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Writing tools: 50 essential strategies for every writer

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Writing tools: 50 essential tools for every writer, as the title indicates, is a handy tool book written by Roy Peter Clark.

Roy is vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, an esteemed school for journalists and teachers of journalists.

Full texts of all handy tools were originally published as blog posts on Poynter website.

When Roy decided to publish them as a book, all posts were shortened to abstract. Nevertheless, you can still read a quick list of these tools, and even download podcasts of some of them. Here’s a few of the tools:

  • Begin sentences with subjects and verbs.
  • Activate your verbs.
  • Fear not the long sentences.
  • Cut big, then small.
  • Get the name of dog.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Write toward an ending.

I’ve read all these tools years ago when there were on the web, but sadly, I failed to practice them since then.

I read them, but I didn’t own them. As the last writing tool says: “own the tools of your craft”, I have to use them whenever I write; otherwise, I won’t be able to make them my own.

So, I bought a copy yesterday for £5.82. In 2 days time, it will arrive. Can’t wait to read the book.

A grammar mistake called dangling modifier

October 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Wynford Hicks listed 10 common mistakes made in journalism in his book English for Journalists. The first one is the dangling modifier, and a particular case is the floating participle.

In the past few days,  I have looked for a printer on amazon, and this morning I got this email as you can see below.

Amazon grammar mistake

As someone who has recently browsed our range of scanners, we thought you might like to know about our bestsellers.

My first reaction to this sentence was that it was grammatically wrong. Should it be like this:

As someone who has recently browsed our range of scanners, you might like to know about our bestsellers.

It was “you” who was this someone who had recently browsed scanners, not “we” the seller. Or you may say it was grammatically correct, but the sentence itself just does not make much sense.