Logic, Clarity, and Grammar

Writing Fundamentals: Logic, Clarity, and Grammar

This seminar can be offered as a single one-day program (six hours) or as two half-day programs (three hours each).

Ensure that your writing is clear, logical, and grammatically correct by avoiding some of the most common errors. Avoid ambiguity and make sure your words convey precisely the message you intend to convey.

Pronoun Confusion: Choosing the appropriate pronoun can be difficult. We will address these and other pronoun case issues, providing simple explanations and fail-safe tricks of the trade.

  • Confusion between I and me: Should the conversation be kept between my client and I or between my client and me? Did she give the summaries to Tom and I or Tom and me?
  • Pronoun confusion in comparisons: Is Ms. Jones more efficient than him or than he?
  • Confusion between who and whom: Should we write that the judge will sentence whoever or whomever the jury finds guilty?
  • Appropriate situations in which to use reflexive pronouns: Can we write, “Please give the information to Mr. Smith and myself”?

Agreement Issues: We will review rules governing difficult subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent situations:

  • Do collective nouns such as group, team, and committee take singular or plural verbs and pronouns?
  • Should we write, “She is one of the women who is assigned to the case” or “who are assigned to the case”?
  • How can we avoid awkward constructions such as his/her or his and hers?
  • How can we make verbs and pronouns agree with either and neither (“Neither of the respondents is or are liable for the plaintiff’s economic losses.”).

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers and Other Illogical Constructions: We will focus on the careful placement of modifying words, phrases, and clauses and raise awareness of the need for precision in professional writing. In addition, we will addresses the problem of redundancies and other errors in logic:

  • Should we write “The corporation only grossed $3 million this year” or “The corporation grossed only $3 million this year”?
  • Can we write “Driving home from the office, the car swerved out of control”?
  • What is wrong with road signs that say “Prepare to stop when flashing”?
  • Is it acceptable to write about “advance reservations,” “underage minors,” or “free gifts”?
  • Can e.g. and etc. appear in the same parenthetical expression?

Word Confusion: Our lexicon changes constantly. We will review a number of words that writers often confuse or misuse. Here are some examples:

  • insure, ensure, and assure
  • anxious and eager
  • effect and affect
  • bimonthly and semimonthly
  • farther and further
  • like and as
  • disinterested and uninterested
  • infer and imply
  • lay and lie

Contact us for more information or to schedule a class.