Calling all editors!

Calling all editors!

Got a great save that you’d like to share? We all have great saves, but some are more jump-up-and-down than others.

If you have a dodged-a-bullet save you’d like to share, please send it in. I’d like the original sentence and then the corrected sentence. You are welcome to be anonymous if you’d like.

Summertime Editing Test #1 Questions AND Answers!

1) An Iraq War veteran, Biden had planed to run for governor of Delaware in 2016 instead of seeking a third term as attorney general.

That’s actually a toughie and hard to see, but “planed” should be “planned.”

2) Welcome to Yoder’s, a Sarasota tradition since first opening it’s doors in 1975.

Oh, hate it! It’s = it is. They were looking for its, which is the possessive of it.

3) From day one, Yoder’s has been known for “Mom’s” homemade Amish pies and made from scratch home cooking.

Need hyphens in the compound adjective: made-from-scratch. I’m not sure I would have put quotation marks around Mom’s, either, but it’s not incorrect.

4) Levi had a heart for people that created lasting connections and Amanda’s second nature was good home cooking.

At the very least, this is a run-on sentence, and needs a comma after “connections.” I would also suggest a rewrite of the phrase “heart for people”: it’s a little too down-home for me.

5) Yoder’s has been a long time local favorite.

Need a hyphen between long and time: long-time. You can really hear the hyphen if you say this sentence out loud.

6) Over the years Yoder’s has continued to grow, consistently winning first place awards for “Best Amish Restaurant” and “Best Homemade Dessert”.

Always put your commas (and periods) inside quotation marks in American English. A case could be made for a hyphen between first and place, but it’s not incorrect the way it’s written.

7) Keep up to date on the latest Inbound Marketing techniques and ideas by getting new blog posts delivered to your email inbox for FREE!

You’d definitely want hyphens in the phrase up-to-date. Also, since when is “Inbound Marketing” a proper noun phrase?

8) This is where we really earn our keep. Our deisgners take everything they ahve learned so far about your buyer personas and your company and rework this into a masterpiece of digital deisgn that will convert visitors into leads quickly.

Christ on a stick, THREE misspelled words in one sentence! And what a sentence: can you say “run on”? And this company is bragging about its ability to create a “masterpiece” that will generate business? Who’s kidding who here?

Sorry to be sacrilegious, but the incompetence of this company wouldn’t come cheap; in other words, it’d charge you big bucks to write cringe-worthy copy. Yikes.

9) We have one simple test for everything we do; Is it awesome?

Same site—surprise, surprise. Can’t spell, don’t understand basic punctuation…just incompetent all around, the very opposite of awesome! This is the “namely” rule about colons: If you can substitute “namely” for the punctuation mark, you need a colon. So,

We have one simple test for everything we do [namely] Is it awesome?

We have one simple test for everything we do: Is it awesome?

Please don’t use “awesome” in any other context than God or Mother Nature. It makes you sound like you’re 12.

10) Because we have identified your prospect’s needs, we can create content that is tied to answering their questions, solving their problems and helping them build their businesses.

Okay, this is easy. (These “inbound marketing”-related sentences are all from the same site. I wouldn’t trust those people to clean out my…oh, I just can’t say it in public.)  Where was I? Oh, the writer is talking about “prospect’s,” which is singular possessive: one “prospect” who has “needs.” But then the writer goes on to talk about “their” and “them,” which are plural pronouns. No can do.

Luckily (for this idjit), it’s a simple fix: make “prospect” plural possessive (prospects’), and all is well.

11) Few things will lose your audience faster than boring, unimportant content that doesn’t answer some need that they have.

Few things will make you look like an idiot faster than hiring incompetent content writers! Okay, again, simple problem. “Audience” is a collective noun, which means it is treated as a singular noun. (The work-around is to say “audience members” if you need the plural.) That means you can’t call an audience “they,” only an “it.”

12) However, if the content won’t engage the potential customer, it won’t convince them that your products or services will be of use in the future.

Same problem. “The potential customer” is singular. Can’t pair it with “them.” No, no, and no.

13) Even a professional writer could use a little proofreading from time to time, just to make sure that there isn’t some hugely embarrassing typo in their content.

This kind of unprofessional writing is embarrassing to everyone who reads it.  Wow. It’s so basic, too! “A professional writer” is singular: one writer. So you can’t pair a singular noun with a plural pronoun. Not in this lifetime!!!!

14) When you open an email from someone claiming to represent a business, but they can’t spell common English words correctly and use bad grammar, odds are you’ll assume that this is a spam email.

Same damn thing. “Someone” is singular; “they” is a plural pronoun.

A word about “damn” versus “darn.” We all know that “damn” is an actual cuss word and really shouldn’t be used lightly. I was going to go back and substitute “darn,” but it makes my blood boil when so-called “professional” writers put out copy that’s so riddled with mistakes. So damn to sloppy people!

15) With FounderDating you find world-class people with complimentary skill-sets, expert areas and knowledge.

FounderDating needs to proof its site if it truly wants to attract “world-class people.” We went over this a couple of weeks ago. “Complimentary” means free,  an expression of praise; it’s “complementary” that the writer is looking for: compatible, harmonious, to complete. Plus, is there any significant difference between “expert areas” and “knowledge”? Not in my book. Don’t lard up your writing with words and phrases that are basically synonyms.

16) Would you like something that looks professional and clearly highlights the benefit areas to motivate your audience to submit their email?

Here’s this “audience” thing again. The word audience is a collective noun, referring to a group of people as one unit. (“Group” is also a collective noun. You’d never say “The group are excited.”)  “Audience” is singular. “Audience” takes a singular verb and a singular pronoun. An “audience” is an “it.”

17) “The company meets our needs as an enterprise perfectly. It has the sophistication, it has the scale, it has the functionality… and it has the vision that gives us the confidence to entrust our marketing platform to them.”

Wow, everything was rocking and rolling right along, until…the end. “The company” is an “it,” an “it,” an “it, and an “it,” so how can it become a “them”? No can do, people; no can do.

18) The feeling of helping a client with a problem and watching them succeed is equivalent to conquering a mountaintop or completing a marathon.

Same thing. (Is this getting easier to spot? I hope so!) “A client” is singular: one client. You cannot, cannot, cannot say “them.” You have two choices here. You can use “him or her” as your pronouns, or you can make “client” plural and keep the “them.”

19) There’s no excuse for a rep to go into a conversation completely oblivious to what their prospect cares about and what’s happening at the contact’s company.

“A rep” is singular. “Their” is plural. I’m not sure what’s happening with the rest of the sentence. Bad writing indeed.

20) Great sales reps make it look easy, but superior performance usually indicates that a salesperson has taken the time to hone their skills and is constantly iterating to better help their prospects.

More icky writing. We’ve got “great sales reps”—plural—but then we’ve got “a salesperson”—singular, and then we’ve got “their” and “their” referring back to the singular “salesperson.” No and no.

21) The back-of-house crew cooks up awesome things to serve to your customers.

Please don’t use the word “awesome” in any other context but God or Mother Nature. This sentence sounds like a teenager wrote it. (Maybe a teenager did!)

22) Choosing to spend time with one prospect over another could be the difference between crushing quota and missing it by a mile.

“Crushing” in this context is ridiculous, unless you’re 12.

23) Sales calls that don’t go the right way … kind of suck.

Hey, the fastest way to look like a child is to use the word “suck” in business writing. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s not professional. Wow, I’d have this child’s head for writing “suck.” It’s even worse than “awesome”!

On that happy note, adieu!

Summertime Editing Test #2!

Hope your summer is going along as nicely as mine! Clients are happy, I’m happy with my clients, I just bought a beautifully autographed first-edition copy of Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery…life is good!

By the by, if you haven’t read Up From Slavery, please run, don’t walk, to get a copy. It is so powerful and inspirational that I think it should be required reading in every junior high in the country. I can’t say how much I admire Mr. Washington and appreciate his accomplishments. His insight into the value of physical labor—you’re talking to a girl who put herself through college by cutting grass—was a real eye-opener for me, at 56 years old! And Mr. Washington’s advice for people who speak in public is excellent. It’s excellent all around!

I’m pleased to report that my book Shade in the Sunshine: Reflections on Segregation in Florida has won a medal. What a thrill!

Take a gander at these new sentences! Answers next week.

1) Additionally, please ensure that no text or important information appear within 0.25″ of the edges of the cover (0.125″ from the trim line, and 0.125″ of bleed beyond it).

2) Just think, manufacturing and shipping is taken care of.

3) The Senior Advocacy Center, which acts as a local voice for seniors and is comprised of about 45 attorneys, doctors, social workers who raise money to help seniors, would like to talk to Sonju but she hasn’t agreed to talk to them, Castro said.

4) Investigators have searched her cell and interviewed neighoring inmates and so far haven’t found evidence that she smoked pot in the jail.

5) The group posted a message on their Facebook page , asking for volunteers from across the U.S. to make this reunion happen, wrote ABC News.

6) A law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the details and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the SUV T-boned the limo.

7) Paul will be designing his gourmet menu from locally-harvested foods.

8) The meal is preceded by an Art Sale, offered “Fresh off the Easel” by the internationally recognized  “Light Chasers of the Sun Coast”, Plein Air Artists, who will be painting “till the sun goes down” and selling their works, wet and dry, on the Farmhouse lawn throughout the evening.

9) In case you were wondering, the owner did get their phone back.

10) We can’t thank Purebred Breeder’s enough for bringing “Dudley” into our lives.

11) Your book remains in-stock, without inventory, made on-demand when customers order.

12) The right argues that a faculty that has teachers and principals who have carry permits and can protect the children under their car is the way to go.

13) Every author wants to sell a million copies of their book, but most won’t sell more than a few thousand.

14) WHAT: Water Moccasins (Cottonmouths) – This venomous snake makes its home in the water. Though considered a shy snake, it’s bite is quite serious and sometimes deadly.