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Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Writing Clearly is a skill we all need to learn...
Everyone should always read what they have written.
And when you read what you've written:
  1. Put yourself in the position of the reader, and
  2. Ask yourself if the reader will understand what you've written

You know what you meant to say (what you wanted to say), but will the reader understand what you've said?

Here are some reasonable looking sentences, but they all would be misunderstood by the readers:


1.    After years of being lost under a pile of dust, Chester found all the old records.
       NOTE:  Chester had not been lost under a pile of dust
 
       Rewrite: [Chester found all the old records which had been lost under a pile of dust for years.] or
                         [After years of being lost under a pile of dust, all the old records were found by Chester.]
 
 
2.    Two cars were reported stolen by the Groveton police yesterday.
       NOTE:   The Groveton police had not stolen the two cars —
 
       Rewrite:    [Two cars were stolen yesterday according to the Groveton police report.] or
                         [The Groveton police reported that two cars had been stolen yesterday] or
                         [Two stolen cars were reported by the Groveton police yesterday.] or
                         [Yesterday, the Groveton police reported two stolen cars/reported two cars stolen.]
 

3.    As a baboon who grew up wild in the jungle, I realized that Wiki had special nutritional needs.
       NOTE:  I was not the baboon who grew up in the jungle
       
Rewrite:
[Wiki, the baboon, grew up wild in the jungle, so I realized that Wiki had special nutritional needs.] or
[I realized that Wiki the baboon, who had grown up wild in the jungle, had special nutritional needs.] or
[I realized that Wiki the baboon had special nutritional needs as he had grown up wild in the jungle.]


May 31, 2020 8:01 PM
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Comments · 11
I really liked the post written by Richard and the baboon.
May 31, 2020
Hi Richard,
Welcome back:) and thank you as usual you enhance your educational, informative role on italki platform.

Regards


May 31, 2020
Thanks to those who have responded to this post:

Zahra
Nikola
NADA
James S-C
John
Mr Blue
Arma

Another set of unclear sentences and the corrected re-written sentences will be posted soon...

June 1, 2020
After years of living in the dust laden jungle wiki the baboon emerged one dark night to report the finding of two stolen cars to two policemen from Groveton. The police men never did relay the report to the police station and the two cars have not been recovered, they have however been covered in baboon odour and the talking baboon who was reported escaped from the zoo, some twelve years earlier is still at large. If anybody spots two cars or a talking baboon, please report either occurrence immediately to the sheriff, if you are brave enough, or drunk enough. The sheriff misses his most loyal and dedicated officer wiki the baboon as everybody once called him.

One baboon and one former alcoholic officer nicknamed wiki the baboon the sheriff's former deputy and son in law, two reported stolen cars and two policemen, one dodgy zoo and a continuing confusion that has turned into a legend and a tourist attraction for the town of Groveton.
June 1, 2020
Sometimes we like to complicate things by condensing them.

Another option would be to separate the one sentence, which contains multiple thoughts, into two sentences.

1.   After years of being lost under a pile of dust, Chester found all the old records.
All of the old records had been lost under a pile of dust for years. Chester found them recently.

3.    As a baboon who grew up wild in the jungle, I realized that Wiki had special nutritional needs.
Wiki was a baboon who grew up wild in the jungle. I realized that this required Wiki to have special
nutritional needs.

Combining multiple thoughts into one sentence does not prove intelligence. If used properly, it can show a certain level of mastery of the language. However, the goal of communication is to be understood. This means that at times we must put our mastery aside and choose to use a more simplistic approach.
June 1, 2020
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Richard-Business Eng
Language Skills
English, French
Learning Language