Today we have the second of two batches of mini-tips submitted by Shea Writing and Training Solutions of Houston, whose motto is “Creating clarity out of chaos, one sentence at a time.”
Mini-Tip #1: Majority/Minority
Use the words “majority” or “minority” only when referring to numbers of things, not to size. Think “countable.”
A majority of the students in Mr. Shaffer’s class wanted to go outside on such a nice Spring day.
Mr. Shaffer had poison ivy over the majority of his body. (use “most of” instead)
Mini-Tip #2: Only
The word “only” should go next to the word it modifies. The same rule applies to primarily, largely, principally, mainly, partly, and completely.
The Rig Atoni crew only drilled five wells in March. (only drilled them, didn’t fracture or complete them)
The Rig Atoni crew drilled only five wells in March. (they were supposed to drill ten, but drilled only five)
Mini-Tip #3: Since
The word “since” Implies the passage of time; use “because” when you mean “the reason for.”
Bad Example: She left without her coat since it had warmed up. (use “because”)
Good Example: She left without her coat because it had warmed up since she got to the office. (time)
Rather than writing “subsequent to,” use the single word “after.”
Under way is two words.
Mini-Tip #6: Unique
Unique means without equal. There can be no degrees of uniqueness. Thus, “almost unique,” “totally unique,” “practically unique,” etc., are incorrect.
Right: I am unique.
Wrong: The new MegaDebamadrone is a completely unique product in the marketplace.
Mini-Tip #7: Via
The word “via” means “by way of” in a geographical sense, not “by means of.”
Bad Example: I am going home via car.
Good Example: I am going home via Richmond Avenue.