on Fiction University:
Using the wrong word in our writing is not only embarrassing, but can hurt our novel’s chances at success.
As the editor of a newspaper, I come across common writing mistakes in my day-to-day work. I’m not talking about the improper use of they’re, their and there. I’m talking about some under-the-radar mistakes that many people make — even some of my seasoned reporters and the professionals who write press releases. Mistakes like writing “for all intensive purposes” when it should be “for all intents and purposes.”
After mocking a colleague for one such mistake, I created a doodle of a chicken to help him understand the difference between lay and lie (and all of its messy present/past/past participle BS). Pretty soon, my desk was full of chicken doodles and a sign that read “Please refer to the chicken for all your grammar needs.”
With that, dear…
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