Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Writing Clearly is a skill we all need to learn... PART 2
Everyone should always read what they have written.
And when you read what you've written:
Put yourself in the position of the reader, and
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 could be misunderstood by the readers:


1 In 1979, he bought majority control of the company's stock, along with his mother.

Rewrite: [In 1979, he along with his mother bought majority control of the company's stock.] or
[Along with his mother, he bought majority control of the company’s stock in 1979.] or
[He and his mother bought majority control of the company's stock in 1979.]

— He did not buy his mother —

2 Forty odd people were present at the meeting.

Rewrite: [Forty-odd people were present at the meeting.] or 
[About forty people were present at the meeting.]
— the word “odd” usually means strange or peculiar, but in this sentence the number (40)
plus the word odd means “approximately 40” (odd sometimes means “about or approximately
when counting) 

3 A poplar tree can break wind at a distance of up to 200 metres (BrE)/meters (AmE)
<em> </em><em> </em><em>NOTE:</em><em style="color: rgb(0, 71, 178);"> The term "break wind" is a gentle way of saying "fart = pass gas = flatus (n.): </em>
<em style="color: rgb(0, 71, 178);"> a reflex that expels intestinal gas through the anus.</em>
Rewrite: The sentence should be written so that the tree is referred to as acting as a "windbreak".
A windbreak is a fence, line of trees, or any objects that serve as a protection from the wind
by breaking/stopping the force of the wind.
So, the sentence should read as,
"A poplar tree can act as a windbreak at a distance of up to 200 meters."
In this case, the incorrect term "break wind" causes the sentence to be difficult to

— A tree cannot break wind like an animal can :) —

Jun 2, 2020 12:53 PM
Comments · 11
These made me giggle. Thanks, Richard, although instead of wanting to avoid these, I really feel like writing more :)
June 2, 2020
Helpful post, Mr. Business
July 15, 2020
Hi Richard,
Recently an astronomer proved the existence of an "axis of evil" in the Universe. Journalists write he is saying that there is a surplus of galaxies spinning clockwise.
Apparently, clear writing is not necessary if you are a web-journalist.
June 3, 2020
Number one makes me think about the song "I'm My Own Grandpa".

Number two - Perhaps there were Forty-ódd odd people there. :)

Number three explains the mystery of global warming. :)
June 3, 2020
@-fel yes you can use them interchangeably
June 2, 2020
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Richard-Business Eng
Language Skills
English, French
Learning Language