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Avoid these Weird Al ‘word crimes’

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Weird Al Yankovic made grammar funny with his “Word Crimes” parody of Robin Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines” and its accompanying video this summer. Weird Al brought up some good grammar points that are important for everyone to remember, says News to Live By Managing Editor Danny Rubin.

•  Pluralizing with an apostrophe. If you have more than one of something, don’t use apostrophes.

•  Capitalizing things that aren’t titles. Writers try to make things look important by capitalizing them. Resist this urge.

•  Writing vaguely. When you start paragraphs with pronouns in­­stead of nouns, the reader might not know what you’re talking about. “That caused a backlash ...” doesn’t mean anything; “The protest caused a backlash ...” makes more sense.

•  Using too many words. People often insert extra words to sound official, but it just gets messy. Instead of saying, “I am a person who knows how to work hard,” start your sentence with “I work hard.”

•  Making sure the passive voice is used by you. See how awkward that is? Use the active voice instead.

•  Mixing up singular and plural nouns. “The organization takes care of their employees.” “Organization” is singular, so the sentence should say “The organization takes care of its employees.”

•  Throwing commas in where you don’t need them. Learn the rules of comma use and make your writing clearer.

— Adapted from “7 Writing Mistakes You Must Fix in Your 20s,” Danny Rubin, The Huffington Post.

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