GrammarPhile Blog

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

Holiday Quiz: Can You Spot the Grammar Mistake(s)?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Dec 20, 2018 7:30:00 AM

It’s time to get into the holiday spirit … with grammatically correct holiday terms, phrases, and colloquialisms.  

Take the quiz below and select the option that correctly fills in each blank, and then share your results with us in the comments. Also, be sure to share this quiz with others who may be grammatically inclined too. We wish you a joyous holiday season!

 

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Topics: quiz, grammar quiz

Will Software Replace Human Writers?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Dec 14, 2018 10:49:11 AM

Many professionals and job seekers think that technology enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) will automate most (if not all) occupations within the next decade or so, while others aren’t yet convinced.

Some professionals believe that grammar-checking software, for instance, is the first step to replacing human writers and editors. And then there are services that will auto-write “textual content” for you.

But what do you think? Do you think that robots or software enhanced with AI will be able to completely replace human writers, editors, and proofreaders in the near or distant future? Keep reading to learn more.

How Grammar-Checking Software Works

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Topics: grammar checker, artificial intelligence

Are Grammar Rules Different for Different Professions?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Dec 6, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Writing would be much easier to do and understand if there were hard and fast grammar rules that never change or fluctuate. Yet that would also make it a lot less fun and interesting … which would mean that there would be fewer writers, editors, and readers in the world.  

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Topics: grammar rules

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