Two sentences have caught my eye recently.  Firstly, this:

Calculators from the approved list are only permitted in the exam room.

As it is said:  I do not think it means what you think it means.  I’m particularly impressed by the way that the emphasis makes the whole sentence just that little bit more wrong.

And secondly this:

This advice must be taken.

If it must be taken, is it advice?  Or is it an instruction?

Choosing the correct word or phrase to convey what you mean is an important part of writing – not just fiction, but in general.  The two examples were taken from documents that had been written by supposedly educated professionals, and checked several times.  I take two lessons from this.

1) Proofreading is important.

2) Even if you do proofread, you won’t catch every mistake.

 

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