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Grammar for journalists

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A quick and dirty guide to a writer's most common problems

A quick and dirty guide to a writer's most common problems

Published in: Education, Business

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  • 1. Grammar for journalistsA quick and dirty guide to a writer’s most common problems
  • 2. What’s wrong?• The Peabody School Committee decided last night that they would hire a new superintendent by Nov. 12.
  • 3. Singular/plural agreement• The Peabody School Committee decided last night that they would hire a new superintendent by Nov. 12.• The Peabody School Committee decided last night that it would hire a new superintendent by Nov. 12.
  • 4. What’s wrong?• The Winchester Board of Selectmen will hold their annual retreat this coming weekend.
  • 5. Watch your antecedents• The Winchester Board of Selectmen will hold their annual retreat this coming weekend.• The Winchester Board of Selectmen will hold its annual retreat this coming weekend.
  • 6. What’s wrong?• The first team which crosses the finish line will be rewarded with free ice cream.
  • 7. Essential/nonessential• The first team which crosses the finish line will be rewarded with free ice cream.• The first team that crosses the finish line will be rewarded with free ice cream.
  • 8. What’s wrong?• Thomas R. Smith and his wife Bertha Gilooley appeared in court on a charge of disturbing the peace.
  • 9. Essential/nonessential• Thomas R. Smith and his wife Bertha Gilooley appeared in court on a charge of disturbing the peace.• Thomas R. Smith and his wife, Bertha Gilooley, appeared in court on a charge of disturbing the peace.
  • 10. What’s wrong?• The ball which rolled across the street ended up on a neighbor’s lawn.
  • 11. Ambiguous• The ball which rolled across the street ended up on a neighbor’s lawn.• The ball, which rolled across the street, ended up on a neighbor’s lawn.• The ball that rolled across the street ended up on a neighbor’s lawn.
  • 12. What’s wrong?• The runs were scored by the Red Sox in the top of the seventh inning.
  • 13. Passive voice• The runs were scored by the Red Sox in the top of the seventh inning.• The Red Sox scored the runs in the top of the seventh inning.
  • 14. What’s wrong• The choir will perform it’s encore, a Gershwin medley, after a brief intermission.
  • 15. Dave Barry Rule of Apostrophes• The choir will perform it’s encore, a Gershwin medley, after a brief intermission.• The choir will perform its encore, a Gershwin medley, after a brief intermission.
  • 16. What’s wrong?• A quiet, unassuming album on the surface, Bob Dylan reveals his true intent in “Modern Times” only after several listens.
  • 17. Dangling modifier• A quiet, unassuming album on the surface, Bob Dylan reveals his true intent in “Modern Times” only after several listens.• A quiet, unassuming album on the surface, “Modern Times” reveals Bob Dylan’s true intent only after several listens.
  • 18. What’s wrong?• The company said yesterday that it would soon unveil a new line of products.
  • 19. Personification• The company said yesterday that it would soon unveil a new line of products.• Angela Sanchez, a company spokeswoman, said yesterday that the company would soon unveil a new line of products.
  • 20. What’s wrong?• The political figure to who the threat was delivered quickly fled the country.
  • 21. Subject/object• The political figure to who the threat was delivered quickly fled the country.• The political figure to whom the threat was delivered quickly fled the country.
  • 22. Reference materials• “Reporting for the Media,” Appendix B – Photocopy it and put it in your AP Stylebook
  • 23. Reference materials• “Reporting for the Media,” Appendix B – Photocopy it and put it in your AP Stylebook• AP Stylebook – Why is “Reporting for the Media” in quotation marks and AP Stylebook is not?
  • 24. Reference materials• “Reporting for the Media,” Appendix B – Photocopy it and put it in your AP Stylebook• AP Stylebook – capitalization … datelines … possessives … essential/nonessential phrases and clauses … “A Guide to Punctuation”