Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Write tight

Some writers have to pad their words. Take this sentence from an online story: The Dallas Cowboys are a team that has etched a significant image in the NFL landscape over a short period of time. Why not write: The Dallas Cowboys have etched ... No big deal.

Terrible typo: In my blog on July 3, I ended with the sentence The newspaper I freelance for now mandates that we use that in such instances. Sometimes they overuse that and underuse to, but that's their business. Someone asked about that; I should have said on. Like everyone else, I need an editor.

Changing words:
You'll notice quickly that I'm a fan of the Miami Dolphins, and I found this sentence earlier today — While the Dolphins won nine of their last 10 games to reach the playoffs, the Jets floundered, missed the playoffs, and Mangini was fired. I think foundered works better than floundered, but that's just me.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online defines flounder as to struggle to move or obtain footing : thrash about wildly. Its definition for founder: to become disabled ; especially : to go lame.

When I was a kid, foundered was the correct word. People do use floundered more than foundered, and it bothers me. By using floundered instead of foundered, the people have changed the definition of the word.

A boat that's sinking doesn't flounder (thrash about wildly). It founders (becomes disabled). The Jets probably did some thrashing last year, but, in the end, they became ineffective (foundered).

Contact: I can be reached at tgilli52@gmail.com or nc3022@yahoo.com. Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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