I’m in the midst of writing the first part of my thesis at the moment.
Which has pretty much equated to almost complete withdrawal from the world, endless hours scrolling through journal databases and eating a lot of oatmeal. It honestly sounds much worse than it actually is.
As someone who loves learning and writing, I thrive on days in front of the computer turning the countless research journal articles into a flowing story. I love the challenge (no surprises there) of making academic writing palatable. Well written research can change perspectives, policies and public attitudes. It can alter the way in which you view the world. However, unfortunately most research is neither enjoyable nor overly understandable. It’s no wonder research is so often mistranslated and misrepresented in popular culture. This is a massive problem. Like Mark Twain said;
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
It wasn’t until I started to write more that I realised what a lost art writing is.Being able to write was something that I took for granted. As it happens, I might have overestimated the general population’s writing capacity.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no copy editor for the New Yorker. But here are some basic errors that drive me crazy.
- Overcomplicated sentences. If you can break up a sentence that is starting to challenge the Nile in length, do it. Long sentences don’t make you sound smart. They make you sound confused.
- Apostrophes. So many things about apostrophes (check this out).
- Its/ It’s (its = possession, it’s = “it is” or “it has”).
- Over and under use of commas.
- Their, they’re & there / wear & where / hear & here/ too, to & two etc. (again, see here)
- A lot. It’s two words.
Confession time. After a few days of solid writing, I must admit that some of these occasionally slip through as typos on the occasional first draft. That’s a usually a good indicator to me that it’s time to step away from the laptop and reenter the world. Thankfully, I haven’t found myself at that stage yet… I think. Proof reading is yet to come.
What are your writing pet peeves? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.
For some great (and hilarious) grammar tips, visit The Oatmeal.
And now back to my thesis.