I have been an editor for several years (don't make me acknowledge exactly how many) and a writer for even longer. After even a few years in the sport, each editor develops their own collection of bugbears (translation: pet peeves) — the mistakes or missteps that actually stick in one's craw (translation: frighten the pants off one).
I work with many diverse writers, and because I share those suggestions privately all of the timeI guessed it was time to pull on them from the shadows of Track Changes comments and also make them a matter of public record.
Most of the men and women who read this site are marketers and business owners, which I have written this article with you in your mind. These self-editing tips will be particularly valuable for copywriters doing business composing (i.e. writing for corporate sites and websites, lead generation magnets such as white papers, etc.) — but this information can enhance almost any type of writing.Join Us best backlink services website
So if you are seeking to up your writing match and get better at self-editing, read on. I'll begin with some frequent style problems I encounter again and again.
They confuse clarity for dullness. If this is the attitude, what you generally end up using is overwriting. It can come off because show-offy, and it's uncomfortable to read.
All these seven bad habits muck up your composing, slow down your reader, and vague what you're trying to convey. Relentlessly search out these and destroy them on your content editing period.
The so-called tasteful version "The elegant variation" is an older expression (coined by use expert Henry Watson Fowler) that describes an overuse of infrequent or poetic synonyms for much more common words. The term is intended to be ironic — that the result is not actually elegant. Rather, elegant variations usually feel overwrought (or as the children say,"try-hard").
The tasteful variant is normal in journalistic writing, in which writers often attempt to prevent repeating a noun — therefore you'll see Google referred to as"the hunt giant" on second mention. But it crops up all over the place — when people state a writer"written a volume" versus writing a book, say. It is adorable to a point, but really easy to overdo.
A related poor addiction is"said-bookism," when authors feel the should prevent the phrase"stated," so people are constantly"exclaiming" and"proclaiming" and also"retorting" rather than There was a"said book" at one point, a kind of thesaurus of phrases for talking that authors could use to change their dialogue tags. However, as it turns out, the majority of the time, plain old"stated" works better, and the repeat calls less attention to itself compared to the endless variations do.
Ten-dollar words, AKA SAT words, tend to go together with elegant-variationism.
All these are fancy-sounding words that crop up on language tests and from spelling bees and are seldom uttered in everyday speech. Two of my particular least favorites are"plethora" and also"variety" (protip: if you ever apply for employment in WordStream, don't utilize these in your cover letter).
A lot of writers have a favorite go-to ten-dollar word. My husband enjoys"proleptic" for a while. When self-editing, look for words that you tend to overuse, particularly if they're over a high-school reading level. (We found that top-performing advertisements, such as most bestsellers, are written in a ninth-grade reading degree !)
Latinate words There's not anything wrong with Latinate words and you can not prevent them completely — but there are a good deal of instances where choosing Latinate words over words or Germanic words may make your writing sound clinical or academic and so less friendly.
Here are some examples of Latinate words vs. their Germanic counterparts:
But really, you do not need to be concerned overly much about the etymological origins or origins or your words; just try to write in regular speech. As an example, I seldom hear folks say"use" but I find it in writing all of the time. "Utilization" and"utilize" both finally come from French but"usage" sounds a lot more friendly and natural.
Commonly misused words Words which are misused all of the time constantly seem kind of wrong — even when used properly!
The correct term is"home on" — like a homing pigeon or homing device. A whole lot of editors will fix this use of"hone" (so to sharpen, as in honing your skills or honing a knife) to"home," but I prefer to simply rephrase. All things considered, both"home in on" and"hone your abilities" are clichés.
If you use them wrongly, you are likely to tick off persnickety types, and should you use them properly, all the folks who don't know what the word implies are going to believe you are at the wrong. Therefore I think it's ideal to avoid them entirely.
This tic is particularly common in business and advertising writing, where writers naturally wish to sell the worth of whatever product or service they are speaking about, however, you put yourself at risk of sounding just like a counterfeit or a snake oil salesman.
An illustration would be saying something"could not be simpler" instead of just stating that it's easy. Theoretically, it could always be somewhat easier…
Baseless assumptions & received wisdom There's a bizarre rumor that floats around the WordStream workplace — it is that seltzer is awful for you. Specifically people seem to think bubbly water somehow leeches calcium from the bones (??) . I really don't know where the myth came from, but there's no proof that it does this.
An example from the world of marketing is that the received idea that consumers hate remarketing ads, and that means you need to put strict frequency caps on your own retargeted ads. But we have found that conversion rates on remarketing advertisements really raise with more vulnerability, not the other way round. It's always great to wonder a"principle" and also make sure it is not just an old wives' story.
When reading over your writing, be watching out for claims which you can't prove or back up with evidence. Just because you've heard something over and above doesn't make it accurate.