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Writing Articles - Grammar and Punctuation Basics

Some would-be writers think they can dash off an article without
bothering to learn the basic rules of grammar. But just as any
craftsperson spends time honing his skills to make the perfect
piece of craft, so must a writer work hard to present an article
that will be a pleasure to read and not shame him for its sloppy
grammar and punctuation. True, some errors are typos, but doesn’t
that reflect a certain laziness on the author’s part? An article
should be closely examined for typos before it is sent off or
uploaded.

Don’t trust your spell checker. No automated spell-checker can
alert you to every error. Whose and who’s, lose and loose, quiet
and quite, its and it’s are all legitimate words, so there will
be no red line under them. Spell-checkers are not clever enough
yet to tell which one you meant to use. And if the error is not
due to a typo, it means you need to keep a dictionary on hand to
check anything you are uncertain of.

Remember that when a word ends in “ ‘s” it means there is a
letter missing. “It’s” means “it is”. If you are unsure which one
you should be using, try saying the sentence both ways.

For instance…

“ It’s a good day today/ It is a good day today”. The latter
example makes perfect sense, so it is okay to use “it’s”.

But….

“Here is a rabbit. Its burrow is over there.”

Does, “It is burrow is over there”, make sense? No.

Of course if you said, “The rabbit’s burrow is over there,” then
the apostrophe denotes possession (and only one rabbit), not a
missing letter.

“The rabbits burrow is over there,” (with no apostrophe) means
there are several rabbits.

And just for the record, “loose” means not tight, while “lose”
means you’ve lost it.
“Who’s” is short for “who is”, but “whose” is the possessive form
of “who” (as in “Whose is that car?”)
“Quiet” means “hush”, while “quite” is an adverb (which should
usually be left out).

“I felt quite silly,” sounds better as, “I felt silly”.

“I felt like an idiot,” may be even better.

Sometimes rules of grammar get in the way of good writing. If
this is the case they can and should be broken, otherwise your
writing will become pedantic and even mechanical. One such rule
is that a sentence should not begin with a conjunction. Both
“and” and “but” can certainly be used to begin a sentence, or
even a paragraph, but not to end one. Using either of these
conjunctions to start a sentence can be a natural transition to
carry the reader forward.

A rule of style tells us to never use the same word twice in a
sentence, but if you have to search for several other clumsy
substitutes to do the job, then please repeat. Repetition of
someone’s name is a little different. It can easily be replaced
with “he” or “she” as the sentence progresses.

A persistent myth masquerading as a rule tells us not to end a
sentence with a preposition. Winston Churchill is supposed to
have made fun of this by stating, “This is the sort of English up
with which I will not put.” Of course a sentence may end with a
preposition. A good rule is to write the way you speak. But
unless you have grown up speaking English, ignore this rule too.

A few more pointers…

· When writing an article, watch that you don’t repeat
information unnecessarily. Even if you use different wording, it
still gives the reader the impression that you think he was too
dumb to get it the first time.

· Use short sentences more than long ones, but do vary the
length.

· Break up the text by using bullet points, or asking a question.
Why? It will add interest and prevent your reader falling asleep
– or simply turning the page.

· Use short paragraphs too. This will make the job of reading it
all seem much easier. In this fast-paced world readers are mostly
in a hurry. If they come to a huge block of text with no white
space, they’ll usually skip most of it.

If you keep these tips in mind, your articles will keep both
editors and readers happy


To Your Success,

Leon Edward

http://www.HomeBusinessIT.com

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  • About the Author...

    Leon Edward helps people start and grow an online business and writes on marketing, promotion, joint ventures and home internet business residual income. Search ideas, best of web articles, opportunities and an internet business blog at his website http://homebusinessit.com


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