Writing tips

These tips can help you improve your copy's grammar and style.

Grammar

Avoid The dangling participle

Make sure dangling participles don't creep into your writing like it does in the sentence below.

Constantly licking the itchy stitches after surgery, I finally had to put the cone of shame on my dog.

“I” is the subject of this sentence, so unless YOU really were licking the stitches (in which case you might need more than just the cone of shame to help), you want to reword your sentence so your participle (licking) attaches to the noun you really want it to modify (the dog).

Try this instead:

Licking the itchy stitches after surgery, my dog ended up wearing his cone of shame for the next week.


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Style

Cut out words that don't add value

These words make no positive difference in your writing and only distract your reader from what you have to say.

To determine whether a word adds value, delete the word and see if the sentence changes. If it doesn't, then the word is not critical to your content, and you should probably leave it out.

Below are some examples of words that usually add no value:

  • Actually
  • In order
  • Just
  • Literally
  • Pretty
  • Quite
  • Very

Pay attention to your "ifs" and "thens"

Make sure your if/then statements are accurate.

Example: If you are looking for a great spot to relax, then there is a great café on First Street to sit and people watch.

Not quite; that café will be on First Street whether you are looking for a spot to relax or not.

A better option: If you are looking for a great spot to relax, then head to the café on First Street to sit and people watch.