If vs. Whether

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If vs. Whether

if whetherWe can always question whether we’re using the right conditional word, even if it’s grammatically correct.

In many cases, if and whether can be used interchangeably. But there is a time and place where each one serves its own purpose more effectively. These discrepancies (although not a major mistake and often overlooked) still have the power to make some editors cringe.

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Watch Out for Run-On Sentences

run-on sentencesThis is by far the most common correction an editor will come across. It makes sense, especially with someone who isn’t necessarily a writer, per se. People get lost in their own train of thought, and what should flow smoothly and read like a story ends up sounding like a big, bulky stream of consciousness.

Remember that in your writing, your end goal is to communicate with other human beings that are likely less well versed on the topic than you are. So you need to make what you want to say clear. Again, you are trying to communicate. And it’s far more effective when you break up a longer sentence into two or three smaller ones.

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How to Take Constructive (and Not-So-Constructive) Criticism

criticismRelevant in all branches of the craft, criticism for writing is bound to find its way to you. Some take it better than others; some give it better than others. We have little control over how we get it, but we indeed have a say in how it’s received. The following are some things to keep in mind when having your writing reviewed (aka, being torn to shreds).

Keep in mind it’s for the greater good.

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Semi Colon or Em Dash?

semi colon em dashWhen it comes to separating thoughts and clauses, this tends to be quite a complex distinction to make. Especially when you involve colons and commas as well. Oh, the joys of the English language! For the most part, a semi colon and an em dash are interchangeable — used to separate an afterthought (much like this one).

Just in case you wanted to know the full story, here is a more in-depth breakdown of each:

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