, so the results are often incorrect. Automatic grammar checkers have problems with context, which is why they might let sentences that are nothing more than a mess of jumbled words go through, and flag sentences that make perfect sense in the context of the piece.
As an example…you are preparing a memo or review about giving an employee a promotion and you write, “We do not want to see Sally succeed and move into a management position.” A grammar checker won’t remove the word “not” even though it completely alters the meaning of the sentence, and poor Sally is sent home in tears. Say what you mean and mean what you say doesn’t always work out when a grammar checker is in charge of your sentences. (more…)
Whether you write professionally, churn out the odd report as part of your job, or write papers and stories in school, structural and grammatical missteps are part of the process. One such misstep is known as expletive construction.
No, this doesn’t refer to stuffing profanities into your sentences, but it will take away from the energy, flow and overall quality of the writing. (more…)
No matter what you are writing, editing must be part of the process if you hope to impress your audience. Professional editing, with human experts going over your work, is always the best approach, but you can make a difference on your own. Here are some self-editing tips that will help you avoid basic mistakes and keep your writing on track.
Write First, Edit Later
An issue that many writers face is editing their work while they are writing. That inner editor just keeps working away when you should be productive, and the results are anything but efficient. You stop every couple of sentences to correct a spelling mistake, go back to rearrange a paragraph or sit there staring at the screen for five minutes trying to think of the perfect word.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to turn off that inner editor and just write. If you know you’ve just made a spelling or grammar mistake, leave it. If you’re stuck on a single word, come back to it later. Editing as you go disrupts the flow and will end up taking longer. (more…)
When it comes to writing just about anything, a great deal of confusion, head shaking and fist pounding comes from the use of farther and further. It’s pretty interesting how the difference of one letter results in so much stress, but it happens every day. Sometimes, writers will even re-arrange an entire sentence so the use of farther or further is no longer necessary.
Today, we will attempt to sort out the confusion for you. When are you supposed to use each one, and is there even a difference between the two? (more…)
Speeches, documents, articles, blog posts, news releases, websites, even inter-office memos are all examples of business writing. They are also prime opportunities for you to make some common business writing mistakes.
When it comes down to it, words are a crucial communications tool. Certain business writing gaffes will create the perception that your company is inexperienced, unprofessional or even foolish!
Here are 7 blunders to avoid at all costs: (more…)
The colon and semi-colon are probably two of the most misused punctuation marks in the English language. They kind of look the same, their names kind of sound the same, but the functions they perform are totally different. Here’s a rundown to bring you up to speed.
In the world of punctuation, a colon consists of one dot on top of another dot. It is often used as an introduction tool, to introduce things like lists, explanations or definitions.
With lists, the first part of the sentence tells the reader there will be a list and how many items are on it, and the second part reveals the items. “You need four things to become a successful writer: a creative mind, spelling and grammar skills, a bit of luck and patience.” (more…)
Most business owners and operators who require language translation to keep their companies running have likely heard of Google Translate. For those who haven’t, it is a completely free translation service that Google provides that has the ability to translate single words, complete sentences and even web pages between any of the 64 languages the program currently supports. (more…)
The simple (and lazy) way to answer this question is to say persuasive copy is copy or content that is designed to persuade people to do things. And while that is completely true, the real meaning goes a lot deeper than a single sentence.
Persuasive copy is used every day online, in direct-mail packages, magazine and newspaper ads or even in a love letter from some fellow trying to win a young lady’s heart. (more…)
The days when a businessperson was not required to have writing skills because he or she was a businessman (and not a writer!) are gone for good. Word processors with inbuilt spelling and grammar checks, online dictionaries, thesauri and other writing tools are not enough. These days, flawlessly conceived written and crafted business documents are considered to be a great advantage to the successful businessperson. (more…)
Have you ever wondered how some very busy people can churn out great essays? Here’s a secret – they hire a seasoned essay editor to polish their writing. To produce a good essay, it’s not enough to have an idea and the ability to put that idea into writing; you need to have flawless spelling, perfect grammar and the knack for using the right words and phrases in the right places. In other words, you need to be a wordsmith. And then you have to be a critic of yourself so that you know where you are going wrong. As any budding writer knows, that’s a tough call indeed.
Essay editors themselves are typically great writers, but they are also extremely good at polishing other people’s writing. They can take an essay written by a student or an aspiring writer and help turn it into a highly readable piece of work. With a touch here and a touch there, they can make your words come alive and spring out of the screen (or paper) to connect with the reader. That is the essence of good essay writing. (more…)