Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tips for Sharpening Your Writing Skills


Weed Out Your THATs!

When the word that is used to introduce a clause, get rid of the that if the context is clear without it.


Why?
The sentence flows more smoothly
Failure to do so makes editors grumpy


Examples of appropriately omitting that:
Sam said that he would leave tomorrow.

The sandwich that I ate for lunch upset my stomach.

Sally felt that that was the best she could do.


Examples of appropriately keeping that:
Albert was surprised when he heard that the men disagree with him. (Omitting the that changes the meaning of the sentence.)

Ross believed that, without help from God, he would drown any minute. (Omitting the that changes the meaning of the sentence.)


Grab your weed-eater!
Instructions: Weed out six unnecessary thats.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decided that they’d go camping. They pitched their tent and went to sleep.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Holmes woke Watson and said that he should look up. “Tell me what you see, Watson.”

Watson, observing that the sky was full of stars, replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.”

“And what do you deduce from that?” Holmes asked.

Watson figured that he needed an impressive answer, so he said, “Well, if there are millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely that there are some planets like Earth out there. And if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life.”

Holmes laughed. “Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent!’

Answer:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decided that they’d go camping. They pitched their tent and went to sleep.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Holmes woke Watson and said that he should look up. “Tell me what you see, Watson.”

Watson, observing that the sky was full of stars, replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.”

“And what do you deduce from that?” Holmes asked.

Watson figured that he needed an impressive answer, so he said, “Well, if there are millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely that there are some planets like Earth out there. And if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life.”

Holmes laughed. “Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent!’


CONTEST FOR FICTION WRITERS: See Saturday for additional details.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget