March 2010 Archives

Scan-able Text

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I though that because chapter 7 of Williams's Style is named "Concision" that it would be shorter than the other chapters (more concise!). Am I alone in this?

Whoa...I did not see the problem at first: "Imagine someone trying to learn the rules for playing chess" (79). Maybe it's because that's the way I speak, but I see how it can be improved especially in text.

More importantly, concision should be used in online texts. I've just finished reading (for another class) a chapter on the importance of concision for the web.

People on the internet:
  • are scanners
  • want bullets
  • want numbers
  • want white space between text
  • desire immediacy
People on the internet are less apt to read long chunks of text even if you have a great style or flowery voice. Internet users don't like to read word-for-word, long paragraphs of text or even long sentences. Hell, long words while you're at it.

Because this is a New Media Journalism class and we learn the power of web journalism, I find the most important and applicable chapter from Style to be "Concision."

Children in Chairs

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Copy-editing Tip One:

The "Setonian Copy-editing Tips" says, "On subsequent references, use last name (unless you have two people with the same last name, or unless the person is a child.)

To expand on that: The AP Stylebook under the "name" section says to use the first and last name. I have also seen papers distinguish the two people and then refer to them (subsequently) with just their first names.

Also, the age of a child as defined by the AP Stylebook is children under 15 (using first name only) unless the story is a serious one and then their last name should be included. Always use discretion when naming or interviewing children in stories in any case.

The Second Copy-editing Tip I have comes under the title section. "When words aren't part of a formal title, don't capitalize."

Under titles, specifically past and future titles, in the Stylebook it says to not capitalize the qualifying word, meaning "former President Clinton" would be as seen here. "Former" described the condition of the word/title, but is not part of the title. The same thing (under academic titles) go for "department Chairman Michael Arnzen."

To make a note, years in school is not counted as a title (sophomore, junior) and should not be capitalized (at least from what I've seen in the Setonian) unless it is the beginning of a sentence.

Actin Out

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The complex grammar of "In the last part of his speech, Lincoln claims..." also provides a background or setting for the rest of the information.

This section (6 of Williams's "Style") also told readers to put complicated phrases or information at the end of sentences and, while I agree that this approach is helpful some of the time, I feel like loading the end may also stop readers from continuing. Sure, it got them to start the paragraph, but what about the rest.

I propose to then use variety and sometimes put the complicated phrase at the beginning followed by "is" or "are" as in a definition. So one of the phrases would become: Actin, myosin, tryopmyosin, and troponin are the four proteins that regulate muscle contraction.

This way I am likely to remember the heavy phrases at the beginning (which will probably be used again in the work) and are more easily able to find their definition if need be. For example, finding a sentence with the word "The" will be harder when skimming the text then finding "Actin".

This point, of course, becomes moot if the paper's focus is on "actin" in which case it will probably be the subject/topic of many sentences.

Students' Opinions

Rawr, Rawr, Goes the Dinosaur in Dinosaur Valley

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I like writing.

I like writing a lot.

I like writing like Dr. Suess.

Dr. Suess is an awesome writer.

Watch me write.

Read my handwriting.

It is obvious that I do not have the best penmanship.

However, good penmanship is not the most telling and defining characteristic of a good writer.

A good writer can also be defined as the creative person in the room.


I like writing. I like writing a lot. I like writing like Dr. Suess. Dr. Suess is an awesome writer. Watch me write. Read my handwriting. It is obvious that I do not have the best penmanship. However, good penmanship is not the most telling and defining characteristic of a good writer. A good writer can also be defined as the creative person in the room. And creativity is my middle name. So is Dr. Suess.


The red writing is where other people took over. Despite the difference in sentence length, I think the story worked really well together. As sentences, each of them work and link together. The end sentence is a bit different than the starting conversation, but it doesn't kill the tone/mood of the paragraph. In fact, I believe it completes it.

I didn't really have to do any editing aside from adding an ending sentence.


Good work, partners! (This has turned into a Western flick.)

Other Students Work

The Graphs?

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"End sentences with information readers cannot anticipate. Readers prefer to read what's easy before what's hard, and what is familiar and simple is easier to understand than what is new and complex." Jospeh M. Williams

I can't agree with this enough. I hate when I come across sentences and I get stuck tryin to figure out and connect the first part of the sentence with the last thought. I end up frustrated and sometimes even skipping over the paragraph/information. You want someone to read all of your work so make sure it flows.

I recently had a problem with Wordsworth's "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads" because he would go on about a point and on about a point with so many commas and examples all in one sentence before getting to his final conclusion or remark. Then he would tie the previous extended sentence into yet another point.

Oh and can someone explain the graphs in this section?

Students' Opinions

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Dennis G. Jerz on The Literary End: I like your observation that g
Cody Naylor on Bringing Back the Nom: Aja, i think a tin ear just me
Tyler J. Carter on Bringing Back the Nom: Very well put aja, and I did a
Jessie Krehlik on My Modifications: I'm with you, Aja. I learned a
Cody Naylor on Scan-able Text: hahahaha! Oh Aja, I LOVED how
Tyler J. Carter on Actin Out: I agree, and this is a valid p
Cody Naylor on Actin Out: I like your idea about varying
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Dennis G. Jerz on Children in Chairs: The word "chairman" brings its
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