Monday, June 16, 2014

Avoiding shifts that impede your readers

In four previous posts, we have discussed the common mistake of unnecessarily changing from one grammatical person to another. For example, an executive of a publishing house said:
“It was not a book where a whole house [third person] runs out and pushes like crazy, and you [second person] have to have success right away, because you [second person] spent all this money.” (See post.)
This unnecessary change, or shift, confuses and impedes the reader.

There are also other kinds of shifts. Towson University, as part of its Online Writing Support, includes a very helpful page on seven kinds of shifts: shifts in tense, voice, mood, person, number, discourse and sentence construction. The page includes illustrative examples of each.

Nice work, Towson.

The Takeaway: When you have a chance, read the whole page. From time to time, review it.

See disclaimer.

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