Posted by: episystechpubs | May 23, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Editing to Improve Usage

It’s been a bit of a holiday dry spell, but we’re quickly approaching a three-day weekend! Before you relax too much, here are the first three tips from a list of seven. The article is from a February post on, called “7 Tips for Editing to Improve Usage.”

How do you make sure you’re writing right? Crafting prose is mostly a matter of using the right words for the job. Here are some steps to help you achieve that goal.

1. Look up the definition of an unfamiliar word and be sure you understand the meaning before you use it.

It’s easy to deploy a word you’ve just read or heard, mistakenly believing you understand its definition or its connotation, only to confuse or accidentally mislead your readers. Always double-check a term you’ve never used before. (Consider doing the same with words you’ve used before and think you know.)

2. Search a thesaurus or a synonym finder for the precise meaning, taking care to notice the different connotations of similar words.

Flag stock words and phrases, and thumb or click through a print or online resource to select a more exact or accurate synonym. But be alert to seemingly similar words with distinct senses.

3. Keep your writing clear and coherent, and avoid pretentious or overly formal language.

Write to communicate, not to impress. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Don’t dumb down, but don’t let your writing get in the way of your message. There’s a fine line between elegance and pomposity.

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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