Monthly Archives: February 2008

Every or Not Every?

Using “every” when we really mean “not every” makes a huge difference. Here are two examples: Every investigation doesn’t yield new data, but investigating is necessary if anything is to be found. It’s clear that the writer meant this instead: … Continue reading

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Once is Enough

This sentence uses two words to achieve the same purpose. One would have been enough: Frankly, I was a little more than tired of both the anticipation and the rain, too. I found it in a mystery novel, and the … Continue reading

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Creeping Clutter

Clutter creeps into our work, our homes, our relationships–and into our writing. Clutter crept into the following sentence: By the time she hung up, they were on a first name basis and she felt as if she’d made a friend … Continue reading

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Syntax Contest Winner

The winner of the February 26 Syntax Contest is Georg Muntingh. The syntax-troubled sentence that George corrected reads like this: Gennifer Flowers claimed that she had a 12-year relationship with Bill Clinton in 1992. Following is Georg’s correct assessment of … Continue reading

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Syntax Contest

This is a contest, and there is a prize. What is the syntax error in the following sentence? Gennifer Flowers claimed that she had a 12-year relationship with Bill Clinton in 1992. If you know the answer, and you’re the … Continue reading

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syntax, syntax, syntax

The three sentences below illustrate why careful use of syntax (word order) matters. This first example states that a fawn licked the author’s face all summer long: I had been observing the fawn who had licked my face throughout the … Continue reading

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Excess Words

Last weekend, I heard some word clutter over the radio: It’s very crucial to leave our comfort zones to learn something new. It’s absolutely critical that we tone down our rhetoric. Since “crucial” means “essential,” there’s no need to modify … Continue reading

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