300 Days of Better Writing

March 5, 2010

What you will find on this blog

Filed under: WritingExcellence — preciseedit @ 5:06 pm

Posts on this blog are taken directly from 300 Days of Better Writing. This practical handbook contains 300 easy-to-use strategies for great writing, organized to help you write better every day. They teach you the strategies we use when editing clients’ documents.Now in three formats: PDF (159 pages, 8″ x 11″), Kindle, iTunes, and paperback (262 pages, 6″ x 9″, U.S. only). More informationView / download the MEDIA KIT.Free Shipping for paperback version. (For purchase in U.S. only) Use code: better300.
Free PDF of the Precise Edit Training Manual with the purchase of 300 Days of Better Writing paperback or PDF.

July 21, 2014

Subjects and verbs must agree in person.


Few writers would write “Bob love tuna sandwiches.” They would write “loves.”

In the present tense, if the subject of a verb can be replaced by he, she, or it, the verb probably needs that final “s.” Because the name “Bob” can be replaced by he, the verb needs that “s.”

When you write in the present tense, find your verbs. Then find the subject of those verbs. If you can replace them with one of these three pronouns, the verb probably needs that “s.”


Free E-book to Improve Your Writing Skills

Top writing strategies and expert instruction from
each of Precise Edit’s writing guides

  • 1 critical article from
    Precise Edit Training Manual
  • 8 days of instruction from
    300 Days of Better Writing
  • 5 top strategies from
    Bang! Writing with Impact
  • 2 essential word choices from Which Word Do I Use?
  • 1 major comma use from Zen Comma
  • 1 section on main verbs from Concise Guide to Technical and Academic Writing
  • Essential Writing Skills series features two short guides:
    “Perfect Paragraphs and Super Sentences” and “Strategies for Concise Writing.”

Get the free e-book (PDF) OR

Purchase the Kindle version ($0.99).

July 1, 2014

Provide credible references for new or controversial information.


Unless you are a recognized expert about a topic, your reader will have no reason to believe what you write. For example, I could tell you, “You shouldn’t eat eggplant. It’s bad for you.” You will ask, rightly, “What makes you an expert on eggplant?”

Unless the reader has a reason to believe that you are an expert on the topic, you need to provide a reference. A reference gives credibility to the information. A reference provides the source of the information you are communicating. This is especially important if your information is controversial, new, or contradictory to what the reader believes.

Name the source of the information, if known. If you have specific names, use them. This sentence contains a credible reference: “Louise Wilson, a researcher at the University of Nebraska, claims that people should not eat eggplant.”

You can also be more general, if needed, by using titles and descriptors, such as researchers, industry experts, or government officials. For example, you can write, “Nutritionists claim that people should not eat eggplant.”


Free E-book to Improve Your Writing Skills

Top writing strategies and expert instruction from
each of Precise Edit’s writing guides

  • 1 critical article from
    Precise Edit Training Manual
  • 8 days of instruction from
    300 Days of Better Writing
  • 5 top strategies from
    Bang! Writing with Impact
  • 2 essential word choices from Which Word Do I Use?
  • 1 major comma use from Zen Comma
  • 1 section on main verbs from Concise Guide to Technical and Academic Writing

Get the free e-book (PDF) OR

Purchase the Kindle version ($0.99).

June 20, 2014

Use subject pronouns in comparisons with implied verbs.


This is easier to demonstrate than explain in technical terms. Consider this sentence:

“I am taller than she/her.”

Which pronoun do you use, “she” or “her”? I often hear people use “her” in cases like this, but this is incorrect. This sentence implies the final verb is, as in “I am taller than she is.” Since the pronoun in question is serving as the subject to the implied verb is, you need a subject pronoun: “she.”

Here are two more examples.

“That man is smarter than I.” [“That man is smarter than I am.”]

“Who knows better than he?” [“Who knows better than he knows?”]


This is the strategy for day 177 in 300 Days of Better Writing, available at Hostile Editing in PDF, Kindle, and paperback formats.

For a sample of 300 Days of Better Writing and other books by Precise Edit, download the free ebook.

June 18, 2014

Interject and isolate statements for impact.


One way to emphasize a point is to interject it into a sentence and isolate it with punctuation. Consider this sentence.

“The modern poet, thriving on his own perceived cleverness, will break the conventions of language use.”

We could have used “thriving on his own perceived cleverness” to make a separate sentence. However, by interjecting it into this sentence, and then isolating it with commas, we force the reader to pay close attention to the idea it communicates.

First, the reader will pause before the phrase (due to the first comma). This alone creates emphasis. Then, when the reader realizes that we are stopping the main idea of the sentence to express some idea, the reader will pay close attention to what we are stating. After all, if we are willing to interrupt ourselves, we must think that the idea is very important. The reader, as a result, will pay close attention. This is impact.


This is the strategy for day 297 in 300 Days of Better Writing, available at Hostile Editing in PDF, Kindle, and paperback formats.

For a sample of 300 Days of Better Writing and other books by Precise Edit, download the free ebook.

Next Page »

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,411 other followers