Tuesday, June 20, 2017

3 Ways to Strive for Sentence Conciseness


Sentence Conciseness Will Improve Your Writing


It is quality not quantity that counts in writing. Most good writing is not cluttered with superfluous words.

Here are three ways to improve your writing:

(1) Eliminate extra words and the unnecessary repetition of ideas. 
For example:
Wordy: The dog played with a small, little, round ball, which was made of rubber.
Better: The dog played with a little rubber ball.

(2) Reduce clauses to phrases and phrases to single words.
For example:
Wordy:  We decided that we would leave the meeting early.
Better: We decided to leave the meeting early.
Wordy: The illegal immigrants who had been captured were deported to Mexico.
Better: The captured illegal immigrants were deported to Mexico.

(3) Avoid trying to sound like Shakespeare. Write naturally. 
For example:
Wordy:  Illumination is required when the sun has sunk into the west and left the premises in darkness.
Better: Turn on the lights at dark.

What about you? Do you sometimes use more words that you really need? I know I do, so when I go back and proofread what I have written, I often find myself tapping the delete key.







Click here for a FREE exercise on reducing wordy sentences.




Thanks for reading,






Monday, February 20, 2017

Help With Confusing Words

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This funny GIF is a reminder that it is easy to confuse certain common words.


To avoid upsetting Ross like Rachel did, take a look below:


You're means you are. (This word is a contraction.)
Your means something belongs to you. (This word is a possessive pronoun.)


We're means we are. (This word is a contraction.)
Were is the plural of was. (This word is a verb.)


Who's means who is. (This word is a contraction.)
Whose is the possessive form of who.


They're means they are. (This word is a contraction.)
There refers to a place.
Their is the possessive form of they.

Click here for a free lesson on a different set of confusing words.


Thanks for reading,




Thursday, February 16, 2017

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #5

Get Your Word's Worth and Say Exactly What You Mean

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #5






The distinction between these two words is minimal, but the word essential is more often used when a stronger meaning is required.


If a doctor tells you that quitting smoking is necessary for your good health, you would probably take notice. 

If that same doctor tells you that quitting smoking is essential to your good health, I would hope you would throw your tobacco products away and take heed.


Having ripe tomatoes is necessary for making flavorful soups, but having ripe tomatoes is essential for making tomato soup.


I hope this post helps you choose the word that will express exactly what you wish to say.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #4

Get Your Word's Worth and Say Exactly What You Mean

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #4






  • Ingenious is from the Latin ingenium meaning inborn talent or natural quality.
  • Ingenuous is from the Latin ingenuus meaning simple, honest, childlike, or trusting.
One way to remember the distinction between these two words is to note that the word ingenious sounds like the word genius while the word ingenuous sounds like the word genuine.


The inventor created an ingenious device to cut raw onions.
The party room was filled with laughing, ingenuous children.

I hope this post helps you choose the word that will express exactly what you wish to say.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, February 6, 2017

Valentine's Day TpT Gift Card Contest




If you would like to enter a contest for a Valentine’s Day gift from Charlene Tess at Simple Steps to Sentence Sense and a $10 gift certificate you can use for anything in the TeachersPayTeachers store, follow these simple rules:

(Hurry! The contest ends at midnight on February 8th.)

Required:
Click here to enter your email address to receive my free newsletter and a free product.

Optional, for extra chances to win:

Click here to LIKE my page on Facebook and share the Valentine’s Day sale image you find there.
Follow me on Twitter at @CharleneTess1
Click here to follow me on Pinterest. 

Click here to follow me on Instagram.
I will have a drawing on the morning of February 10th and the winner will be announced on my Facebook Page. I will also email the winner.

Good Luck!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #3

Get Your Word's Worth and Say Exactly What You Mean

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #3




Stationery is the word to use for notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, envelopes, and other necessary writing materials.

Stationary is the word for standing still.

It is often difficult to remember how to spell these two words, but a teacher I had in elementary school gave me a trick that I still remember after all these years. 

The "e" in stationery stands for "envelope."


I wrote the letter on flowered stationery.
I am going to exercise on a stationary bicycle.

I hope this post helps you choose the word that will express exactly what you wish to say.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #2

Get Your Word's Worth and Say Exactly What You Mean

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #2



Prescribe means to lay down a rule or to write a script for medication.

Proscribe means to forbid.

To use these words correctly, think of prescribe as "to dictate" and proscribe as "to prohibit."


The doctor is going to prescribe a medication for my headaches.

The law proscribes discrimination based on race or gender.

I hope this post helps you choose the word that will express exactly what you wish to say.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #1


Get Your Word's Worth and Say Exactly What You Mean

Word Choice Creative Writing Tip #1




Infectious is from the Latin inficere and means to taint. (An infectious disease is spread by agencies such as air and water.)

Contagious is from the Latin tangere and means to touch. (A contagious disease is transmitted by touching.)

When considering the figurative uses of these words, infectious suggests that something is irresistible and contagious places an emphasis on quickness and speed.
  • His laughter was infectious and soon we were laughing with him.
  • Shots rang out and a contagious fear spread through the theatre.

I hope this post helps you choose the word that will express exactly what you wish to say.

Thanks for reading,



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas Traditions Bring Joy

Mema's Cornbread Dressing


Alice Bourland
Alice Bourland (1917-2008)
This was my beautiful mother’s famous recipe for cornbread dressing. We had it for Thanksgiving and for Christmas dinner. The turkey was not the focus of our meal; Mema’s Dressing was everybody’s favorite. We would pour gravy over it and eat it for days. 

CORNBREAD (Make at least one day early so it can dry out a little. If possible, make in on Sunday before Thanksgiving or three days before Christmas and then leave it out on the counter. Also, dry out a loaf of bread and use for breadcrumbs or buy a bag of breadcrumbs or croutons. Just be sure they are not seasoned because that will alter the taste.



After my youngest grandson was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I began making it with gluten free flour and gluten free corn meal. It is as good as ever! Note the modifications you can make if you wish to make this dish gluten free.

Triple this cornbread recipe for a large amount of dressing to feed several people. (It’s better to mix it up and bake it in three batches.)

1 cup yellow cornmeal  (Use gluten free cornmeal.)
4 tablespoons flour (Use gluten free flour.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted shortening (or vegetable oil)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (Very important. Don't use sweet milk.)

Mix cornmeal, flour, soda, and salt. Beat egg and add to buttermilk. Then pour this mixture into the sifted dry ingredients, add 1 tablespoon melted shortening (or vegetable oil) and stir only until well mixed. Grease an 8X8 pan. (If you have one, bake the cornbread in an iron skillet.) Pour batter into hot, greased pan. Bake at 425 degrees about 30 to 35 minutes, or until brown.

DRESSING

large bunch of celery
1 large yellow onion
poultry seasoning (Very important. Don't use anything else.) (Use gluten free poultry seasoning.)
3 cans chicken broth (Use gluten free chicken broth.)
butter
dry cornbread (crumbled)
dry bread (Add enough to make the mixture stick together well) (Use gluten free bread or gluten free croutons.)

Chop celery and onion and sauté in butter until soft and clear in color. Crumble cornbread and bread in a large bowl. Add celery and onion mixture. Add chicken broth a little at a time until you get the thick consistency of muffin dough. Add poultry seasoning a teaspoon at a time. This will make it salty and give it its unique flavor. Taste until it tastes like Mema's dressing. (For those who did not know and love Mema, just suit your own taste.) Grease one rectangular baking dish with oil. Bake at 350º until dressing is brown and crusty on top. (35-45 minutes.) If you want stuffing inside the turkey, stuff it with raw dressing before you put it in the oven.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. For our family, it simply would not be Christmas without Mema's dressing.


Here's a link to two FREE activities that the whole family could do for fun after dinner. 



I hope you enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. 
This blog post has been updated and reposted. Thanks for reading,



Thursday, November 24, 2016


It is not only on the fourth Thursday of November that I am thankful. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, I think, in his prayer in the photo above. 


I take a long morning walk as often as I can. The first thing I do after leaving the house is look to the east where the beautiful sunrise greets me and say a few words of thanks for the privilege of living another day.


I have lost many people that I love with all my heart, so I do not take the gift of life for granted.


May your season of Thanksgiving last all year long.


Thanks for reading,