GrammarPhile Blog

QUIZ: Can You Identify and Name the Grammar Errors?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Apr 4, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Knowing that you’ve just read a sentence or passage with a grammar error in it and being able to identify exactly what that grammar error is are two separate things. Do you think that you’re good at naming common grammar errors when you see them, using the appropriate terms?

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Topics: grammar quiz

Exploring the Structure of the Perfect Paragraph

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Mar 21, 2019 7:29:20 AM

Take a moment to consider what you learned about paragraph construction from your writing and composition course work in grade school.

Did you have to write standalone paragraphs with specific formulas and requirements about some sort of topic that you thought was mundane or boring? Were you able to write about your opinions and form arguments in standalone paragraphs? Or were you required to write paragraphs about more objective information that was provided to you beforehand? And did what you learn about writing paragraphs in high school, college, or the workplace change how you understand paragraph construction?

Now, do you think that there is a “perfect paragraph” formula? And do you think there is a one-size-fits-all paragraph structure for us all to follow?

How we construct paragraphs has a lot to do with how and what we were taught in the past, as well as what we read, write, or edit on a regular basis. Keep reading to see if what you understand about constructing paragraphs coincides with your training, learning experiences, and everyday reading, writing, or editing experiences.

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Topics: paragraph, paragraph construction

Should Writers and Editors Practice Grammar?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Mar 15, 2019 7:30:00 AM

“Language, never forget, is more fashion than science, and matters of usage, spelling and pronunciation tend to wander around like hemlines.”

― Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way

What do you think? Do writers and editors need to continually practice grammar rules and language traditions as they are used by others? Or do you think that they should dictate the grammar rules and traditions that others use? Or do you perhaps think they should do a little bit of both?

Language is not static and is always changing; this much is certain. Remember when “LOL” wasn’t in the dictionary? Punctuation usage and grammar rules have also changed over time, especially in this era of social media, electronic communications, grammar-checking software, and artificial intelligence.

Perhaps editors and writers should abide by grammar rules and dictate those rules as if they were lexicographers. Lexicographers add words to the dictionary when those words have widespread, sustained, and meaningful use. Or is this what writers and editors already do? Do writers and editors already add or adjust grammar rules in style guides and similar resources when those rules change over time and exhibit widespread, sustained, and meaningful use?

So, what should writers and editors do to practice grammar rules that change over time? How about the following?

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Topics: trends in language

What Makes a Writer "Great"?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Mar 8, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Some people might argue that a “great” writer is someone who sells a lot of books or writes a lot of articles that are published in renowned magazines and publications. Or perhaps a great writer is someone who has a prominent and well-known social media account, or someone who writes about controversial topics and gets a lot of media attention, or someone whose writing is dubbed “classic” in the current literary canon.

You get the picture being painted here. There are a lot of ways one could identify or classify a “great” writer. But are those ways fool-proof, logical, or all-encompassing? It does seem each writer has his or her own specialty and strengths. So, do “great” writers have similar qualities or characteristics?

When you’re asked to provide an example of someone who is a great writer, who do you think of immediately? J. K. Rowling? Tom Clancy? Stephen King? Shakespeare? Robert Frost? Margaret Atwood? George Orwell? Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings? Ayn Rand? Mark Twain? Jack Kerouac? And if you were asked what you think makes him or her “great,” how would you respond?

Writers who are “great,” or at the very least are more widely known, do seem to have certain common characteristics, as listed below. Do you agree?

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Topics: writers

10 Things That Are Strange to Non-Native English Speakers

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Feb 28, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Here are ten things that can seem strange to non-native English speakers.

1. Questions and Answers With Both Affirming and Negating Terms

Native English speakers say things like, “You want to eat that, don’t you?” and “No, that’s okay” all the time. This can be confusing to non-native English speakers because they don’t understand whether the person saying things like this wants something or will do something, or not.

2. The Rule: “i” Before “e” Except After “C”

As native English speakers know, there are exceptions to nearly every grammar rule, especially this one. The letter “i” doesn’t always come before the letter “e” except when it’s placed after the letter “c” in a word. For example, the words “science,” “efficient,” and “beige” are exceptions to this rule.

3. Telling Time

In other languages, or even various dialects of English, people would say “it is half past two” or “it is half of three” when telling time. They would not say “It is 2:30.”

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What Kind of Training Should Pro Editors and Proofreaders Have?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Feb 21, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Editors and proofreaders require a lot of training. And while they both have different professional responsibilitiesthe training they require is similar and often overlaps.

What kind of training do you think professional editors and proofreaders should have? What would you add to or remove from the list below?

Bachelor’s Degree

Usually editors and proofreaders have a four-year degree in English, journalism, or communications from an accredited college or university. This indicates that an individual has some mastery over the English language and that he or she is comfortable with writing and evaluating various types of written text. They tend to have advanced knowledge of English grammar, language, composition, etc.

Sometimes extensive experience in editing or proofreading can substitute for the four-year degree. But this is, of course, at the discretion of the employer.

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Topics: skills needed for proofreading, professional proofreader

10 Best Practices for Writing and Editing Technical Documents

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Feb 14, 2019 7:00:00 AM

As technology and science become more pervasive and important in our everyday lives, expertly edited technical documents will become more and more in demand. They’re important to businesses, organizations, and consumers alike.

Whether you’re a novice or you’ve written and edited technical documents for decades, here are 10 best practices you’ll want to keep in mind.

1. Know Your Audience and Write Exclusively for Them and to Them

When writing or editing technical documents, it’s essential that you first understand your target audiences and their backgrounds and preferences, and that you conduct research and collect data about them.

For example, some things you’ll want to consider:

  • whether your document is aimed at marketers who are new to your organization
  • whether you’re writing a user manual for common consumers with little to no experience with your technology platform
  • whether you’re writing a manual for experienced coders who already use your technology platform on a deeper level

Essentially, it’s imperative that you understand your audiences’ demographic information and backgrounds, and that you cater your technical content to suit their needs and preferences. Otherwise, it will be impossible or challenging for them to understand, and it will not end up being helpful.

Also, be sure to use “you” and speak to your audience directly in your technical documents and provide plain and simple actions for them to take. Basically, remember to always provide your audience with helpful information in a way that’s easy for them to follow.

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Topics: technical writing, technical editing

Grammar-Checking Software Doesn't Catch Everything: Here's Proof

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Feb 1, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Grammar-checking software can catch common typos and spelling errors. And it can certainly expedite the writing and editorial processes. But it can’t or won’t identify every type of grammatical error out there. Want proof?

Consider the following examples below. Each example was run through the following software: Microsoft Office Word’s built-in grammar checker, Grammarly, Ginger, and Language Tool.  The error(s) each software caught are highlighted. See if you can identify how many mistakes each grammar-checking software missed. And feel free to run each example below through your own grammar-checking software too, if it wasn’t already used here, to see if it catches any additional mistakes.

Be sure to read Grammar-Checking Software: A Quick Review before you get started for some additional insight and tips.

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Topics: grammar checker software, automated grammar checker

Navigating the Different Types of Compounds

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jan 18, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Writers use compound words and sentences to add a little more color to their writing. But they can be tricky to write correctly, even for those who review written materials every day and stay up to date on new dictionary entries and yearly amendments to the more popular style guides.

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Topics: compound words, compound sentences, compound nouns, compound verbs, compound modifiers

Land an Editing or Proofreading Job in 2019: For Beginners and Pros

Posted by Conni Eversull   Jan 11, 2019 7:30:00 AM

According to information parsed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be little to no change for editorial occupations in the next few years. So, landing an editorial or proofreading position in 2019 wouldn’t be a bad career move, whether you’re just starting out or are already well-established in the industry.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there will be more competition for traditional editorial roles for job seekers who want to work for well-established print publications, due to the rise of online media publications and online media consumption—which means that you’ll still want to make sure you stand out against other job candidates. And whether you’re a beginner or an established editorial professional, there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition.

Here are some things you’ll want to consider doing if you’re interested in landing an editorial or proofreading job this year, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

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Topics: editorial occupations

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