Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Recycling Meme - Be a Better Writer: Avoid These Common Mistakes

Mihaeal Lica of eWritings - Online Public Relations tagged me with this fun Meme in which I get to recycle an older post, and then tag others to do the same. It was hard to choose which to repost. I love the older posts that were written before I redesigned this blog specifically for writers. They are so personal and are a great enjoyment for me to read, but since most of you are writers, I thought I would repost something that might be useful to you. So here you go. Enjoy!

Be a Better Writer: Avoid These Common Mistakes

In my last blog I discussed the difference between proofreading and editing—both very important elements of writing. Understanding the difference is great, but what can you look for that goes beyond the basics of punctuation?

Incorrect word usage is something that often grabs my attention when I am reading an article. When words are used improperly, the writer automatically loses credibility. You must be vigilant about choosing the correct words and using them in the correct context.

As a writer, you must thoughtfully choose the words you use—whether it’s for a short story, poetry, or writing a cover letter. The following examples are some of the most common mistakes that I see, but should be avoided at all costs.

(1) Anxious vs. eager - I see this mistake all the time. Anyone who has ever had anxiety knows that there is an extreme difference between being anxious and eager. If you are looking forward to meeting your favorite author, you would not say, "I am anxious to meet Stephen King." Instead you would be eager to meet him--unless you are afraid he might act out a gruesome scene from one of his books. Then you might be anxious.

(2) Center on vs. revolve around – Often writers will combine the two and instead write “center around.” Well, you can’t be in the center and around at the same time. I might say that I want you to center your attention on my blog right now.

(3) Concerted effort - one person cannot make a concert but he can make a concentrated effort.

(4) Accept vs. except – accept means to take, and except means to leave out. Try to remember that the “x” in except means to exclude. Please accept my advice on word usage--except when I make mistakes!

(5) Criterion vs. criteria - Some words with Latin or Greek roots have plural forms that end in “a.” These words are commonly mistaken for singular words. Remember you have one criterion and many criteria.

(6) A lot vs. alot – ok, so this one is very basic and not really about meaning, but I see it misused so often, I think it’s worth mentioning. Remember that “a lot” is always two words—not one. But you can allot a job to a friend.

I hope these suggestions will help you when working on your writing project—whatever it may be. Choose your words carefully, and remember it’s the simple things that add up to make you an expert in the writing world.

I am tagging Sylvia, Harmony, and Betsy. Have fun ladies!


Mihaela Lica said...

And another entry that shows me... I know who to tag for what really matters :)

Thank you for participating. I can hardly wait to see what Harmony brings back in the spotlight!


Laura said...

This is a good list. Every writer should keep it close at hand.

Lillie Ammann said...

Great advice to recycle. I see these same mistakes often.

Harmony said...

Thanks for the tag Lisa - my post is up!

Mig - nothing too insightful but definitely smile inducing :) Thanks for the vote of confidence

Lisa Vella said...

Thank you everyone for leaving a comment!

Mig, I plan to not only recycle this post, but also to post on protecting our children from internet predators, as well. Such a great cause, and as a mother, I thank you!

Laura and Lillie, those are some common mistakes that I see all the time - my own little writing pet peeves, if you will! I'm always thinking of others. Some day maybe I will do a follow up post to this one.

Harmony, I loved your recycled post! It was a good one! You never know what children will do next!

Take care, Ladies!

Matthew C. Keegan said...

Alot is one of the oldest, but most common mistakes I still see. I often see ensure/insure/assure mixed up too.

Robin said...

Thanks for the info Lisa. I enjoyed the post.

Lisa Vella said...

Robin! So nice to see you back! I've missed you in the blogosphere!

Thanks for the positive feedback!