Rx for avoiding tedium in writing: the reference word strategy

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July 13, 2012
 
Dear Fellow Communicator,
 
As the second in a series of pointers for crafting more readable and compelling compositions, I am posting in this week’s edition of Jose Carillo’s English Forum an essay on a basic writing technique that I wrote for my English-usage column in The Manila Times in early 2004. The essay, “Using noun omission to avoid repetition,” takes up the so-called reference word strategy, which is a conscious effort on the part of the writer to avoid the excessive repetition of certain key words or phrases in a composition so as not to bore the reader. Instead, the writer methodically replaces them with more concise words or phrases that the reader can easily figure out from the relationships of the phrases in the sentence or from the context of the composition itself. I’m sure that many of us already use the reference words perhaps even without becoming aware that we do, but it should improve our writing when we become even more systematic and precise in deploying them.
  
THIS WEEK IN JOSE CARILLO’S ENGLISH FORUM (July 15-21, 2012):
·       Essays by Jose Carillo: The Reference Word Strategy as Rx for Avoiding Tedium in Composition (We shouldn’t bore our readers by needlessly repeating key words)
·       Readings on Language: What’s Lost to the World When A Language Dies (It could be knowledge no less valuable than some future miracle drug)
·       Use and Misuse: The Proper Usage of the Comma in Punctuating Parallel Clauses (Use the comma for short and simple clauses; otherwise, use a semicolon)
·       Time Out from English Grammar: The Chemistry of our Morality Hinges on Oxytoxin, Says US Neuroeconomist (It largely determines good or evil behavior)
·       News and Commentary: England Mulls Int’l Baccalaureate to Improve Its Language Education (Because its pupils are among the worst in foreign languages)
·       You Asked Me This Question: Can Intransitive Verbs Take an Object, and If So, How? (As a rule, no; a preposition to do that job on its behalf, though)
·       Education and Teaching Forum: President Aquino Still Has Four Years to Fulfill His Promises (But to succeed, he must put the right people in charge of higher education and science)
·       Badly Written, Badly Spoken: When Do We Omit the Relative Pronoun “That” in a Sentence? (Only when the sentence will sound better and won’t confuse the reader)
·       The Finest in Language Humor: A Cavalcade of Daffynitions (Sampler: “Politics – where truth lies.”)
·       Students’ Sounding Board: What’s the Difference in Meaning Between “Spend” and “Expend”? (It’s in the purpose and manner the fund or resource is used)
·       Advice and Dissent: The Need for Genuine Leisure Instead of a Mad, Unending Pursuit of Wealth (“Society must place the good things in life within reach of all”)
·       My Thoughts Exactly: “The Power of Words”: An Essay by Melvinhate (“When properly conveyed, they can clothe even the deepest human longings”)
·       The Lounge: “Beautiful, Beautiful”: Images To Take Your Breath Away (A Powerpoint presentation)
·       How Good is Your English?: How Criterion-Referenced Tests Can Help Improve Your English (You can work your way up to really great English!)
 
See you at the Forum!
 
Joe Carillo

Click this link to go the website now: http://josecarilloforum.com