Weird Wording #1 and #2: Proofread!

Although grammar and usage standards are important for good writing, so are common sense and logic. Often, what your mind sends to your fingers is not exactly what you meant to say. That is one more reason why proofreading–with your brain in gear–is so important. You might think your message is clear, but when you go back and proofread, you can see that the wording needs tweaking.

Here are two examples of illogical statements written by people who did not go back and tweak;

PTDC0006 Why would the US want to beef up the vulnerability of its satellites? Most likely,  what this headline creator meant to suggest was that the US would beef up its  SATELLITE SECURITY in order to avoid VULNERABILITY. A quick proofread  before hitting "Send" should have caught this.

 

 

 

 

 

And a second illogical statement. This one appeared in the AL.com article I mentioned recently–the one with 17 errors in it. Here is the sentence:

The waste is mostly dry, the wetter waste, known as "cake" is scraped out during the 14-day span between the departure and arrival of the new flock.

This is a terrible sentence for several reasons. Let's begin with the logic. How can there be a 14-day span between the departure and arrival of the new flock? What this AL.com reporter is trying to convey is that there is a 14-day span between the departure of the previous flock (the one now on its way to dinner tables) and the arrival of the new flock (which will actually live for only six weeks before meeting the same fate).

 

So now the logic has been dealt with. Next up, the run-on sentence. THE WASTE IS MOSTLY DRY should stand alone as a separate sentence.

 

The reporter places a comma after WASTE, suggesting that what comes next is an inserted phrase (KNOWN AS "CAKE"), but he fails to place a second comma after CAKE to indicate the end of the insert.

 

All three of these things make for a sentence that causes the reader to utter a mental "Huh?" Here is a clearer, smoother version.

The waste is mostly dry. The wetter waste, known as "cake," is scraped out during the 14-day span between the departure of the previous flock and the arrival of the new one.

 

I hope these details did not ruin anyone's appetite. Happy proofreading.


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