February 5 2010

Five Friday Writing Tips

by Barbie in Writing

Another week of editing is winding down at Carpenter Doc, and we’ve collected the week’s most frequent editorial comments here. Check them out, and improve your writing in no time.

1) Check your pronouns.

Assign one person a singular pronoun (him/his or her/hers). More than one person gets a plural pronoun (they/their). Pronoun agreement is an easy mistake to make, so make sure that your subject is assigned a pronoun that agrees with it!

2) Define terms.

If you’re using acronyms in your document, spell them out on first reference followed by the acronym in parenthesis. Define uncommon terms. Do the work for your readers by making sure your document is easy to understand.

3) Avoid vague questions.

Including questions in your document can be tricky. Often, they distance your reader from the piece and require the reader to do the work for you. Instead of asking a question, answer it.

4) Use reputable sources.

The Internet has given us access to a wealth of information in just a few clicks. However, this accessibility also means that there are sites that offer less-than-accurate information. Always check the validity of your Internet source before you use it as a reference for your paper.

5) Double-check your commas.

Commas are a punctuation pitfall for many writers. So, conduct a quick comma check: If a sentence has two subject/verb phrases, separate them with a comma. If a sentence has two verbs and one subject, do not use a comma between the verbs.