Owl Editing

Owl Editing

Tips for writers

Posts filed under writing

The Tricky Order of Adjectives

If you’re confused about this, you’re not alone. J. R. R. Tolkien ran into this little-known quirk of English grammar when he first began writing: I first tried to write a story when I was about seven. It was about a dragon. . . . My mother said nothing about the dragon, but pointed out… (read more)

Lots and Lots of Clauses

“The alternative, should you, or any writer of English, choose to employ it (and who is to stop you?) is, by use of subordinate clause upon subordinate clause, which itself may be subordinated to those clauses that have gone before or after, to construct a sentence of such labyrinthine grammatical complexity that, like Theseus before… (read more)

Reducing bias in writing-1

From the APA Publication Manual (6th ed) (2010): Respect people’s preferences; call people what they prefer to be called. Accept that preferences change with time and that individuals within groups often disagree about the designations they prefer. Make an effort to determine what is appropriate for your situation; you may need to ask your participants… (read more)

A common error in writing: nominalization

Nominalization is changing a verb into a noun. When you change a verb to a noun, you take the strength away from the sentence. For example, “to conclude” is a specific act but if you are “reaching a conclusion” you’ve eliminated the specific action and replaced it with an all-purpose verb. Instead of “concluding,” the… (read more)