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Journalistic Writing

STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS II:AMBIGUITY, REDUNDANCY, EUPHEMISM:

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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
VU
LECTURE 19
STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS II
AMBIGUITY:
Ambiguity (ambiguity can be syntactical or semantically)
You write to make life easier for your readers," Rob continued. "Ambiguity makes life harder. It causes
hesitation, doubt, and frustration. It slows down the read."
Ambiguity in writing can be either intentional or unintentional. Intentional ambiguity may be used to mislead a
reader or might be necessary due to the context or subject matter. Unintentional ambiguity should always be
avoided and can be with care and practice.
Three types of ambiguity exist. Understanding the differences between these types will help you identify
ambiguity in what others write and to avoid including unintentional ambiguity in your own writing.
In the following examples, identify the ambiguity and decide how the claims can be re-written to get rid of the
ambiguity.
1. Marry said to her sister that the fault was hers. (not clear whose fault)
2. When she put the pitcher on the glass-topped table it broke. (not clear what broke)
3. Before: The Minister of Agriculture requires eggs to be stamped with the date when they are laid by
the farmer.
After: The Minister of Agriculture requires eggs to be stamped by the farmers with the date when they
are laid.
4. Before: This morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
After: This morning, in my pajamas, I shot an elephant.
5. Before: Our mothers bore us.
After: Our mothers gave birth to us
6. Before: Americans are willing to drop nuclear weapons.
After: The American people are willing to utilize nuclear weapons.
REDUNDANCY
1. The shop assistant restored the umbrella back to its owner.
2. She was often in the habit of going to the cinema.
3. Before:
John has been quite ill for a really long time.
After: John has been ill for a long time.
4. Before:
Suzy is a good teacher who makes a significant impact on her students and faculty.
After: Suzy is a talented teacher who makes an impact on her students and faculty.
5. Before:
Michael Jordan was the best basketball player ever. Jordan was slam dunk master.
After: Basketball star Michael Jordan was the best basketball player ever and slam dunk master.
6. Before:
John found the job to be easy, and Jen also thought it was simple. Mike completed the
job without difficulty too.
After: John, Jen, and Mike found the job to be easy.
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
VU
CLICHÉ: Clichés are phrases that have been exhausted to the point where they have completely lost
originality.
No shadow of doubt
Needless to say
Strange as it may seem
stands to reason
Last but not least
In any shape or form
Leave no stone unturned
·
Hercules was as strong as an ox.
·
I have to give an arm and a leg to find a parking spot during the holiday season.
·
There are loads of websites on the Internet.
EUPHEMISM:
Euphemism
Meaning
Euphemism
Meaning
correctional facility
prison
pre-need
burial arrangements
arrangements
previously owned
used cars
laid to rest
buried
cars
depopulate
kill
pacification
war
revenue
taxes
negative feedback
scolding
enhancements
employment
Fired
negative impact
hurt
terminated
non-passing grade
Failing grade
GRANDILOQUENCE: Pompous/colorful/entatious language.
Before: The luxurious ambiance of this exotic setting, which we chanced upon during our desultory
peregrination south along the Amalfi Coast, is found in the guests seemed to be on a nuptial holiday, whether
the first or the 25th. The place had a number of luminaries who were not at all condescending. Among the
distinguished guests was a producer with his entourage, who came in from their palatial yacht and dined at the
hotel...
After: All the guests at San Pietro seemed to be on honeymoons, whether first, second, or 25th. The crowd ­
primarily Italian, British, German, and American ­ was sophisticated and decidedly un-snobbish. There were
even a few celebrities on view. A famous producer, his wife and friends stopped by for dinner while their
chartered yacht lay anchored in the harbor. Two well-know actors arrived the day we left. Another star was
there but, for some reasons, stayed in her room most of the time. Nobody asked for autographs-probably too
busy having their own good time.
(Pamela Fiori / Travel and Leisure.)
62
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
VU
EXCRESCENCE: bankrupt and awkward words)
We have received your order for two lawnmowers, and will send same by rail.
Vs.
We have received your order for two lawnmowers and will send them by rail tomorrow.
We are instituting many meaningful changes in the curriculum.
Vs.
We are changing the curriculum in many significant ways.
INSEPARABLES:
chop and change
hook and crook
betwixt and
tween
shape or form
yes and means
each and every
SLANG:
Saw a pretty corny movie last night. Mary major had a part in it. A tear jerker though
Somebody pinched my brolly when it was falling in bucket.
VERBIAGE:
·
Give us a fiver. Here you are. Smashing. Ta.
·
Before: Should the supply of stickers not be sufficient to meet section requirements, application
should be made to this office for a supply of additional copies.
·
After: if you need more stickers, ask for them.
THE SUFFIX-WISE:
Taxwise
Moneywise
Pricwise
Roadwise
Businesswise
Newswise
Disciplinewise
Careerwse
Weatherwise
Salarywise
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISTIC WRITING:Practical, THINGS TO KNOW
  2. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  3. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  4. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Achieve appropriate readability:
  5. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Be concise, Be creative, Be correct
  6. THE PROCESS OF WRITING:INVENTION, WHEN YOU START TO WRITE
  7. THE PROCESS OF WRITING II:ORGANIZING, DRAFTING, REVISING
  8. ALL ABOUT WORDS:HOW WORDS ARE FORMED?:SUFFIXES
  9. DICTIONARY-A WRITER’S LANGUAGE TOOL:KINDS OF INFORMATION
  10. PARTS OF SPEECH:Noun Gender, Noun Plurals, Countable Nouns
  11. BASIC CLAUSE PATTERNS
  12. ACTIVE AND PASSSIVE VOICE
  13. MODIFIERS AND SENTENCE TYPES:COMPOUND SENTENCES
  14. REPORTED SPEECH:Indirect Questions, Direct commands
  15. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES:SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT
  16. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES II:SENTENCE FRAGMENTS
  17. EFFECTIVE SENTENCE:PARALLELISM, NEEDED WORDS, SHIFTS
  18. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS I:COLLOQUIAL VS FORMAL, CIRCUMLOCUTION
  19. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS II:AMBIGUITY, REDUNDANCY, EUPHEMISM:
  20. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:STRUCTURE
  21. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:Putting on Our Play
  22. ESSAY WRITING:VARIOUS STRATEGIES FOR ESSAYS, PROMPTS
  23. SIGNAL WORDS:Non word Emphasis Signals
  24. EXPOSITORY WRITING:LOGICAL FALLACIES, APPEAL TO EMOTION
  25. THE WRITING STYLES: REPORT and NARRATIVE WRITING, SHORT REPORTS
  26. THE WRITING STYLES: DESCRIPTIVE AND PERSUASIVE WRITINGS, Observation
  27. RESEARCH WRITING AND DOCUMNETING SOURCES:Handling Long Quotations
  28. Summary and Précis Writing:CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD SUMMARY
  29. Punctuation:THE PERIOD, THE COMMA, THE SEMICOLON, THE COLON
  30. MECHANICS:ABBREVIATIONS, NUMBERS, SPELLING, THE HYPHEN
  31. READING SKILLS FOR WRITERS:EDUCATED READING, STEPS
  32. PARTS OF A NEWSPAPER:Box-out, By-line, Caption, Exclusive, Feature
  33. THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEWSPAPERS II:BROADSHEET NEWSPAPER
  34. News Writing and Style I:WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A NEWSPAPER
  35. NEWS WRITING II:Accuracy, Clarity, Style, Qualities of Effective Leads
  36. EDITORIAL WRITING:WRITING AN EDITORIAL:STRUCTURING AN EDITORIAL
  37. WRITING FEATURES:GENERATING FEATURE STORY IDEAS
  38. WRITING COLUMNS:Column and a news report, Purpose, Audience
  39. WRITING ARTICLES FOR NEWSPAPERS:The Heading, The Lead
  40. WRITING ANALYSIS:purpose, scope, method, results, recommendations
  41. LETTERS TO EDITORS:Four important aspects about letters, Organizing letters
  42. BROADCAST AND WEB NEWS WRITING:WRITE CONCISELY, BROADCAST STYLE
  43. WRITING PRESS RELEASE, REVIEWS AND OBITUARIES:Summary of Content:
  44. THE ART OF INTERVIEWINGS
  45. FINAL THOUGHTS:Practical, Job-Related, Social, Stimulating, Therapeutic