Okay try and read my mind. Why did the following headline aggravate me? Fathers’ Day is Fast Approaching.
Now decide how many changes you would make to improve all three sentences above.
1. We need a comma after the introductory word “Okay.”
2. Watch out for the common error “try and.” That should be “try to.”
3. The only improvement to be made in the middle sentence involves a fine point. A secondary definition of “aggravate” is “annoy” or “perturb,” but the primary definition is “make something worse,” and that’s not the case here. I wasn’t already bothered.
4. The holiday is called “Father’s Day.” Yes, we are celebrating fatherhood in general, but the holiday’s thrust is to each think of his or her own father.
5. Remember that in headlines all key words – nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs – get initial caps even if they are short. (You can set your own style on length and decide that all words of at least four letters – or five letters – get an initial cap regardless of their function.)
6. If you changed “fast” to “quickly,” fine, but you didn’t need to. “Fast” is an adjective and an adverb.
So we wind up with this: “Okay, try to read my mind. Why did the following headline annoy me? Father’s Day Is Fast Approaching.
But that makes no sense! Now the headline is correct. Apparently, all’s right with the world.
You can go to http://www.normfriedman.com/index.shtml to learn more about my workshops on writing in the workplace, individual coaching, editing, and handbook – 100+ Instant Writing Tips. Thank you.