Pat Iyer’s Blog

Writing Skills

The Importance of Concise Writing

The Importance of Concise Writing

Talk about concise writing - it does not get any briefer. Today I saw an ad that popped up to the right of a YouTube video I was watching. It caught my eye because it was so concise. It read: New Need Now And the name of the product. In the world of writing, this is...

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Is a Cat a That? Correct Use of That

Is a Cat a That? Correct Use of That

Is a cow an “it”? What is the correct use of that? In order to answer these questions, I need to address a related grammatical question about the use of that. Is a Human a “That”? In the course of editing manuscripts, I began to notice that people seemed to be...

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The Treacherous Homophone

The Treacherous Homophone

A homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word but has a different meaning. Note that some of the word pairs aren’t pure homophones, such as lose and loose. I include them because they’re close enough to get easily confused. Lose/loose “Lose” is a verb...

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Make the Comma Your Friend

Make the Comma Your Friend

A comma may be a little squiggle, but it does a lot for your writing. It adds meaning, clarity, elegance, and, in some cases, beauty to your writing. Its absence can bore or confuse the reader. Comma usage is loaded with rules, and it’s a good idea to study them....

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A “She” is not a “They”

A “She” is not a “They”

Maybe. Are you confusing singular and plural forms in the same sentence? And is this really wrong? Grammar rarely enters the world of culture and politics. Pronouns are a notable exception to this generality. Prior to the 1970s, the default pronoun was “he.” “If a...

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Sentence Fragments – Are They Always Wrong?

Sentence Fragments – Are They Always Wrong?

            Also known as incomplete sentences, fragments are generally frowned on in the English language. Exceptions exist, and I’ll get to them later. Defining sentence fragments First, let’s define a sentence fragment. It’s a sentence...

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Common Writing Errors: Don’t Make These Mistakes

Common Writing Errors: Don’t Make These Mistakes

In an age of texting and emoticons, it is easy to make writing mistakes. When communication can be as brief as “?,” grammar may seem like something that only old and uptight people find necessary. (Like me.) At some point this may become true, but we’re not there yet....

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Top 3 Grammatical Mistakes

Top 3 Grammatical Mistakes

Avoid these top 3 grammatical mistakes if you want to present yourself as a skilled writer. Use of the apostrophe Last week I was setting up books on a table for a book sale. One of the books I came across was called “Cave of the Bat’s”. I was horrified, not by the...

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Filler Phrases Freedom: How to Make Your Writing  Lean

Filler Phrases Freedom: How to Make Your Writing Lean

You've heard people use filler phrases when they talk: "Um", "Well", "Really", or "Like". Are you guilty of using filler phrases in your writing? I heard about a writer who set the goal of removing one unnecessary word from each paragraph of her book. At last count,...

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Can You Make Me Eager to Read Your Article?

Can You Make Me Eager to Read Your Article?

You can write the best story ever told, but without a good headline, I won't read your article. Experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of people who read a headline won’t go on to read an article because the headline didn’t grab their attention. That doesn’t mean that...

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