Posted by: Jack Henry | December 29, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Top 10 Peeves for 2015 (1 through 3)

One of our dear readers asked if we could do an end-of-year review of the top ten errors or “problem children” we see in our daily editing. I have asked the editors for input, and here is a combination of things from us, from other editors, and from a few of you. I think we’ll cover the top ten over a few days so you can savor them properly.

First, let’s start with some general errors.

1. Too Many Capital Letters
This seems to bother all of us. Jackie, Donna, and I have written over 10 articles on proper nouns, common nouns, and capitalization, yet we see these errors daily. Some basic rules:

· Proper nouns are capitalized. Proper nouns name specific people, places, things, and ideas. For example: George Washington; Gibraltar; Symitar®; the Tower of London; Truth, Justice, and the American Way (when Superman uses the phrase).

· Common nouns are not capitalized. Common nouns are the generic names of people, places, things, and ideas. For example: dog, man, home, park, pizza, and truth.

· Just because something is important, does not mean it should be capitalized in a sentence.

· The dictionary is your friend. When you aren’t sure if something is a common noun or proper noun, check the dictionary.

· Want more information on this topic? Go to the Editor’s Corner and type capitalization, proper noun, or common noun in the Search field and press Enter.

2. Too Much Passive Voice
Yes, I’m sure this is a real surprise to you. This topic has been beaten mercilessly to a pulp. Or should that be, “We beat this topic to a pulp”? When you are writing, try to remember this general format:


The operator + performs + a backup.

The teller + enters + the transaction.

From there, you can expand more on what, where, how, and why things are happening. You can add that flair that makes your day. But start here with the actor/subject—don’t start with the object and tell us what happened and completely leave out the “doer.”

The credit union’s president + buys 20-pound turkeys + for each of his stellar employees. Yay.

3. Too Many Deadwood Phrases and Redundancies
Okay, enough of the lecturing. I will just say that we try to trim our technical documentation of “deadwood,” redundant phrases, and fluff. Here are a couple of websites that will give you an idea of the things lawyers might add to your documents and that we will take away.

· Redundancies

· Deadwood

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: