The First Fifty Tips – Second Edition

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  • Author Name: Nancy Lewis Tuten, Ph.D.
    Price: $20
    Table of Contents

    In the early 1990s, after I had been teaching college English for eight years, the director of staff development at one of our state agencies asked me to design and lead a two-day workshop on English grammar. I called that course "Get It Write." Soon I had requests from other agencies as well, and my client list began to grow. Today, Get It Write is a business offering a wide range of writing skills seminars in the workplace.

    Nearly a decade after that first workshop, I started creating writing tips and sending them out via E-mail, primarily as a service to clients who wanted to continue honing their writing skills after they had participated in a Get It Write class. After eighteen years of teaching at the college level and ten years of conducting seminars in the business arena, I had a pretty good idea about the English grammar, mechanics, and usage issues that trouble writers most frequently. The writing tips, I hoped, would clarify some of the confusion many people experience as they edit their work.

    So, one might ask, why did we feel the need to publish The First Fifty Tips?

    The initial and primary reason is that our subscribers asked for it. Like us, many of them still enjoy the printed book--something they can hold, throw in a briefcase, keep on their desks, lend to a friend, or give as a gift. Web sites are handy, but they are not good for reading in bed, in a long line, in a hammock, or at the beach.

    Second, like most writers, we were not content to leave well enough alone. We knew that we could strengthen the tips by revising them (again!), and publishing them together as a book gave us a good reason to do so. We have tightened explanations, added examples, deleted examples that were problematic, and even corrected a few outright mistakes (yes, we are human).

    Finally, we hope this book will extend learning beyond the limitations of a six-hour seminar or a fourteen-week college semester. Writing classes must first address the larger concerns of good writing: organization and development, tone and clarity, audience awareness and readability. Working carefully through those issues leaves little time to talk about the final stage of writing--the editing process. Often, classes are able to focus on grammar, mechanics, and usage for only a short time, covering only the most common errors. Writers who are serious about strengthening their editing skills must be committed to ongoing self-improvement and should avail themselves of many resources.