Grammar Grooves #1

13 07 2011

I am taking a little break from comparisons today. Here’s a short and sweet list of some top “issues” I see in my freelance editing job–and in my everyday life. Aim for simple and straightforward. You might think you sound fancy, but you don’t.

1. Write “decide” instead of “decide on” or “decide upon.” (Sometimes you do need “decide on,” but many times you do not.)
Bob decided on which game to attend. Take the “on” out. What happens?

2. You can usually go with “in” instead of “within.”
We have ten employees within our organization. Change “within” to “in.” What happens?

3. Say “to” instead of “in order to.”
Cross the street in order to get to the other side. How about just crossing the street to get to the other side?

4. Do NOT “plan in advance.” Advance by itself implies planning.
“We planned for the event” is better than “We planned in advance for the event.”

5. I decided on a consultant in order to help me plan in advance for the event within the organization.

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4 responses

13 07 2011
Doris Riley Short

1. Eliminate two letters and two spaces.
2. Eliminate four letters and two spaces.
3. How about just ‘cross the street’? (Getting to the other side is
implied.)
4. We planned the event. (does including for change the meaning)
5. I consulted a ____________ to help plan our organization’s event.

I spelled out 2 and 4 because that was standard back in the olden times. Numberals may be acceptable now – – –

13 07 2011
Melanie

I agree with most of your ideas. However, using your suggestions, #5 does not make sense without the “decided on”.
UGH: I decided a consultant to help me plan for the event in the organization.
Better: I decided on a consultant to help me plan for the event in the organization.
The rest of the sentence sounds fine. Maybe it would be better to say:
I picked a consultant to help me plan for the event in the organization.
Or even better:
I picked a consultant to help me plan the organizational event.
Your ideas all lead to the last sentence anyway. The shortest and most precise way to say something is usually the best way to go!

13 07 2011
qkelly

3. Well, you could cross the street to meet a girl or a dog. Or cross the street just to get to the other side and stand there 😉

4. I see your point. However, there is a distinction. Planning an event includes, let’s say, catering and entertainment, among other things. Planning FOR the event indicates planning for invitations and occurrences prior to the event.

5. I was being ironic by using everything wrong–including an example where you actually need decide on. Maybe too confusing? 😀

13 07 2011
qkelly

My ideal #5 btw:

A consultant helped me plan for the organization’s event (or helped me plan the organization’s event, if you’re going that way–without the “for”).

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