Three writing lessons while learning from notes


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Last week I did not get to Writing Wednesdays, although I did do a post about a rather impressive passionate presentation. This week I am attending a course and did not really have time for anything else. However, studying for my exam on Friday I did notice some irritations in the notes I was using. So three lessons from doing a bit of studying:

Lesson 1. Be consistent in your use of British or American English. This should preferably be across your document, but if you are unsure at least be consistent with your spelling choice for words. I had catalogue and catalog on the same page…  confusing and looking not so professional.

Lesson 2.  Be careful of spelling words where two exist that are very similarly spelled but with their meaning worlds apart. An example here (which was actually used correctly, but it still made me think of what i see people do) is: complementary vs complimentary.

Lesson 3. Be careful of ambiguity. In our notes and slides they talked about “not normally having dedicated staff”. This could mean two things: staff are not committed to what they do, or, as they wanted to say in this case, that the manager do not normally dedicate a specific staff member to that role.  However, the context of the sentence did not make it clear and reading it quickly makes you think otherwise.  Of course, writing in active voice and not passive voice would address this issue. (Maybe that’s a bonus fourth lesson: write in active voice, not passive voice.)

Happy Writing Wednesdays on this fine Thursday 🙂

Why not give some further examples in the comments? Thank you in advance.


One Response to Three writing lessons while learning from notes

  1. Laurie says:

    Sometimes when reading “academic literature”, I can help but be reminded about Mark Twain’s comments about “The Awful German Language”. Just look at this small excerpt from Twain’s essay and substitute the word “Academic literature” for “German Newspaper”

    “An average sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity; it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of speech — not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in any dictionary — six or seven words compacted into one, without joint or seam — that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen different subjects, each inclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here and there extra parentheses which reinclose three or four of the minor parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple of king-parentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of it — after which comes the VERB, and you find out for the first time what the man has been talking about; and after the verb — merely by way of ornament, as far as I can make out — the writer shovels in “haben sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden sein,” or words to that effect, and the monument is finished.”

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