Edit for Diction

Words that are missing, misplaced, or out of order reduce readability.

  • Look for missing words or phrases: A missing word or phrase can obscure meaning and cause confusion. Insert missing words or phrases to complete the intended thought.
  • Look at word order after revising: Minor revision of a portion of a sentence can cause a major problem with word order. Reread each sentence after it has been revised to ensure that it still makes sense.
  • Look for misplaced or dangling modifiers: If a modifier is misplaced or is modifying a subject not mentioned in the sentence, the message could be misleading or confusing to the reader. Place modifiers as close as possible to the object being modified.
  • Look at subject-verb order: The English language usually follows the pattern subject-verb-object (SVO), but other languages may follow different patterns. Non-native English speakers may need to check their sentences for appropriate syntactical construction.
    • Example of SVO: The scholarly article explains theories on global warming. Subject = article; Verb = explains; Object = theories
    • Example of OSV: Theories on global warming the scholarly article explains. (awkward)

For additional information on word order: