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Comments about ‘Utah Blaze shock ArenaBowl champions’

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Published: Friday, April 15 2011 11:25 p.m. MDT

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norskie
Lake Orion, MI

Dear Mr. Phibbs:

Congratulations on landing a real job with a real newspaper. Now, the hard work begins. You must learn to write. Your teachers to this point have lauded your work, careful to reinforce your self-esteem. That was nice, but it did not teach you to write. You were enthusiastic, and they liked that. But enthusiasm does not replace work.

So, let's review your article. The style is a bit over the top, but that discussion is for another day. Today, we will simply ask whether the article is in English and whether a reader can ascertain what you intend to communicate.

(1) "the Blaze were involved in a tightly woven game..." A tightly woven game? What in the world is that supposed to mean? Are we comparing arena football to the tapestry of life? Was the game seamless? Or was it simply a tight game, and you had extra words to kill?

(2) "throughout with all four previous games resulting..." Huh? Was it woven throughout all four previous games -- a very large tapestry, or was it woven one way while the others were not. Is a blowout not woven well?


to be continued

norskie
Lake Orion, MI

(2 cont.) Your attempt to get fancy got in the way of communicating. Furthermore, you forgot to trust that a reader can survive more than one sentence -- compulsively stuffing as much as possible (really more) into a single sentence. Try this: It marked the first time this season that the Blaze were in a tight game. All four previous contests were blowouts. (It would be a nice added touch to note on which side of the blowouts the Blaze were.)

(3) "Aaron Boone made his defender bite on a slant route and pivoted back after slamming on his breaks..." Spell check will not save you from homonyms -- words that sound the same but are spelled differently. The devices to which you attempt to refer are brakes. A writer must read copiously and carefully to improve his writing. Just putting what you hear on paper will not suffice.

(4) "to once again recapture..." The verb combination "to recapture" is called an infinitive. Placing modifiers in the middle of that is called a split infinitive. It is a grammatical error. Furthermore, to recapture once again is redundant. The prefix re means to to something again. To recapture thus means to capture again.

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