Writers make mistakes. You’re only human. But no one submits their first draft without proofreading it a couple of times. That being said, editors can often spot the most common mistakes made by a majority of writers.
A full-time professional writer is aware of these common mistakes that are readily spotted by editors and ensures they are avoided while proofreading. Fortunately, this list of useful tips for writers who want to write like a pro will take your editing skills to the next level:
- Get rid of those comma-heavy sentences
If you’ve used more than two commas in a sentence, then it’s time to break it down into two sentences. Long sentences are good, but readers usually lose interest or focus in what you’re saying by the end of it. Shorter sentences are more impactful.
- Make contractions your best friend
Isn’t it easier to read this sentence is better than is it not easier to read this sentence? Contractions make your blog reader-friendly and add a conversational tone to it. Plus, it gives the feeling that you’re talking to your reader rather than coming across as a know-it-all. And nobody likes a know-it-all.
- Use one voice and stick to it
If you’ve started penning your copy in the second person then remember to stick to it till the end. It’s confusing for readers if you start with “I” and halfway through switch to “you” and “your.”
- Avoid using fancy words and jargon
You may want to flaunt your vocabulary by using fancy words but it doesn’t help readers understand what you’re saying. Perhaps one of the most useful tips for writers is this: If someone needs to grab a dictionary to understand your blog, then you’ve lost them. If you can’t find a simpler word for describing something, use a thesaurus.
It’s important to avoid using fancy words because it confuses readers sounds better than it’s pertinent to avoid using extensive terminology in text because it disorients readers.
However, sometimes it’s necessary to use jargon especially if you’re writing a technical article. But if you’re writing a simple blog, article or story, stick to simple words.
- Cut down on prepositions
Prepositions make content lengthier. It’s better to use direct words rather than of, in, at, to or for. For example – The father of the bride can be changed to the bride’s father.
- Remove very, actually, really and honestly
Do you really need to use such terms when you actually don’t need to? Cutting down on these three words can tighten your copy and make it more powerful. These words sound good in conversations but not so good in the written form.
- Use active voice
This is one of the most useful tips for writers. Sentences in passive voice aren’t the best way to express your thoughts. Active voice emphasizes the subject and the action rather than the object. When a subject takes a direct action, the sentence is much more appealing to readers.
For example, shots were fired on Maine Street sounds vague but robbers fired shots on Maine Street sounds clearer. Jack married Jill reads better than Jill got married.
To summarize, professional writers search for common mistakes during the proofreading process that make copy clean, crisp and clear. These common mistakes include removing long sentences, using contractions over the expanded form of the words, sticking to one voice, avoiding the use of fancy words, cutting down on prepositions, eliminating redundant words and using the active voice. Now go ahead and write like a pro.