On writing: One simple check for clearer messages


Over my time in the UK, I’ve been constantly surprised at how things like word order within a sentence don’t receive enough attention.

For example, this line –
There should be a couple of videos floating around of me singing.

would read totally differently if the words, “floating around” was shifted towards the end of the sentence: There should be a couple of videos of me singing floating around.

The first means videos of this are available from several sources:
giphy

 

While the second can mean a couple of videos of this: 

floating singer1

The lesson here?
Pay attention to what goes at the end of the sentence because more often than not, that’s what’s going to define the message:
[There should be] [a couple of videos] [floating around] [of me singing]

Try to think of a sentence as having several sections and you’ll be able to better see how they interact.

While both are largely correct, the second adds ambiguity – and when every second of attention is precious it’s an unnecessary, unwelcome complication.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s