Tricks of the Trade * Word Tripper

Every practice has its tricks of the trade. In this week’s Word Tripper, the trick to knowing the difference between the homonym “breach” and “breech” is this: ”Breach,” meaning to open by force or break an agreement, is spelled with an “ea” like the word “break” itself.

If writing is part of your trade, use this trick to differentiate between these two words both in meaning and spelling. Happy Word Tripping!

tricks-of-the-trade

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Breach, breech – As a noun, “breach” is a failure to do what’s required or promised; a break in friendly relations between people or groups; a hole or opening in something created by force. As a verb, it means to fail to do what’s required or promised; to force an opening or break an agreement. “Breech,” a noun, refers to the hind end of something. For example, a breech birth occurs when an infant’s bottom comes out first during delivery. “Breech” is also the part of a firearm (e.g., a rifle or cannon) found at the rear end of its barrel.

“It’s clearly a breech birth when the doctor sees the newborn’s bottom breach the birth canal.” – Dr. Ron Minson

Whack Extraneous Phrases in Your Writing

In their classic book The Elements of Style, Strunk and White called word clutter “the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood out of Whack wordinesswords.”

You can start by eliminating extraneous phrases that clutter your writing. But which phrases can be “whacked”?

Consider taking out these extra phrases whenever you can:

  • “is intended to, meant to, designed to” e.g., He gives a workshop that is designed to teach writing skills. Better: He gives a workshop that teaches writing skills.
  • “it is all about”; “the fact of the matter is”; “the fact that”; “it’s important to remember that” e.g., The fact of the matter is that it’s unwise to go out carousing. Better: It’s unwise to go out carousing.
  • “in regard to” e.g., Seek additional websites in regard to your industry. Better: Seek additional websites in your industry.
  • “is going to” e.g., He is going to be a key contributor. Better: He will be a key contributor.
  • “in order to” e.g., Add key words in order to describe the new position. Better: Add key words to describe the new position.
  • “there is” and “there will be” e.g., There will be many managers attending the meeting. Better: Many managers will attend the meeting.
  • “the reason why is that . . .” A simple “because” will suffice.
  • “at this time” . . . Now!

To reinforce this, take something you wrote and circle any of these extraneous phrases. Challenge yourself to rework or remove them altogether. You may choose to keep some in, but at least you’ve asked the question: “Do I really need this phrase?” (You don’t need “really” here.)

Keep this list handy. What would you add to it? Comment here.

2016 – A Great Year for Writing Your Nonfiction Book

by Barbara McNichol

Did you develop a plan or even start crafting your book in 2016?

If so, congratulations! If not, you have a clean slate in this new year—a fresh opportunity to share your expertise with the world!

Look at 2016 as a fresh start to attract more opportunities and build more connections through the increased exposure a book gives you.  As you do, go for these eight Book-Writing Resolutions to help fulfill your dream of being an author—and all that it brings you—in this wonderful new year.

1. I will devote a significant amount of time to planning how I’ll write and/or promote my book in 2016.

2. I will look for interesting, unique ways to craft my chapters. I want them to be informative, intelligent, and fun to read.

3. I will put into place new ways to promote my book, perhaps even before it’s been produced (e.g., turn parts of chapters into blog posts, use social media to draw attention to them).

4. I will create an ezine and/or website to convey my book’s concepts, build a list of interested people, and communicate regularly with those who can benefit from my message.

5. I will stop procrastinating! When I’m tempted to put off working on my book, I’ll remind myself of the reputation-building value a professional book brings to my business. It will help me engage with my prospects, gain exposure to my market, demonstrate my expertise, and land new opportunities.

6. I will not let lack of time or dislike of writing stop me. I have something valuable to say to the world, and I will put it out there in a quality way. Yes, I will set aside time to write, revise, and perfect my chapters and my marketing materials.

7. I will ask for help to perfect my manuscript. Knowing there comes a time when I can’t read my own writing objectively, I ask for writing/editing assistance to polish it to a fine sheen. I’ll be alert to when that time is right.

8. I will do my best to choose the right word when it matters most—and not let grammar gremlins and wrong choices spoil the party.

What resolutions would you add to this list? Write your favorites in the comments section below.

When it comes time for #7 and #8, allow me to assist you with my professional editing services and my ebook, Word Trippers in print at amazon.com and now available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon.