• D. Randall Faro

Wordsmithing With Care

It behooves writers to check, double-check, and triple-check that one’s words say what one means. And/or that what one means to say makes sense.


Examples. A news report included this phrase: “. . . he was completely naked except for a jacket.” The point being that if one is wearing a jacket, one is not completely naked. Another crime report stated that a man saved lives when he “tackled a gunman who allegedly shot up a Tennessee Waffle House.” There is no “allegedly” involved; bullets were flying everywhere and the man with the gun was apprehended, not to mention seen by numerous witnesses. Why did the writer use the term allegedly? That’s like saying the sun allegedly rose in the east this morning.


These two examples do not ruin the writing, but they definitely lower the quality. Since we human beings use words to express thoughts and ideas, using them carefully and accurately should be in the forefront of any professional writer’s concerns. Authors and proofreaders do well to practice due diligence in this regard as they aspire to communicate clearly and cogently.


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