Below are the corrections and explanations for the postings of the last two weeks.
Identify two writing errors in the following example. One is simple. One is more esoteric. Correct the errors.
“We have a choice. Unless you want to vote for the Green Party.”
The second unit of words is not a sentence or complete thought.
Two persons, “we” and “you”, should not be used because there should be only one point of view.
“You have a choice, unless you want to vote for the Green Party.”
“Creditable” is an adjective meaning praiseworthy or deserving of credit.
“His effort was creditable but not good enough to get to the next round of competition.”
“Credible” is an adjective meaning convincing or capable of being believed.
“Her story was so credible and touching that she had her audience in tears.”
Based on the concept that style should not trump form, determine the problems and fix them.
“For the longest time after the collision occurred, Ed Jovanovski kept his hand cupped over his left eye.
Not because he was afraid of what he might see.
Because he feared he might not see, and that thought frightened him to no end.”
There are three groups of words and each was written as a separate paragraph; only the first group is a complete thought; the second two are subordinate clauses.
The author is using slipshod writing methods to try to create emphasis and sets a bad example.
“For the longest time after the collision occurred, Ed Jovanovski kept his hand cupped over his left eye, not because he was afraid of what he might see but because he feared he might not see, and that thought frightened him to no end.”
“Ascetic” is a noun referring to the practice of self-denial of all forms of indulgence as spiritual discipline.
It is also an adjective meaning austere or practising self-denial.
“The old ascetic refused all modern conveniences as evil leading people to certain damnation.”
“Aesthetic” is a noun referring to the philosophical theory of what is beautiful.
It is also an adjective characterized by an appreciation of beauty or good taste.
“Her sense of aesthetic togetherness made her home a place of great beauty.”
Identify and correct the error in the following piece.
BONUS: Explain the concept of “speak-writing” that is the title of this unit. Explain the problems with “speak-writing”, especially when used in newspaper writing.
“It’s no coincidence that fDi Magazine, owned by the Financial Times of London, recently called Windsor one of the top 10 cities for 2011-12. Why? Because it has a bright future based on recent investments and restructuring.”
The answer to the question “Why?” is a subordinate clause, which is an incomplete thought. It should be rebuilt.
Correct writing must consist of complete sentences and writing in terse “twitter-like” spurts of words in not acceptable; such “speak-writing” must be avoided for the sake of credibility.
“It’s no coincidence that fDi Magazine, owned by the Financial Times of London, recently called Windsor one of the top 10 cities for 2011-12. Why? Windsor is a top 10 city because it has a bright future based on recent investments and restructuring.”
Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces. Pay particular attention to diction.
“Charles Lavin, 42, is charged with two counts of assault and assist a person to escape lawful custody.”
“Assist” is incorrectly used.
“Charles Lavin, 42, is charged with two counts of assault and assisting a person to escape lawful custody.”
“Michael Walsh, 31, is charged with assault, aggravated assault and obstruct police.”
“Obstruct” is incorrectly used.
“Michael Walsh, 31, is charged with assault, aggravated assault and obstructing police.”
“A group of men were inside a bar at the WFCU Centre Thursday night when an argument broke out.”
“Group” is a singular collective noun and demands a singular verb.
“A group of men was inside a bar at the WFCU Centre Thursday night when an argument broke out.”
I have read the following ten different ways and still cannot make sense of it.
Find the error, or problem, and correct it.
What is the major lesson to writers of this?
“That the way to reduce what industrial and commercial pay is by having the residential taxpayer pick up the difference.”
This is a case of the writer simply not reading what he has written. Remove “that” and the sentence makes complete sense.
The second correction is to add an identifying word after “…industrial and commercial…” to create context.
“The way to reduce what industrial and commercial businesses pay is by having the residential taxpayer pick up the difference.”
IS THIS REALLY ACCEPTABLE OR EVEN CORRECT?
I contend there is an error in the following. Others may disagree.
Identify and correct what is considered an error by English purists.
“None of them are in custody.”
“None”is a singular pronoun and demands a singular verb.
“None of them is in custody.”
“Impassible” is an adjective meaning incapable of suffering or feeling pain, incapable of emotion as in impassive.
The ascetic trained himself to be impassible to the cruel changes of severe weather.”
“Impassable” is an adjective meaning incapable of passing on or over.
“The opening between the rocks was so narrow that it was impassible and the boy had to seek another way out of the cave.”
“Impossible” is an adjective meaning unimaginable, insufferable or out of the question.
“His disruptive behaviour was so upsetting that he was removed from the classroom.”
A QUESTION OF MEANING
The first sentence below was taken from a story by Monica Wolfson in today’s addition of the Windsor Star.
One word has been changed to create the second sentence.
Because of the word change, there is a subtle difference in meaning between the two sentences.
Explain that difference.
Which sentence is the one that should be used? Why?
“They follow up on the information and try and locate the person.”
Using “and” between “try” and “”locate” suggests that the person was found.
Correctly, the meaning is “try to locate” or “try to find”, as in a constant effort.
“They follow up on the information and try to locate the person.”
A WORTHY ATTITUDE
“The renown which riches or beauty confer is fleeting and frail; mental excellence is a splendid and lasting possession.”
Sallust, a Roman historian and politician who lived from 86 BC to 34 BC, wrote this.
THIS IS WORTH REMEMBERING
“A little learning is a dangerous thing but a lot of ignorance is just as bad.”
Bob Edwards, a Peabody Award-winning member of the National Radio Hall of Fame, said this.
TWO WEEKS OF WORD
“Ennui” (n.) refers to boredom, tedium, monotony or dissatisfaction.
“The fanatic hockey nut was filled with ennui when his wife dragged him to see the musical, ‘Flower Drum Song’ on Saturday night.”
“Couch” (v.) means to formulate in a particular style or language, to set at, to frame or arrange.
“The clever politician would always couch his remarks in such a manner as to not offend anyone.”
“Edification” (n.) refers enlightenment, understanding or improvement.
“Edify” is the verb form.
“Edifyingly” is the adverb form.
“Your edification about the various religions of the world should begin by learning how many there are.”
“Discernment” (n.) refers to knowledge, discrimination or the trait of judging wisely and objectively.
“Discern” is the verb form.
“Discerning” is the participial form.
“I trust your wise sense of discernment will lead you th choose the right path to knowledge.”
“Flibbertigibbet” (n.) refers to a fool, a chattering or flighty person, usually a woman.
“The little girl was such a flibbertigibbet that she drove her friends away because they couldn’t stand her nervous energy.”
“Whelm” (v.) means to sweep over, to influence, to overtake or to shape.
“Every spring the Thames River would whelm from its various sources and flood the city.”
“Bawdy” (adj.) means humourously vulgar, ribald, off-colour or lewd.
“Her bawdy sense of humour made the comedienne very unwelcome among the timid church-goers.”
“Tractable” (adj.) means susceptible to suggestion, responsive or easy to control or influence.
“Tractability” is the noun form.
“Tractably” is the adverb form.
“Dysphoria” (n.) refers to depression, unease, anxiety or dissatisfaction with life.
“His dysphoria over losing his job was so overwhelming that it caused him to consider suicide.: