A Few Great Tips For Non-Writers

John Scalzi admits these tips are useful, even for those who do write.

I found his list great, and am probably going to be sending it to a few people I know who could use a little something to get through their school writing projects this week. I may even share it with some work colleagues.

My favorite part of the list is the quick bit on punctuation. I’ve been trying to beat into my students’ heads that you use a comma somewhere you want to let the reader take a breath. I’ll often make them read a sentence out loud as it’s punctuated. They can’t do it, and then I have them go back, read the sentence, note where they pause, and add a comma. Amazingly, the paper become far more readable.

I also like the section on punctuation because it reflects part of why we punctuate. Originally, if one is to believe Lynne Truss, punctuation existed solely as marks that told actors when and how to breathe as they were performing lines. You can imagine how those ancient Greek tragedies might have gone without these breathing marks if the Greeks were as prone to writing long-winded sentences as today’s high schoolers.

Found via WWdN: In Exile

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