Do You Want Proofreading to Be an Easier Task? Read This.

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2014/08/want-proofreading-easier-task-read/
sans

Proofreading is an inherent part of me. Whenever I write something, I have to proofread it. It’s a habit, and since I am a creature of habit, proofreading is a given. That doesn’t mean that I find it an easy task, though, and it may be the same for some of you. Source For one, it is a well-known fact that going over your own work with the intent of finding mistakes does not always yield good results. You’re biased. Your eyes tend to gloss over mistakes. Typos – misspellings, misplaced punctuation marks, etc. – can easily be overlooked. On [Read more…]

Spring Clean Your Writing Style

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Image credit: Kimberly Back

The season of renewal has arrived! After you scrub your floors, rearrange your tchotchkes, and clear your closet, take some time to spruce up your writing skills. Whether you are a veteran or green to the writing scene, we all need a grammar refresher from time to time. Here are three quick tips for cleaning up your writing style this spring: Modify Misused Words Self-identified grammar nerds are irked when someone mistakes your and you’re or misuses affect and effect, but what about words that aren’t as obviously confusing? Scan your writing to ensure you don’t get tripped up by [Read more…]

Copywriter Tips for Strengthening Your Writing

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English Teacher

I have hired dozens of freelance writers in my role as an in-house copywriter for a content conversion firm, and it never ceases to amaze me how many writers lack basic writing skills. Whether you’ve been a freelance writer for two months or ten years, there are always ways to improve your craft. Here are some specifics things writers can do to strengthen their writing: Use “is” Sparingly The most valuable lesson I took away from my upper graduate English coursework involves use of the word “is.” Here’s how it goes: if you can rework a sentence to remove use [Read more…]

Don’t Forget Grammar in Your Social Media Posts

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socialmedia-addiction

Marketers break grammar rules with catchy slogans and tag lines all the time. Unfortunately, those creative liberties have a nasty habit of bleeding into social media posts and updates – a place they simply don’t belong. Spelling and grammar errors in social media posts affect your credibility, making it look like you don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s the last thing a business should portray to potential customers – or a writer to readers. If you use social media to advertise your product or services, we encourage you to take a quick read of the grammar points highlighted below [Read more…]

What Goes With Compare – With or To?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2013/04/what-goes-with-compare-with-or-to/

I love our Facebook community! Not only do I read interesting – and often hilarious – comments on our posts, but I also get ideas to write about. Sometime last week, I found the image below and shared it on Facebook. Not surprisingly, that generated some discussion. Your responses were varied: I would say ‘to’ compares differences, while ‘with’ compares similarities. (Andrya Silberman) The house style at my work is to use compared with when there is a single point of comparison and compared to when you are comparing something to multiple things. (Robyn Williams) I use whatever falls out [Read more…]

What Contributes to Your Grammar Lapses?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2013/03/what-contributes-to-your-grammar-lapses/
Does-Texting-Hurt-Your-Grammar-800

No one is perfect, and I bet that even sticklers for grammar make lapses now and then. The good old principles of the dynamism of language and Mere Exposure Theory are at work here. I have to admit that I can think of some people who won’t want to admit that publicly, though. Over the weekend, I was catching up on some Elementary, a TV series with a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. I was again made aware of how language evolves. In this particular episode, Sherlock is revealed to use text speak when sending text messages. While I make [Read more…]

Common Crutch Words. What’s Yours?

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Crutch

This morning, I just read – again – an old article published by The Atlantic Wire. Titled “A Literal Epidemic of Crutch Words“, the article highlights words and phrases that we tend to use loosely, both in formal and informal conversation. Going through the list, I couldn’t help but think that writers are not exempt from leaning on crutch words and phrases. Here are some of the phrases/words that I see often – and might have a beef with. Exponentially. “How could you leave out exponentially, a crutch word that might be used accurately once in a thousand times? Something grows exponentially when [Read more…]

The Day I Learned What Friend Zone Means

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2013/02/the-day-i-learned-what-friend-zone-means/
Words-Ad-Feb13-final+images-460x306

In spite of working online, I do have a tendency to be the last to know about the latest things to go viral. Remember Gangnam Style? I think my mom know about it before I did! Then there’s Harlem Shake, which I totally don’t get. “Friend zone” probably takes the cake, though, as I only really learned the “official” definition today, thanks to the February 2013 update of the Oxford Dictionaries. Last year, I was pleasantly surprised with the addition of “Whovian”, Dr. Who fan that I am. Some of you expressed your distaste at certain additions (see the comments [Read more…]

Why I Don’t Rely Too Much on Spell-Check

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spell-checker

I remember how, back when I was younger, I was in awe of spell-check. I didn’t have my own computer till I was in university, but I did have the chance to use WordStar for some school work earlier on. Back then, I saw it as God’s greatest gift to mankind. (Well, right after the Nintendo GameBoy.) Today, we probably take spell-checkers for granted, knowing that they have our backs. After all, whether you use Word, Pages, or the WordPress visual editor, you can easily dabble with the settings so that red (or some other color) lines will show up in [Read more…]

The Worst Words of 2012 – What to Avoid in 2013

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2013/01/the-worst-words-of-2012/
overused2012

I was planning to work on this entry earlier this month, but as you know, the Universe and I weren’t exactly on the same page. Still, all’s well that ends well, and I hope I am not incorrect in thinking that it’s not too late to take a look at some of the worst words of 2012. Not only can it be fun, it might also come in handy as we continue churning out our pieces this year. Usually, at the end/beginning of each year, I like taking a look at Lake Superior State University’s list of banished words. What [Read more…]

Mistakes That I Sometimes Make…Do You Make Them, Too?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/12/mistakes-that-i-sometimes-make-do-you-make-them-too/
eraser and word mistakes

To be human is to make mistakes. That’s an undeniable thing, but that does not mean we can always use use the excuse. However, if we are aware of our mistakes, we always have the chance to correct them. For this week’s grammar guide post, I’m going to share some mistakes I sometimes make. Often, I catch those mistakes – thanks to proofreading. Sometimes, carelessness gets in the way, and I just have to take criticism on the chin. Tell me if you make these mistakes, too! Who and Whom It is embarrassing, but I when my fingers are flying [Read more…]

When Breaches of Grammar Are Acceptable

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Breaking Rules

This post is for the rebels. Or those who have even the slightest streak of rebellion in them. Grammar rules were created for a purpose, and you know that I am the first to stick to them, especially if the context requires it. However, I am also the first to deviate from prescribed grammar rules when the situation allows. If you are a stickler for correct grammar no matter what, I am warning you now: You might not like what you are about to read. On the other hand, if you allow yourself – and others – some flexibility depending on the [Read more…]

Steven Pinker on What Our Language Habits Reveal

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Language

I’ve heard it said more than once that grammar and learning the intricacies of a language can be boring. I guess it’s safe to assume that you don’t think the same way. (At least I hope I am right!) Earlier this week, I was working on another piece about TED talks. I don’t know if you’re familiar with TED, but the premise is to invite select speakers to speak to a limited audience, with the condition that the talk is focused on something inspiring related to the work the speaker has done. Since its inception in 1984, TED has grown [Read more…]

The Case of the Dangling Participle

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Dangling Participle t-shirt

Yesterday, I came across this photo of a t-shirt I wouldn’t mind wearing. I actually found it really funny, so I shared it on our Facebook page. (If you don’t visit it regularly yet, I suggest you do!) The ensuing discussion from our readers inspired me to write a quick post for the Grammar Guide. What is a dangling participle? To make it simple, let’s take a look at a few sentences. Looking around the kitchen, the shelves needed to be restocked. Starving like a lion, the pot roast disappeared within a few minutes. An untrained eye may take a [Read more…]

Texting and Grammar: Is There Really a Correlation?

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Texting and Grammar

Ever since SMS or texting became commonplace, complaints about its many adverse effects have come up. I am sure you have experienced meeting with people face to face, only to have some (many?) of them stare and fiddle with their phones the entire time. You may have even been guilty of this now and then. There is also the issue of grammar and how it has degraded, thanks to texting. Without putting too much thought into the matter, it is easy enough to understand how texting may have contributed to poor spelling and improper grammar. After all, it can be [Read more…]

Writing Using the Present Perfect Tense

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Present Perfect Tense

Those of you who have been following us for a while might know that I used to work as an English teacher. Some of you might even have been in the same profession in the past. While I do love writing day in and day out, I do miss teaching at times – especially when I see humorous images like the one above. Ah, the present perfect tense. It sure did bring many an ESL learner to his knees. (Either that or the learner simply killed me in his mind.) While the infographic offers comic relief to English teachers and [Read more…]

What Do Frankenfood, Guyliner, and Whovian Have in Common?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/08/odo-new-word/
Frankenfood

I don’t know if you’ve checked the Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) lately, but they added new words in May, and boy, did I have a blast going through the list! To be honest, of the three words I used in the title, I am (was) familiar only with the last one. Just in case you felt lost while reading the title of this post, let’s take a quick look at the definitions of these now officially recognized words. Frankenfood refers to genetically modified food and is used in a derogatory manner. If you steer clear of anything remotely related to [Read more…]

Idioms That (Might) Have Been Victimized By Advances in Technology

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Idioms lost to tech

I love idioms! I speak only two languages fluently, but I do have a proclivity for learn idioms in other languages. That’s not to say that I remember all of them, but idioms are a wonderful way of gaining insights to a culture as well. We have a lot of English idioms, and many of them are inspired by technology. The thing is, we all know very well that technology advances very quickly. Many things we considered hi-tech as kids may not be “extinct” and unknown to today’s children. What happens to the idioms tied to tech then? Last month, [Read more…]

Have Some Color-coded Fun With English Word Origins

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/07/have-some-color-coded-fun-with-english-word-origins/
English word origins visualized

Grammar can be a pain in the butt, but who says it can’t be fun? Etymology, today’s topic, technically doesn’t fall under grammar, but my discovery is too fun not to share with all of you. A guy who runs the blog Ideas Illustrated has taken it upon himself to apply some color-coding technology to English text to make the concept of English word origins more visual. If you are a visual person like me, then this endeavor is definitely a welcome one! What he did was to rely on Douglas Harper’s online dictionary of etymology to determine the language [Read more…]

Think Different

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/07/apple-and-grammar/
Apple

I won’t deny it. I come very close to being an Apple fangirl at times, but I do not think that I will ever be a hundred percent blinded to the flaws that beset the company (just like any other company). That being said, I cannot sit back and ignore two pieces that link Apple and grammar, which are two of my favorite topics. About two weeks ago, I found myself almost snorting with laughter because of an email exchange between a Macworld UK writer and a reader. The exchange was instigated by Pedantic Reader with the subject: “Illiteracy (yours).” [Read more…]

Just How Important Is Grammar?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/06/just-how-important-is-grammar/
non-negotiable

I honestly didn’t think that I would be asking this question today, but an article published by The Wall Street Journal caught me off guard. Titled “This Embarrasses You and I“, the article highlights the degradation of grammar in the workplace, leading to supposedly disastrous results. You all probably know by now that I am a stickler for grammar, but you also ought to know that I can be flexible. I have always been a strong believer in context and purpose. In some cases, I will not settle for less than prescriptive grammar. In others, I tolerate (even engage in) [Read more…]

What Do You Call Someone Who Protests?

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Protestors

Last year could very well be called the year of protests. We’re only halfway through this year, but I guess we can say that protests are still the “in” thing. Now please remember that this is a grammar column and not a political one, so let’s forget about the latter aspect of the word. Instead, why don’t we take a look at a noun derived from the word “protest”? What do you call a person who protests? Is he a protester, or is he a protestor? A quick look at online dictionaries will not give you a single answer. It [Read more…]

It’s Not Wrong, Just Different

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/06/wrong-just-different/
Grammar and style

I have not visited a different country this year (so far), and this has naturally led me to spend some time reminiscing about the my previous trips. One thing that struck me about visiting different Asian countries is a line I heard practically everywhere: “Same, same, but different.” The phrase was uttered in the context of people being the same (physical attributes for Asian tourists and the local shopkeepers) albeit with marked differences as well. That made me think about perspective, how things may seem so different that some people misconstrue them as “wrong” when in fact, they’re not. Where [Read more…]

So You Think You’re a Writer?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/05/so-you-think-youre-a-writer/
Writer

I have a confession. Sometimes, when I meet people for the first time, and I am asked what I do for a living, I hesitate. I know what I do, but there are moments when I don’t feel like using the word “write” and its derivatives. I still cannot pinpoint the reason, but the next time it happens, I shall certainly think about it again. Has that happened to any of you? Maybe you find it easy to put on the label “writer”, but whether or not you do, what I’d like to share in today’s Grammar Guide is something [Read more…]

Editing Techniques for Modern Mediums

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2012/04/editing-techniques-for-modern-mediums/
contentforconversions

In college you learn to abide by AP style, write in neat paragraphs and an academic tone. In the traditional writing format, these rules transferred nicely. However, when it comes to modern mediums, otherwise known as web writing, these rules generally don’t apply. While grammar should still be pristine, it’s more about the content than anything else. As an editor, it’s important that you have an eye for these key differences.

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