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No matter the medium—from print to broadcast to digital—Working With Words presents the best writing advice for today’s journalists. The text’s focus on improving skills in grammar and style make this an invaluable reference for students from their introductory journalism courses throughout their future careers in the field. With extensive coverage of grammar, mechanics and usage, as well as style, unbiased writing and writing for different media, Working With Words includes material that students cannot find in the Associated Press Stylebook alone.
New with the ninth edition, Working with Words can be packaged with LaunchPad Solo for Journalism, where students can access the Exercise Book for Working With Words – an interactive workbook with multiple activities matching each chapter topic in the main text. Also on LaunchPad, students can further their grammar practice with Exercise Central for AP Style, and watch numerous videos from renowned journalists.
Brian S. Brooks is associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to coauthoring News Reporting and Writing for Bedford/St. Martin’s, he is coauthor of Telling the Story, Third Edition (2007), Working with Words, Sixth Edition (2006), and The Art of Editing (2009).
James L. Pinson has taught journalism for about twenty-five years at the Missouri School of Journalism and at Eastern Michigan University,and has addressed various press groups on the subjects of grammar and other editing skills. He has also worked for newspapers in Colorado, Missouri, and Michigan, and has a doctorate in journalism and a master's in creative writing.
Jean Gaddy Wilson leads executives worldwide in creating successful strategies for the future. While on the Missouri School of Journalism faculty, she founded three national journalism organizations: New Directions for News, Journalism and Women's Symposium, and the National Women and Media Collection. She was a founding member of the Council of Presidents, an organization of the leading editorial organizations in newspapers, and of the International Women's Media Foundation. She has served as a Pulitzer Prize Nominating Juror for Journalism and currently serves as a consultant to international organizations.
Table of Contents
Preface Useful Lists at a Glance Introduction for Students
PART ONE – WRITING FOR THE MEDIA 1 The Basics of Writing for Journalism Journalistic Writing Versus Fiction Writing Clarity A Clarity Checklist Write Short Sentences and Paragraphs, and Use Common Words Anticipate Readers’ Questions Include Specifics Explain Numbers and Statistics Correctness A Correctness Checklist Use Correct Grammar, Usage Spelling and Style Write to Your Audience and Purpose Use the Right Story Formula Maintain Objectivity in Your Writing Rules of Objective Writing Modifiers to be Avoided JOURNALISM TIP: Writing for Eighth-Grade Readability Web Resources: Writing Help 2 Tight Writing: Less is More How to Tighten Your Writing Use Fewer Words Use Exact Words Be Fresh, Not Stale What to Tighten, A to Z Web Resources: Concise Writing 3 Writing News That’s Fit for Print Pick the Best Angle Types of News Leads Hard-News Leads Who Was Involved? What Happened? When Did It Happen? JOURNALISM TIP: Words to Avoid in Attributing Information Where Did It Happen? Problems with Hard-News Leads What Comes After the Hard-News Lead? Soft-News Leads Soft-News Clichés What Comes After the Soft News Lead? Using Paraphrases and Transitions to Build a Story Web Resources: Journalism Reviews 4 Writing News for Radio and Television Print and Online Versus Radio and TV News Use a Conversational Style Personalize the News Make It Easy to Understand Keep It Short Keep It Timely Make It Clear Radio and Television Journalists Must Know Grammar Radio and Television Hard-News Leads Starting With the Who What Happened? Points to Remember Radio and Television Story Structure Radio and Television Style Summary Preparing Your Manuscript for Radio Preparing Your Manuscript for Television Editing and Other Symbols Pronunciation Names Spelling Web Resources: Radio and Television 5 Writing for Online Media Online Media are Unique Be Clear Be Correct (And Credible) Be Concise Writing and Presenting News Online SEO: Writing with Search Engines in Mind Writing for International Audiences Writing for Blogs JOURNALISM TIP: Editing Your Own Copy Promoting News on Social Media Legal and Ethical Concerns Corrections Web Resources: Online Media
PART TWO – GRAMMAR 6 Grammar Basics Solving Common Problems 1. Make Sure Your Words Agree and Go Together 2. Make Sure Your Words are in the Right Order 3. Use the Right Form of the Word 4. Use the Right Word 5. Punctuate According to Sentence Grammar Understanding in More Depth Using Standard English Why Don’t We Write How We Talk? Conventional Wisdom Competing Grammars and Stylebooks When is an Error not an Error? Grammar and Confidence Communicating Well Talking Shop 7 Phrases, Clauses and Sentences Solving Common Problems 1. Beware of Common Sentence Errors 2. Know the Difference Between Restrictive Versus Nonrestrictive Elements JOURNALISM TIP: Punctuating Nonrestrictive Phrases and Clauses Understanding in More Depth Phrases Clauses Sentences JOURNALISM TIP: Using Different Types of Sentences 8 Subjects and Objects Solving Common Problems 1. Choosing Among That or Which, or Who or Whom 2. Using Pronouns Ending in Self or Selves 3. Spelling Singulars, Plurals and Possessives 4. Choosing the Right Pronoun Case 5. Making Sure Trademarks Are Capitalized JOURNALISM TIP: Using Trademarks 6. Capitalizing or Not Those Names That Are Neither Clearly Proper Names nor Common Nouns 7. Making Nouns and Pronouns Possessive Before a Gerund Understanding in More Depth Kinds of Subjects Kinds of Objects Verbal Nouns: Gerunds and Infinitives More on Forming Singulars and Plurals of Nourns More on Forming Possessives of Nouns Most Common Trademarks Used Incorrectly 9 Verbs Solving Common Problems 1. Know when there should or should not be an –s at the end of a verb. 2. Don’t confuse the verbs can, may, shall and will with could, might, would and should, or with each other. 3. Don’t misuse helping verbs -- the verbs added to a main verb. 4. Don’t misuse irregular verbs – those that don’t make their past forms by adding –ed. 5. Normally, avoid passive voice. 6. Avoid using nouns as verbs editors dislike. Understanding in More Depth What’s the Difference Between a Verb and a Predicate? What are Helping Verbs and Main Verbs? What are Transitive Verbs and Intransitive Verbs? Understanding Verb Tenses Principal Parts of Common Irregular and Other Confusing Verbs Sequence of Tenses Keeping Verb Tenses Consistent More on Active Voice Versus Passive Voice JOURNALISM TIP: When Not to Change Passive Voice to Active What is Verb Mood? JOURNALISM TIP: Verb Moods What are Verbals? 10 Making the Parts Agree Solving Common Problems 1. Make sure each subject and its verb agree in number. JOURNALISM TIP: Groups of People in the News 2. Make sure each pronoun agree with its antecedent in number, gender and person. 3. Make sure each sentence’s words, phrases and clauses have parallel structure. Understanding in More Depth More on Subject-Verb Agreement with Conjunctions More on Subject-Verb Agreement with Uncountable Nouns More on Subject-Verb Agreement with Other Confusing Nouns More on Prepositional Phrases More on Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement More on Making Verbs Parallel 11 Modifiers and Connecting Words Solving Common Problems with Modifiers 1. Use the correct forms of adjectives and adverbs 2. Don’t confuse adjectives with adverbs 3. Know the difference between coordinate adjectives and compound modifiers 4. Know how to use articles correctly. 5. Set off sentence adverbs with commas from the reset of the sentence 6. Don’t use double negatives 7. Punctuate interjections correctly Solving Common Problems with Connecting Words 1. Pay attention to how you use prepositions and whether the preposition is necessary 2. Make sure that you use the correct conjunction to connect equal or unequal parts of a sentence Understanding in More Depth More About Other Kinds of Modifiers More About Participles More About Interjections More About Correlative Conjunctions 12 Getting Words in the Right Order Solving Common Problems 1. Place modifiers as close as possible to the word they modify 2. Place adverbs where they are the least confusing for the reader. Understanding in More Depth Understanding Preposition Placement Understanding Split Infinitives
PART THREE – USAGE 13 Finding the Right Word JOURNALISM TIP: Conservative Stylebook Rules Misused and Confused Words and Phrases 14 Sexism, Racism and Other “isms” How the Individual Became the Media A Shifting “Center of Gravity” Principles for Choosing Appropriate Language Don’t Be Ridiculous Language Turns to the Future New Players in the New Millennium A Brief History of “isms” Dealing with Current Reality Sexism Racism and Religious Bias Ageism Other Stereotyping The Nonbias Rule Up to Date or Out of Date Dumping Today’s Stereotypes Bias-Related Terms Web-Resources: Competent Language
PART FOUR – MECHANICS 15 Punctuation Solving Common Problems with Commas 1. Know when always to use a comma 2. Know when never to use a comma 3. Know when possibly to use a comma Solving Common Problems with Quotations 1. Know what and how to quote 2. Know how to attribute quotations and paraphrases Attribution of Quotations 3. Know how to carry quotations across paragraphs 4. Know how to handle these miscellaneous issues with quotes Solving Common Problems with Punctuating Pairs of Modifiers 1. Use the correct conjunction to connect equal or unequal parts of a sentence – a coordinating one for equal parts, a subordinating one for unequal parts – and punctuate them correctly. 2. Set off conjunctive adverbs with a comma after them. 3. Know the difference between punctuating coordinate adjectives and compound modifiers. Understanding in More Depth Semicolons Colons Dashes Parentheses Hyphens Apostrophes Slashes Periods, Exclamation Points and Question Marks 16 Spelling Relief Spelling Rules Prefixes Suffixes JOURNALISM TIP: Spelling and Your Career The Silent e Other Spelling Rules Words Often Misspelled Hyphenation as a Spelling Problem Rules for Hyphenation Looking Up Words for Hyphenation One Word, Two Words or Hyphenated? American Versus British Spelling Web Resource: Language Skills
Appendix: Wire-Service Print and Web Style Summary Abbreviations and Acronyms Punctuation Symbols Dates People and Titles Organizations Places Miscellaneous Capitalization Proper Nouns Geographic Regions Government and College Terms Religious Terms Titles Miscellaneous Numbers Cardinal Numbers Numerals With Suffixes Numbers as Words Other Rules for Numbers Social Media and Computer Terms Web Resource: Associated Press Style Web Resources: Additional Sources Bibliography Index Copy-Editing Marks Overcome These Twenty Common Errors