Incomplete Sentences

July 28, 2011

One of the most common writing errors is the use of incomplete sentences.  I work with my college students on this very frequently, and here’s what I tell them (and you don’t even have to pay tuition to get this!):

A grammatically complete sentence needs to contain a subject (the actor, a noun), a verb (action word), and an object (the thing acted upon, also a noun).  Simple example:

John (subject) walked (verb) the dog (object).

Of course, most sentences are more complicated than the example above, but they all need to contain a subject, a verb, and an object.  Slightly more complicated example:

John (subject), who was home from college during the month of January, and who had determined to go to three concerts while he was home, walked (verb) the dog (object) from his house to the playground and back, meeting Susan while he was there.

Now of course there are several nouns in this sentence, and there are several verbs as well.  But what writers refer to as the core sentence (the basic sentence once we’ve removed the extraneous information) is still ‘John walked the dog‘.  Look for the core sentence in even the most complex sentence you write, and make certain that it contains a subject, a verb, and an object–then you’ve got a complete sentence grammatically.

There is one other quality that a complete sentence needs besides a correct grammatical structure, though, and this one has to do with the meaning of the sentence.  It needs to be a complete and sensible thought.    This one is a little trickier, because it refers to the sentence having to make sense–that is, having to be clear and meaningful as it stands, by itself.  Example:

John walked the airplane.

This sentence contains a subject, a verb, and an object, but it’s a nonsensical thought; people don’t walk airplanes, do they?

Similarly, the following sentence, although grammatically correct, doesn’t contain a complete, coherent thought.  Example:

John, although he liked to skydive and was a trained spelunker, walked the dog to the moon.

One more time–this time with a clearly incomplete thought:

And he walked the dog.

Do you see where we’re going with this?  Grammatical correctness and a complete thought are both qualities that a complete sentence must possess to be really complete.  Check out www.linkedineditor.com or email me with questions or comments.

More to come; film at 11:00.

Correctness

July 27, 2011

People set up sites on LinkedIn, as I see it, for one or both of two reasons: to enhance their professional credentials or to find a job.  Either way, they need to be very careful about what they write as well as how they write it.  Writing is permanent–it’s ‘out there’ for everyone to see, and even small errors can be glaring if the wrong person (like a hiring manager) sees them.

So I set up my business–LinkedInEditor.com–to offer people world-class editing and restructuring of their Profiles and other data on their LinkedIn pages.  This service is indispensable because people have to assume that anyone looking at their pages will spot every mistake in grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc.

And people are looking at their pages; percentages vary, and are probably only guesses anyway, but figures seem to indicate that at least 50-60% of hiring managers or their delegates are viewing the LinkedIn pages of people they are considering for professional positions.  Can’t afford to have mistakes on pages, then–an error on what should be a ‘perfect’ page says to that hiring manager that:

1. You don’t know how to use English correctly

2. You don’t pay attention to details

3. You don’t care enough to proofread your pages

In short, you’re perceived as either ignorant or indifferent–and neither is a quality that most companies are searching for.

Now this is not an advertisement for LinkedInEditor (although it’s a good service and one of the ways I put bread on the table) as much as it is a plea to people who put together LinkedIn sites: you cannot afford to make any errors in your writing.  That’s right, not one error.  You certainly won’t enhance your professional credentials if you have errors on your pages, and it’s equally certain that, especially with so many unemployed people applying for every job, you won’t get hired if you make mistakes.

So at least do your best to make your pages clean.  Proofread carefully.  Get that friend with the ‘useless’ English degree to review your work.  Go to a Writing Center (all community colleges have Writing Centers, and many will allow non-students to use these services) and have a tutor look over your pages.  Hire an editing service.  Do everything you can to make your pages correct, because you don’t have a choice in the matter–you have to be right.

Remember, the hiring choice between you and another candidate may come down to just a sliver of a difference, and that sliver just might be that you write correctly and effectively while the other candidate doesn’t.  Think about it.

More on this and other related subjects later.  Stay tuned.

Blog from the LinkedInEditor

January 10, 2010

January 1, 2010

LinkedInEditor is now open for business! Premier editing of your most important online identity: Your LinkedIn pages. See http://www.linkedineditor.com for details.

December 31, 2009

The New Year–like each new day–is filled with possibilities.

May 2010 be kinder to us all.

December 29, 2009

This is a test of Ping.fm’s Group posting capability; no news here–just a test.

December 29, 2009

Ping.fm is far more user-friendly than Tweetdeck; I recommend it highly. Happy New Year!

Hell in the Hallway–Interview Responses

December 28, 2009

Hell in the Hallway is a very good job seeker’s information site; it’s worth visiting if you’re looking for work (and who isn’t?).  This link takes you to a selection of, um, unusual interview responses they’ve collected.  Enjoy!

Book recommendation

December 23, 2009

Lynn Truss’ Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a delightful and elegantly humorous tour through standard English correctness, emphasizing its importance with enjoyable prosthelytizing.  I recommend it to anyone who is even mildly interested in correct writing and who wants to be amused while being reminded of its importance.

linkedineditor.com–New Editing Service for LinkedIn pages

December 23, 2009

This new business–opening 1/1/2010–specializes in editing your LinkedIn pages to perfection. After all, what part of your online identity is more vitally important than your LinkedIn persona? You’re using LinkedIn either to find a job or to enhance your professional image–either way you want your pages to be perfectly edited for standard English correctness: grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, conciseness, & clarity of meaning.

That’s what we do, and we’re the experts at it. Take a look at our site: http://www.linkedineditor.com, and consider our services–you may not even know about the errors on your pages, but your prospective employer might see them as glaring mistakes!  Do you want to take that chance? 

Every element of your writing either contributes to or detracts from your overall credibility and attention to detail–characteristics that employers want in their new employees, and that they expect in their established workers. 

Be careful!  Pay attention to details!  And then contact us to finish the job perfectly.  Our prices are not only reasonable–they are incredibly inexpensive compared to what you might lose by not using them.


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