Sucking the life out of writing. And just sucking

It doesn’t matter if your subject is compelling, your words are clever, or your opinions are controversial. Factual faux pas, grammatical gaffes, and punctuation problems can suck the life out of your writing. And your readers will think it just sucks. Readers are forgiving of a typo or two. But more than that? Well, you be the judge. Here’s an example written by the senior features editor for Yahoo! Shine. Taken individually, the goofs are easy to overlook, but collectively they suck the life out of the article.

It starts with a missing word and a misquote. According to the original source the teen said she was “part vampire and part werewolf.”

It goes on to misspell the name of Jonathon Sharkey, who’s a Tampa native (without a hyphen). Proving that her knowledge of punctuation is deficient, she misplaces a comma (which should go before the quotation mark) and adds one too many hyphens in “16-year-old girl”:

There’s more misplaced punctuation, an arbitrarily capitalized vampire, a misspelled Rod Ferrell, and some nonsense about Mr. Ferrell’s being charged after his trial. Generally, the charges come before the trial:

Again, he’s Mr. Ferrell. A goofy metaphor is kinda sucky. Generally one adds fuel to a fire; I have no idea how fuel affects a fact.

There’s no reason to capitalize vampire here:

And there’s two hyphens missing and an incorrect comma in this snippet:

Whoa! Has she been watching too many TV programs on hoarders? That word just makes no sense in this context:

The word she should have used is hordes.

Belly dancers usually wear some sort of bells, so I guess they could be belling dancers:

Whew! Reading that really drained me. I guess you could say it sucked.

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4 Responses to “Sucking the life out of writing. And just sucking”

  1. H Fournier Says:

    I really enjoy your web page.

    In today’s post I was confused by this part of a sentence: “Belly dancers e usually wearing some sort of bells…..”

    What does the “e” signify? Thanks.

    • Laura Says:

      It’s a typo! Thanks for noticing; I’ve corrected it. It just goes to show you, everyone needs an editor — or at least a proofreader!

  2. Grammar Goddess Says:

    This writer’s work really does suck. How the heck does she keep her job?

    • Laura Says:

      If you work for a company with really, really low standards, I guess you can keep your writing gig — even if your mastery of English is limited.


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