Funny Misplaced Modifiers and Other Common Writing Mistakes

misplaced modifierIndies Unlimited has all kinds of editing resources for writers. We even have real-life editors who take a spot at the gruel pot.

Because I am not an editor, while I’m reading a novel that interests me, the occasional typo or misplaced modifier is likely to fly right past me. In spite of that, I’m a writing tutor for Pearson/Smarthinking. It’s okay. I can pay attention when I have to.

I tutor over 100 students per month on higher-level orders such as thesis statements, content development, and organization. I also coach them on lower-level issues such as noun-verb agreement, sentence structure, and misplaced modifiers.

Over time, I’ve come to see the same lower-level mistakes again and again. Some are so sneaky that we can read a passage, know something isn’t quite right, but have no idea what it is.

Here are some of the sneakiest errors I see: Continue reading “Funny Misplaced Modifiers and Other Common Writing Mistakes”

Writing Tip: Word Order Creates Meaning

in writing, keep your DUCKS IN A ROWI am going to let you in on a well-guarded secret. Grammar was not invented to give your Grade 10 English teacher a chance to make your life miserable. It was created to ensure sentences say what we mean them to. And word order is one of the basic tools.

Here’s a rule you can bank on to solve 95% of your problems in this area. Sentence elements with relationships are closer to each other. Stands to reason. If a guy and a girl spend the whole party at opposite ends of the house, chances are they aren’t in a relationship. (Well, maybe a strange one…)

So if we take this sentence: Continue reading “Writing Tip: Word Order Creates Meaning”

Fractured Clauses

Fractured Clauses Ah, grammar; everyone’s favorite subject. I can see your eyes glazing over already. However, for the sake of good writing and better stories, let’s talk for a minute about clauses. In my recent reading, I’ve been running into quite a few instances of clauses gone wrong. Poorly written, clauses can be awkward at best and can cause major confusion at worst. Do you really want your readers to be confused? I didn’t think so. Continue reading “Fractured Clauses”

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