Grandma\’s Tales

March 27, 2007

Grammar – 32 What is good writing? 2

Filed under: Language — Rajesh @ 11:00 pm

You may have great ideas and may have collected fine phrases to express them in, but if you fail to avoid grammatical errors, you put off your readers. You really can’t expect all your readers to be grammar duds, can you?
Check the right usage of the words you have. (Malapropism in a previous post)
Check the sentences for slip-ups in grammar – the commonest error being the non-agreement of the verb and the subject. I was rather surprised to find this sentence in an article written by a well-known columnist.
Today’s younger generation of Indian women seem to associate the garment with an earlier era…”
See the trap here? You write “women” and automatically use the plural verb “seem” (singular would be “seems”) . This sentence is about the younger “generation”, which is singular. “Indian women” is the object of the preposition “of”. Pitfall, right?
So check your verbs, check the subjects whose actions they talk about. Take care to see you have used “few”, “a few” and “the few” correctly. You have used “fewer” and “less” in the right places.
I find fewer books of fiction in this library, but there is less noise. Get it?
Read them a few times to see your words say what you want them to say. During the Nandigram episode, the anchor on a popular English TV channel kept shrieking “Fresh reports of clashes between the police and the agitators!” for three consecutive days. How could there be “fresh” reports? The reports were the same. No one was writing them differently every time they took place. The police fired on the agitating people. Only, this happened after a lull.  What she wanted to say was, “Reports of fresh clashes“.
Do you see the huge difference in meaning here? Word order, the placing of adjectives and adverbs in the sentence, are equally important.
Now, take the quiz and correct these sentences.
[1] Central Station is one of those rare films that leaves you feeling both happy and sad at the same time. (Read previous grammar posts if you need help.)
[2]
Dora’s one of those bitter, mean-spirited, cynical women who rarely mails any of these letters that people pay her to write.
[3]
But his road shows, where he mingled with the public freely disregarding the security, has created concerns for the Centre.
[4] Articles like this really shows what is happening in Chennai. 

[5]The woman down the street is one of those wonderful people who is always planning something fun.

 

Have fun!

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6 Comments »

  1. [1] Central Station is one of those rare film that leave you feeling both happy and sad at the same time. (Read previous grammar posts if you need help.)
    [2] Dora’s one of those bitter, mean-spirited, cynical women who rarely mail any of these letters that people pay her to write.
    [3] But his road show, where he mingled with the public freely disregarding the security, has created concerns for the Centre.
    [4] Articles like this really show what is happening in Chennai.
    not too sure of this one

    Comment by varunchablani — March 28, 2007 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Varun, good to see you here. You have the concepts clear, congratulations!
    Just a couple of points. In Q 1, it is “Central Station is one of those rare films”, the word “films” in the plural. You can only pick one from a group, so “one of the” should be followed by a plural noun.
    In the last Q, there was another error. The word “this” should have been changed to “these” since it stands for the word “articles”. Great work!
    Where is answer 5?

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — March 29, 2007 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  3. Maam,

    Looks like I can take just one guess ! 🙂

    5 – The woman down the street is one of those wonderful people who are always planning something fun.

    Over to you..

    Best Regards
    Gayathri

    Comment by Gayathri Chakravarthy — April 3, 2007 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Gayatri, you got that right! Try the rest too. Don’t hesitate!

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — April 3, 2007 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  5. Sorry, perhaps I didn’t make myself very clear ! I answered Q.5 because the rest have been solved… would love more though 🙂

    Comment by Gayathri Chakravarthy — April 4, 2007 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  6. Sure, Gayathri. Newspapers are a perennial source of blog fodder.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — April 4, 2007 @ 8:47 pm | Reply


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