Posted by: episystechpubs | April 18, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Mood Changers

Don’t let the subject line fool you. This is not going to be an article about that sinking feeling you get when you open your email to find an urgent, panicked message from your boss. This is about grammar; so give a sigh of relief, and let’s talk moods.

The term mood changers refers to words that alert readers to a change in mood from the previous clause or sentence. We also call these words transitions.

The list below is a partial list of mood changing words from William Zinsser’s book, On Writing Well (Zinsser 1998, 74):

Yet

However

Nevertheless

Still

Instead

Thus

Therefore

Meanwhile

But

Later

Subsequently

Zinsser points out that it is much easier for readers to process a sentence when writers use one of these words to shift direction.

Here are some examples showing how these mood-changing transitions can signify a shift:

· She said she raised her son to be independent, yet she continued to do his laundry and pack his lunch.

· The house was reported to be haunted by an evil spirit; nevertheless, he decided to spend the night.

· The police officers patrolled the main street; meanwhile, the robbers broke in from the alley.

· The software program had not been updated in years. Subsequently, it crashed.

Notice that the mood-changing words can be used to transition within one sentence or to begin a second sentence. Either way, they mark a shift in the mood of the text.

I haven’t had my tea yet and I feel a shift in my mood coming on, so I’ll sign off before this turns into the Cranky Editor’s Corner.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Technical Publications Writing and Editing Requests

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