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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, May 1, 2015

Brainbuster - Make Your Brain Tingle




This column was originally published on May 2, 2014. 

More and more people are writing their memoirs these days. There are certain “rules to writing” you must know if you plan on doing the same. Take this quiz and see how effectively you can write.

1. Good writers know that all writing can be improved upon after the first draft. What’s the most important aspect of revision? Re-examining your ideas; reviewing capitalization; looking for subject-verb agreement; checking grammar usage.

2. You need to increase your vocabulary, but what’s the best way to go about deepening your knowledge of the “word world”? Reading; looking up words in a thesaurus; writing; asking really smart people for help.

3. Someone who constantly misspells words will not be taken seriously by their readers. Become aware of why you misspell certain words. All of the following strategies can help reduce spelling errors EXCEPT: Minimizing carelessness; using mnemonics (memory tricks); becoming familiar with words that sound or look alike; always spelling phonetically.

4. Learn from your mistakes. If you always insert commas in the wrong places (one of my biggest errors), or get confused about when to use “your” or “you’re,” start keeping a record of your errors. An error log can pinpoint repetitive mistakes. As you start recording replicate errors, which of the following do you NOT need to focus on? Writing style; punctuation; grammar; misspelled words.

5. Consider the following terms: HIV Virus, ATM Machine, ABS Braking System, DC Comics, DC Current, DOS Operating System, and PIN number. These are all examples of what? Misspelled terms; redundancy; terms named after people; Spoonerism.

6. An anagram is made when you rearrange the letters from a word to make a new word. But what is a pangram? A sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet; two words that mean the same but sound differently; a word containing two or more repeating letters; a word that reads the same backward as forward.

7. A synonym is a word that means the same as another. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another. What, then, is a contronym? A word that sounds like another word but has a different meaning; a sentence that reads the same backward and forward; a word that is an antonym of itself; a word made by two or more other words.

ANSWERS

1. Revision is the process of re-examining what you have written. Revision does not include searching for errors; that comes during the proofreading phase. To properly revise your writing, you should add, delete, change, or expand upon your ideas. 2. The best way to broaden your vocabulary is to read! 3. Always spelling phonetically does not work in the English language. You can’t sound-out every word to get its correct spelling. What you CAN do is minimize your own carelessness (stop writing “teh” for “the!”) and become familiar with words that sound or look alike. I.e.: learn when to use “to” or “too.” Finally, use mnemonics. Mnemonics are memory tricks that help you remember things. Remember those old spelling rules, such as “i before e except after c?” 4. Writing style. Writers tend to lose credibility with their audience due to poor grammar, improper or missing punctuation, misspelled words, and/or confusing sentence structures. Some writers consistently write run-on sentences, forgetting to utilize appropriate punctuation. Others write fragments instead of complete sentences. Writing style, however, is personal and unique. 5. Redundancy. Sometimes redundancies are so common we don’t even think about them. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, but we often call it the HIV virus, which is saying virus twice. 6. A sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet. There are many pangrams. One of the more famous one is the following sentence: “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” 7. Some examples of contronyms are: dust, meaning to add fine particles or to remove them; and weather, which can mean to withstand or to wear away.

This column was originally published on May 2, 2014. 

More and more people are writing their memoirs these days. There are certain “rules to writing” you must know if you plan on doing the same. Take this quiz and see how effectively you can write.

1. Good writers know that all writing can be improved upon after the first draft. What’s the most important aspect of revision? Re-examining your ideas; reviewing capitalization; looking for subject-verb agreement; checking grammar usage.

2. You need to increase your vocabulary, but what’s the best way to go about deepening your knowledge of the “word world”? Reading; looking up words in a thesaurus; writing; asking really smart people for help.

3. Someone who constantly misspells words will not be taken seriously by their readers. Become aware of why you misspell certain words. All of the following strategies can help reduce spelling errors EXCEPT: Minimizing carelessness; using mnemonics (memory tricks); becoming familiar with words that sound or look alike; always spelling phonetically.

4. Learn from your mistakes. If you always insert commas in the wrong places (one of my biggest errors), or get confused about when to use “your” or “you’re,” start keeping a record of your errors. An error log can pinpoint repetitive mistakes. As you start recording replicate errors, which of the following do you NOT need to focus on? Writing style; punctuation; grammar; misspelled words.

5. Consider the following terms: HIV Virus, ATM Machine, ABS Braking System, DC Comics, DC Current, DOS Operating System, and PIN number. These are all examples of what? Misspelled terms; redundancy; terms named after people; Spoonerism.

6. An anagram is made when you rearrange the letters from a word to make a new word. But what is a pangram? A sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet; two words that mean the same but sound differently; a word containing two or more repeating letters; a word that reads the same backward as forward.

7. A synonym is a word that means the same as another. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another. What, then, is a contronym? A word that sounds like another word but has a different meaning; a sentence that reads the same backward and forward; a word that is an antonym of itself; a word made by two or more other words.

ANSWERS

1. Revision is the process of re-examining what you have written. Revision does not include searching for errors; that comes during the proofreading phase. To properly revise your writing, you should add, delete, change, or expand upon your ideas. 2. The best way to broaden your vocabulary is to read! 3. Always spelling phonetically does not work in the English language. You can’t sound-out every word to get its correct spelling. What you CAN do is minimize your own carelessness (stop writing “teh” for “the!”) and become familiar with words that sound or look alike. I.e.: learn when to use “to” or “too.” Finally, use mnemonics. Mnemonics are memory tricks that help you remember things. Remember those old spelling rules, such as “i before e except after c?” 4. Writing style. Writers tend to lose credibility with their audience due to poor grammar, improper or missing punctuation, misspelled words, and/or confusing sentence structures. Some writers consistently write run-on sentences, forgetting to utilize appropriate punctuation. Others write fragments instead of complete sentences. Writing style, however, is personal and unique. 5. Redundancy. Sometimes redundancies are so common we don’t even think about them. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, but we often call it the HIV virus, which is saying virus twice. 6. A sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet. There are many pangrams. One of the more famous one is the following sentence: “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” 7. Some examples of contronyms are: dust, meaning to add fine particles or to remove them; and weather, which can mean to withstand or to wear away.