Editing is cheaper than therapy.

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wordworkerdn:

I originally wrote this post for blog.enroll.com.

English is full of words that look or sound the same but have different meanings, and differentiating between these troublesome pairs (or threesomes or foursomes) will help you polish your writing. In my years as a writing tutor, I’ve sought and created tricks to determine which word you want in a given context. Here’s my list.

  • Affect and effect. Ninety-five percent of the time, this trick will work. Affect is a verb (an action word). Both affect and action start with a. So, effect is the noun. You won’t need to worry about the other five percent unless you’re writing for psychology or for a scholarly audience.
  • Affective and effective. Ninety-five percent of the time, you mean effective. If something has an effect, it’s effective. Psychologists may mean affective.
  • Complement and compliment. Complement means “to complete,” “to round out,” or “something that completes or goes with.” This trick comes from Woe Is I by Patricia O’Connor: Both complement and complete contain two e’s. Compliment means “to praise” or “an expression of praise” (95).
  • Its and it’s. Quit using contractions in writing assignments, and it will be harder to mix up these two words. The possessive form is its, and the contraction is it’s. Remember, not all possessive words have apostrophes (for example, mine, yours).
  • Lay and lie. Lay involves doing something to an object, as in, “Lay the hammer aside.” Lie means “to recline.”
  • Principle and principal. Principles are concepts, and principals are people who play principal, or leading, roles. This trick comes from O’Connor: “If you’re good in school, the principal is your p-a-l” (106). Exception: There is a financial term called a principal, so remember that financial and principal end in the same two letters.
  • Their, there, and they’re. I remember the difference between the first two by removing the t from there and their in my mind: heir, here. An heir is someone who will own something, so their is the possessive word. Here is a location, so there refers to places or placeholders. As for they’re, quit using contractions, and you won’t need to worry about this one. Plus, avoiding contractions can make writing sound more formal, which professors will appreciate.
  • To, too, and two. Since too means “in addition” or works as an intensifier (for example, “too much”), it has an additional o. Two has a w in it because twice has a w. In other instances, you probably mean to.
  • Weather and whether. The first refers to climate, and the second is the one used in a sentence like “I don’t know whether I should.” The function of whether is similar to that of which. Remember that both of these words start with wh, and that should help you.
  • Who’s and whose. Another reason to avoid contractions! Who’s means “who is,” and whose is a possessive pronoun, as in, “Whose shoes are these?” Use that rhyming phrase to help you remember the difference.

I know English is frustrating when it comes to the words in this list. I didn’t invent this language! I hope that these tricks help you edit your writing. Happy writing!

Work Cited: O’Connor, Patricia T. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, rev. ed. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print.

Photo by Pixably, Flickr Creative Commons

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steveinaspeedo:

Hmm… that seems suspicious.

llogicoma:

A teacher handed this out to show us how “English is illogical”

dorothysantos:

I scored another book for a bargain! Historically, I’ve done content editing and looked for holes in argumentation. Over the years, I’ve worked with some of the best (copy) editors. But it’s time I start to learn the fine art of copyediting. ::gulp:: #copyediting #editing #writerlife (at My Brain)

heretoedit:

Here’s a new entry for Fix It Friday!

BEFORE

Help writing an essay is also a demanding exercise that calls for writers to be in appropriate mindsets in the pre-writing and writing processes of the exercise. Writers that seek to achieve the best of results in essay tasks must summon their perceptual, research, and writing faculties in well balanced manner that will incontrovertibly demonstrate the maturity and the coming of age of their research, writing and critical capabilities.

Custom Essay Writing demands that the writer be disciplined if he or she has to handle the multi-tasking approaches that characterize the feasible custom essay drafting and compiling strategies.

Before delving into the nitty-gritty’s of gathering and putting through formulated and gathered ideas on the essay topic, writers must be sure that they have clearly understood the topic and have sufficiently construed the denotations and connotations of the key terms used in the essay topic of thesis statement. This enables writers to locate essay subject into its appropriate conceptual and philosophical framework. Many writers especially inexperienced students usually falter in the writing of essays due to an abysmal lack of understanding of the defined requirements of the essay task outlined in the thesis statement. Critical terms to watch out for include the imperatives like ‘analyze’, ‘critique’, ‘describe’, ‘discuss’, ‘explore’, etc.

When writers get to understand the actual requirements of the custom essay task, they are empowered to conduct relevant and adequate researches in order to gather all relevant and related facts and opinions that will enable them to present balanced and professionally articulated arguments and standpoints in the custom essay Writing also exerts significant demands on the exploit of a writer’s polished and prolific writing acumen. The manipulation of language in inventive, incisive and non-overbearing parlance comes as the crux of the actual custom essay writing exercise. Writers who fail to pay adequate attention to the aspects of presentation run the risk of letting their research and knowledge substance waste away in the knitting of unprofessional and mediocre write ups. This again must be expected to precipitate failure.

AFTER

Writing an essay is a demanding exercise that calls for writers to be in the appropriate mindset during the pre-writing and writing processes. Writers that seek to achieve the best results must summon their perceptual and analytical faculties in well balanced manner that will incontrovertibly demonstrate the maturity of their research, writing, and critical capabilities.

Custom essay writing demands that the writer be disciplined if he or she has to handle the multi-tasking approaches that characterize feasible essay drafting and compiling strategies.

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of gathering and formulating ideas on an essay topic, writers must be sure that they have clearly understood the topic and have sufficiently construed key terms. Many writers, especially inexperienced students, falter in writing essays due to an abysmal lack of understanding the defined requirements outlined in the thesis statement. Critical terms to watch out for include imperatives like ‘analyze’, ‘critique’, ‘describe’, ‘discuss’, ‘explore’, etc.

When writers understand the essay task they can conduct relevant and adequate research. Writers will need to gather all relevant and related facts and opinions to present balanced and professionally articulated arguments and standpoints. Writing also exerts significant demands on a writer’s polished and prolific writing acumen. Manipulating language in inventive, incisive and non-overbearing parlance is the crux of an essay writing exercise. Writers who fail to pay adequate attention to presentation run the risk of letting their research and knowledge waste away in the knitting of unprofessional and mediocre write-ups.

This passage had some grammar issues and was quite wordy, so I made it easier to read.

Well, I hope this was helpful! If you want to submit something for Fix It Friday, please send it by 5pm on Thursday.

Have a nice weekend ^^.

kimberlyedits:

Liberty University application

kimberlyedits:

Liberty University application

worthcogitation:

LOOK ALERT: It’s clear the writer and any news producer who saw this copy completely read over the missing word. Can you find it?