Tag Archives: copyediting

4 Writing Strategies for Improving Relationships and Persuading Readers


It's really hot in this building.

Language, and writing, can do one of two things, depending on how it is used: enhance a relationship or damage it. In simple terms, it can help bring people together or push them apart; it can help you accomplish your purposes, or it can hinder you. Language is never neutral. 

What does this mean for you as you write? This means you have to think carefully about three issues:

1. What you want to accomplish from the relationship with your reader,
2. What you want to communicate through writing, and
3. What affect your words will have on the relationship.

The central question you are trying to answer is this: Will my writing enhance or damage my relationship with the reader? 

When do you need to ask this question? Every time you write. Good writing enhances the relationship; bad writing damages it. When you look at writing this way, from the standpoint of how it affects the relationship, you can begin to make revisions that strengthen your writing and improve the results you get. 

To explore this idea, let’s look at a few samples of bad writing, consider how they may affect the relationship with the reader, and then revise them to improve that relationship and accomplish a purpose. In short, let’s turn bad writing into good writing.  Continue reading

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Building Better Paragraphs


One paragraph = one central idea.

All writing requires both creative thinking and technical proficiency. On the far technical side, you have the mechanics of writing, such as knowing how to apply punctuation and grammar rules. On the far creative side, you have the development of ideas and new story lines. Combining these two into a written form that deeply engages your reader and effectively communicates your thoughts requires both sides. This synergy between creativity and technicality is most apparent in the paragraph. Regardless of the type of writing you produce, you have to pay attention to your paragraphs.

1. Basic Paragraph Components

Let’s think about the two basic components of all paragraphs and then examine how we may use them for effective writing.

a. The idea: One paragraph = one central idea. Has someone ever said to you, “Hey, you’ve got a good point there”? Well, that’s what your paragraph does. It makes a point, one point, which is the central idea of the paragraph. You might think of it as the purpose for the paragraph. That one point of a paragraph may be supported by several other ideas, and the paragraph, itself, may be written to support a broader idea, but its purpose remains the same. It stands alone as the vehicle to express one complete idea to the reader. Continue reading

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Using “Had Had” as a Verb


Question: The Bills had had a great season. Is this correct and what type of verb is “had had”?

Answer: Yes 

Yes. “Had had” is acceptable if it means what you are trying to say. Here’s why.  Continue reading

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