Tag Archives: redundancies

9 Flawed Headlines And How To Make Them Better

Man being threatened by big-footMy list of flawed headlines again has grown. From word misuse such as squash vs. quash and cement vs. concrete; to mismatching a noun, verb and pronoun; to the redundancy lagging behind, this ruthless editor finds multiple grammar lessons.

Today’s rapid news cycle likely is somewhat to blame. “Haste makes waste,” anyone?

Some examples deal with politically charged topics. Please know that they are selected wholly on the basis of form, not content. Continue

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Redundancies Run Rampant In Political Campaigns

There are a lot of redundancies to be found during election campaignsDo you sense that presidential campaigns bring out anything but the best in language use?

I realize spontaneous comments can end up sounding less than perfect, but I’ve been tracking candidates and commentators, and in my usual ruthless editor style, I feel another redundancy rant coming on.

Here’s a guideline I use when deciding if a word is redundant: If you swapped the suspected redundant word for its opposite, would the statement make sense?

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12 Headlines: Grammar Lessons To Remember

Rock concert scene for grammar bloopers postIt’s headline bloopers time again! This ruthless editor has been scanning online news sites in search of the good, the bad, the ugly and the confusing. I’ve not been disappointed. Here’s my favorite:

1) Kiss Former Member Hit By Drunken Gunfire
You want me to kiss whom? Continue

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The Redundant ‘Reason Why’

yelling woman (who had enough of bad grammar already)“Reason why” is redundant. Do you hear me? It’s redundant!

On my Ruthless Editor website, I name Three C’s of effective writing: Clear, Concise, and grammatically Correct.

Concise writing is comprehensive but to the point, using the fewest words to achieve understanding. It is free of repetition and needless detail.

That’s why the reason why seems redundant to me. (Reminder: As it relates to words, redundant means something that can be omitted without loss of meaning or function.)

But not everyone thinks so. Consider these story headings I found online: Continue

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Author Messes With Grammar To Define Mood, Scene, Character

Man reading a book thinking about grammar maybeAuthors sometimes take license with grammar to create a mood, a scene or a character. I usually don’t object to storytelling that deviates from standard usage, as long as it serves a purpose. Songwriters do it all the time!

When I was invited to join a book club a few months ago, I welcomed the opportunity to expand my horizons by reading things I might not otherwise have chosen to explore. I just finished The Dog Stars, a tale about a handful of individuals who have survived a flu pandemic that appears to have wiped out much of civilization. One review described it as “a post-apocalyptic adventure.”

Peter Heller, an experienced writer who has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers Workshop in fiction and poetry, uses a writing style that suits the tale he tells. It mimics the sometimes random thoughts that float through all of our heads, ramblings that don’t require grammatically complete sentences or punctuation. Here’s an example: Continue

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Respect Your Readers: Reduce Redundancies

Caution bad habit aheadDifferent has been on this ruthless editor’s grammar radar for some time. Its use might be simply a bad habit, but I’ve heard it enough lately to prompt me to write a post about how redundant it can be.

What is a redundant word? It’s one that doesn’t add meaning to what is being said or written. Here are select redundancies from a previous post:

And here’s why using different is a bad habit I wish people could break. Continue

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10 Headlines That Teach Grammar Lessons on Grammar Day

Grammar Lessons on Grammar DayHappy Grammar Day! It’s time to acknowledge the importance of picking just the right words and just the right punctuation to clearly communicate your message. If you think “proper” grammar, with all of its rules and guidelines, is a thing of the past, please check out my Ruthless Editor Grammar Day column: What Is Grammar, and Why Does It Matter?

Here are some headlines with their own grammar lessons:

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End-of-Year Potpourri

Potpourri ingredients - a bit of this and that smell nice, but bad grammar stinksPotpourri (pronounced poe-pur-REE) is a mixture, most commonly of dried flower petals and spices, valued for its fragrance. However, it also can be a musical medley, a collection of miscellaneous literary extracts — or any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects, etc.

This post is a mixture of words, although perhaps not quite “literary extracts.” It is a collection of things I have heard or read since my last post, and it exemplifies why I consider myself a ruthless editor, why I blog, and why I write a monthly column about grammar. Continue

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Don’t Let Headline Errors Hurt Your Credibility

Headline graphic -Ruthless editor talks about Headline errorsI’ve stated more than once that if a writer is going to make a mistake, a headline is the worst place for that to happen. We skim headlines to decide which stories to further explore, so errors there are seen by more readers than errors within a story.

Here’s a batch of recent headlines that, if I were editing them, would not have appeared in their present form: Continue

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