Owl Editing

Owl Editing

Tips for writers

Posts filed under writing

Effective Writing: Sort Out Your Ideas (2)

Nobody, we might suppose, would write a sentence as bad as, Miss Jones finished her solo at ten o’clock and immediately afterward they found the house on fire. Yet how much better is the following paragraph, written in a style with which most of us are all too familiar? The June meeting of the Groveton… (read more)

Effective Writing: Sort Out Your Ideas (1)

Subordination, the grouping of ideas into principal and subordinate clauses in a sentence, is much like the pictorial artist’s emphasis upon one element in his painting at the expense of all others; or like the photographer’s selective focus, by means of which he keeps a certain part of his picture in focus and deliberately allows… (read more)

Steps to Effective Writing (3)

Step 1. Write in Specifics – part 3 The view from the hill behind our town — is it beautiful? If a writer uses that overworked, vague term, he must at once tell specific things that support his use of the general adjective. A writer must never use a general term unless he follows it… (read more)

Steps to Effective Writing (2)

Step 1. Write in Specifics – part 2 The following selection from Joseph Conrad’s Typhoon is full of sharp, clearly defined terms. After explaining that the ship Nan-shan, on her way to Fu-chau, had two hundred Chinese coolies on board, Conrad goes on with: The foredeck, packed with Chinamen, was full of somber clothing, yellow… (read more)

Steps to Effective Writing (1)

Step 1. Write in Specifics – part 1 Writing in specific, concrete, definite terms is the most important single principle the student of effective writing can learn. General, abstract, and vague terms are deadly foes of effective writing. They rob writing of all its vitality; they give the reader the unpleasant sensation of having entered a schizoid world in… (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)

One space or two at the end of a sentence?

One.     Space Invaders – Slate.com Sentence Spacing – Wikipedia APA Publication Manual 6th edition: Spacing (4.01). Using two spaces after periods ending sentences aids readers of manuscript drafts. Nothing Says Over 40 Like Two Spaces after a Period! Unless you are typing on an actual typewriter, you no longer have to put two… (read more)

The Active Voice

The active voice is direct and vigorous. In grammar, passive describes a sentence in which something sits and waits for something to happen to it. With passive sentences, you sound like someone who sits and waits for things to happen. PASSIVE: The ball was kicked by John. ACTIVE: John kicked the ball.  

Proper use of articles

The root word of “the” is “this” or “that” (definite article). The root word of “a/an” is “any” (indefinite article). This table shows how the articles should be used with nouns:   SINGULAR NOUN PLURAL NOUN DEFINITE ARTICLE the the INDEFINITE ARTICLE a/an –