Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Write Right Part Three: Dangerous Dangling Participles

It’s a simple fact: no one likes to be left hanging; this includes the subject, nouns, adjectives, etc. Oftentimes, people make the mistake of replacing the subject altogether by using a dangling participle. By doing this, we often give inordinate action to objects that prove to be very awkward. Consider the following sentence.

Driving down the highway, the buildings jumped out at us.

If you were driving down the highway and buildings were jumping out at you, in addition to a messy pile-up, it’s highly likely that you would not survive to write a sentence about it, LOL. This is called a dangling participle, because the participle is left standing alone without a clear antecedent. defines an antecedent as “a word, phrase, or clause, usually a substantive, that is replaced by a pronoun or other substitute later, or occasionally earlier, in the same or in another, usually subsequent, sentence.” A more appropriate way to phrase the previous example would be as follows:

As we drove down the highway, the buildings appeared to be jumping out at us.

Dangling participles can lead to huge misunderstandings in your writing. It also distracts from the central idea and shifts the focus to vague, insignificant concepts. The last thing you want to do is have the focus shifted away from the message you are trying to convey. Personally, I think that dangling participles become a more pressing problem when people use more compound sentences. Let’s look at another example.

Eating the pizza, the jalapeƱos triggered a fire in my mouth.

Notice in this sentence, the dangling participle modifies the wrong noun. It is unsafe to assume that your readers will be able to bridge your implication with the subject. The optimal thing to do would be to latch the participle onto something so the sentence will make sense. Remember, the goal is to write as clear as possible–avoiding ambiguity at all costs. A more acceptable version of this would read as follows:

The jalapeƱos seemed to trigger a fire in my mouth as I ate the pizza.

Stay tuned as we follow up with another writing tip guaranteed to take your writing to the next level. Remember, our goal is not only to provide you with writing services, but we seek to help as many as possible become great writers. Writing doesn’t have to be viewed as some ominous task that only an elite few are able to do successfully. There is a writer inside of you dying to get out, and we are committed to helping you discover and rescue that writer!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Write Right Part Two: Punctuating with Purpose

If you were to ask any successful writer what their style was, it's probable, they’d be unable to verbalize the exact elements of their style. Effective writing style resembles fashion in the respect that there are many ways to dress nice, but a flawed garment will immediately ruin an entire outfit. This brings us to another writing error we frequently see: the lack or misuse of punctuation. If and when used correctly, punctuation can add a great degree of style to writing, because a variance of punctuation usage will lead to a variation of sentence structure and length. Just as traffic lights and signs are needed to create practical paths of navigation while driving, punctuation is almost required to direct readers through your writing with the least amount of clutter, obstruction, and/or boredom. Let’s pretend for a moment, that a school-teacher was making preparation to submit a statement of purpose to enroll in law school. How do you think his letter of intent would be received if it read as followed?
My name is Bradley Hall. I teach 4th grade. I live in Wilmington, Delaware. I have taught for seven years. I now desire to go to law school. I hope to enroll in the Blue Bonnet University. I have no money for tuition. I offer many great things. I am creative. I am passionate. I am transparent. I am willing to work hard.
Have you died of boredom yet, or are you like any review board, ready to reject this letter of intent with no questions asked? There are no grammatical mistakes here, no spelling errors, no botched homophones; however, there is no life or style in the text. There is nothing that would suggest that Bradley is passionate about this endeavor. Now, let’s take the same sentences and add life to them by simply adding punctuation.
My name is Bradley Hall—a fourth-grade teacher from Wilmington, Delaware. I have taught for seven years, but now I desire to go to law school. I hope to enroll in the Blue Bonnet University; however, I have no money for tuition. I offer many great things such as: creativity, passion, transparency, and a willingness to work hard.
Let’s examine the punctuation added to our simple paragraph to make it more stylistic.
  1. Em Dash: It allows for a break in tone, or in thought.
  2. Comma: In the paragraph above it was used to separate a clause and it was used to list.
  3. Semicolon: It is used to separate two independent clauses. Be careful though, both clauses must be able to stand alone as separate sentences if the semicolon were absent.
  4. Colon: In this case, it was used before a list of ideas or concepts.
In conclusion, there is only one way to master the effective usage of punctuation: PRACTICE. Don’t be afraid to try out various sentence structures in order to improve your writing style. Remember, there IS a writer within you. Again, writing is no ominous task that is set aside for some elite group of people. We are committed to help establish and discover as many writers as possible. If there any questions surrounding the use of punctuation please leave a comment. Also, check back in a few days for Part Three of the Write Right series…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Write Right Part One: Homophonic Homicide

After much prodding from customers, family, and friends, I am running a six-entry blog series dedicated to helping others overhaul bad writing practices. Again, it is our desire to see all professionals and aspiring professionals be transformed into functional writers. Recently, I was asked to pinpoint the most annoying mistake I see while proofing documents for others. Initially, I wanted to focus on the mistakes that I find my pen making the most, but that wouldn’t be in the best interest of my audience. If I could only verbalize how atomic the war against words can get, I could properly illustrate the turmoil that we go through to ensure documents are error-free, polished, and as concise as possible. Having shared that, the first offender of bad writing we will attack is the incorrect usage of homophones.

It has been said, that it takes twenty-one days to break a habit. If that is true, are you willing to do what it takes to eliminate the habit of misusing homophones? First, let us define a homophone. A homophone describes a word that sounds similar to another, but possesses a totally different meaning. Here are a few examples of homophonic errors.

1. Lucy chose the club witch would be the closest to there house.

2. Bobby plans to take his favorite toy plain on the airplane with hem.

3. Before they set out to see, they each had a peace of pie.

I will now give three-fourths of you a moment to ask yourselves, “Is this guy crazy or what;” but you would be surprised how many documents come across my desk with these exact types of preventable errors. I always express to my clients how errors immediately begin to cancel out the author’s credibility. Imagine if you went to have a final will and testament prepared by a lawyer; how offended would you be if the title plastered across the top of the page was “WHEEL AND TESTAMENT”? You would most likely think that this lawyer is not only incompetent, but it would probably prod you to read the entire document with a raised eyebrow and fine toothed comb. I ask you to reference the 15 common homophones below that I typically encounter while editing. I beg you to double-check this list to make sure that these homophones are not murdering your writing style. Perhaps it is necessary that you create a cheat sheet to identify homophones that you accidentally interchange. Remember, it takes consistency and dedication to break bad habits.

1. Affect/Effect
2. Break/Brake
3. Fair/Fare
4. Hair/Heir
5. Have/Half
6. Here/Hear
7. Holy/Wholly
8. Hour/Our
9. It’s/Its
10. Made/Maid
11. Their/There
12. Then/Than
13. Too/To/Two
14. Weather/Whether
15. Your/You're

Monday, October 4, 2010

Proofreading vs. Copy-editing

Often, we get requests to proofread letters, brochures, newsletters, etc. Sadly, most professionals and businesses who proposition us for editorial services are aware of what copy-editing actually is. Copy-editing speaks to the more structural aspect of a document. Proofreading handles spelling errors, simple grammar gaffs, and mistakes that the mind may let pass onto a page. Copy-editing deals more with formatting errors, inconsistencies in typesetting, and other errors that would potentially lead to marginal printing and publication issues. In addition, a copy-editor will also fix passages that lack clarity and/or has confusing dialogue or factual errors. A proofreader can make a document error-free; however, a copy-editor can perfect your document.

While we don't expect our customers to be avid copy-editors, we ensure that we at least introduce our customers to the copy-editing process. Anyone who creates documents, spreadsheets, pamphlets, newsletters, etc, should be able to differentiate between copy-editing and proofreading. Besides being able to pinpoint errors in the text, correct margins, rational fonts, page numbering must be adhered to. Before committing to an editing project, Rasilliant Enterprises offers our customers a one-time complimentary 500-word sample edit. By doing this, customers are able to get a brief taste of our editing process; moreover, this sample gives our customers a chance to look at their document through the veil of a more detailed analysis. So, if you are unsure as to whether your work needs proofread or copy-edited, contact us immediately! We are more than willing to work with you until you possess a functional understanding of both.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Call to Social Proofing

People all over the world are flocking to social networking sites. The web has become one of the hottest mediums for marketing. Businesses are now switching their advertising efforts from TV, radio, and newspapers to Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. While this opens the door for many people to be productive in the privacy and comfort of their own homes, another unwelcomed door is being forced open as well. Documents not only have to pass through a spelling and grammar check, but now they must be socially proofed. This refers to the correction of errors that come from typing as if on the web socially networking. At times, an overuse of acronyms, cut-off words, and abbreviations will creep onto some of my more important writings. Initially, I’m usually embarrassed, but when I consider the hours and days browsing other’s (even writer’s) pages, I see that I’m not alone. It appears the social bug has bitten even some of us wordsmiths. Perhaps someone will pitch an effective proposal to Microsoft to have them implement a social check which replaces “u” with you, “ur” with you are, “gonna” with going to, and just eliminates “LOL” altogether.

At Rasilliant Enterprises our goal goes beyond just your editorial needs, but we seek to help potential writers to hone in on an effective style and voice. One way to tarnish editorial credibility is for your document to host a bunch of avoidable grammar mistakes. Yes, this is an era of heightened social interaction, but let’s not allow the web to destroy the rudiments of correct grammar and style. I’m getting to the point where I toil over every nook and cranny of my Facebook statuses. That’s only because I’m committed to being consistent in style. One thing is for sure—I’ve developed a small audience. The last thing I want to do is ruin my rapport with my audience by dulling down my editorial voice to socially mingle. Twitter is an additional challenge as well. On top of being grammatically correct, you’ve also got to be concise. One Hundred and Forty characters leaves little margin for error and permits an immediate opinion on the presentation of style, grammar, and spelling skills. Tweet with caution, folks! Of course we all love the benefits of these great resources, but remember we’re still professionals who must never negate the importance of making a lasting first impression.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Writers—The Secret Weapon of Corporate America

I’ve often wondered, what has been the formula for my success in Corporate America. As much as it would please me to say my intelligence, that would be a lie. I’m no smarter than the next man—well maybe, a little… Rather, I’ve always recognized that it is my English Degree and my writing skills that set me apart as a stand-out employee. Writers by nature are excellent researchers. Possessing a commitment to evade unverified facts, it is a certainty that most writers have the innate ability to find accurate facts, and quickly. Project management is a given because of the many group projects we thrived on in college. Triaging work, managing workflow, even confronting the stifled go-getter isn’t a problem for us. We have been programmed to meet deadlines and we refuse to stop until a finished product is in our hands. Communication skills are both polished and ready for execution. Why? In our minds, we all house the world’s next best seller in our hard drive. If you want to hear an awesome speech, ask a writer to make a sales pitch of their manuscript-in-progress. After years of addressing target and intended audiences, we specialize in tone—be it formal or informal. We know how to address any audience and will do so with precision, proper content, and at the appropriate time, even humor. We are not only time-efficient, but our work is accurate. This means we will have little trouble meeting and exceeding quality and production standards. Spelling mistakes and grammar botches not only irritate us, they cause our skin to crawl. Want to ensure that your company’s publication is up-to-par? I dare you to unleash an English major as the second set of venomous eyes. Considering we had non-English classes to complete too, we multitasked miraculously in order to finish our non-important classes so we can return to our writing. Juggling many projects and shifting priority work in an instant seems to be a core competency for almost any job today. We too, are marketers. After convincing countless professors that our many writing projects are both feasible and relevant, it’s likely we could pitch the sale of a pastrami sandwich to a vegan! Though oftentimes we are compensated far less than we are worth, English Majors are versatile professionals ready to take on a broad spectrum of work. So if any of you HR managers ever see the attribute of English Major in the educational portion of a resume, know that you’ve found the weapon to your corporation’s success!

An Active Approach to Dismiss the Passive

While in undergrad, writing in passive voice was one of my ongoing struggles. For some reason, I was under the impression that variance was needed in sentence structure in order to display writing skill. Boy, was I clueless. I supposed that after a plethora of red markings and almost paragraphical passages, I began to see that I really had a struggle on my hand. I was only able to overcome passive writing by continuing to write. For those who may be unsure of what I mean by the active/passive voice, it is simply referring the positioning of the subject. A good analogy I used to help cure myself of this problem was "Don't let your subject be passively passed, but make it actively aggressive." Rule of thumb: don't allow your subject to be trampled upon by the verb, but MAKE it do something. With the exception of higher word count and longer sentences their are few benefits of writing in the passive voice, particularly in professionald and/or fiction writing. Consider the examples below.

It was decided upon by Jonathon to put his best foot forward. (passive)
Jonathan decided to put his place foot forward. (active)

Notice in this example that by making Jonathan the star of the sentence, we simply place Jonathan at the beginning of the sentence and allow the capable active verb "decided" to stand on its own.

Two more examples:

This morning, the cars were washed by the girls. (passive)
The girls washed the cars this morning. (active)

The English language will always be treasured by me. (passive)
I will always treasure the English language. (active)

Now, all of this isn't to say that the passive voice usage is not sometimes warranted, because it is. This is just an exercise to reinforce active writing. Exercising your ability to use the active voice makes for clearer ideas and more readable passages. So I implore you to get active in your pursuit to do away with passive phrases.

At Rasilliant Enterprises we are here to help you reach your highest level of clarity in writing and we have a solution to whatever your editorial need may be.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Writer's World by J.R. Scott (c) 2004

Numbers or figures, mean not a thing,
for we measure in lyric, in rhyme, and by dream.
The ability to flow and create all dependent on,
our brain and pen mating—vivid imagery spawned

They say our way is flawed and stagnant.
But I say we're not weird, we're simply pregnant,
with novels, poems, sonnets, and Haiku;
our creative minds breed refuge for you.

Misunderstood are we by most creation.
They down our demeanor and mock our inspiration,
but we press on although we're different from most.
Great dreams we foster; endless potential we host.

To recline and escape the mechanics of this life.
We encircle the subconscious, removing mental strife.
To a place far removed, where work doesn't matter,
they’re in ecstasy, for we've now replaced the clatter.

They read our content, yet they don’t appreciate,
the anguish we endure, all to creatively procreate.
Lyrical material, thorough and empirical,
to feed the vexed mind literary cereal.

So when you see us abroad and we appear aloof,
please know our qualms do not lay with you.
Our minds are probably in Creative Purgatory,
warring with Writer’s Block to salvage our pens’ glory.

To my writers abroad, of whom I speak,
you make the world go 'round and you incubate peace.
You’re colorful generators for all artistic birth…

The complexity of your mind, transforming the earth.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Free to Write

As I reflect back on my 10-year SOLID work history, it reminds me of all the time I longed to have a career where I do nothing but write. I found it extremely difficult to be consistent in my writing when reeling from the backlash of 14-15 hour workdays. I'd be so stressed and spent from work, oftentimes I'd go home and go straight to bed. Ironically, on November 6th, 2009, this dream became a reality for me as I indefinitely parted ways with the corporate sector.

New Chapter, new liberty, new freedom....

So now that I'm "free" to write why is it that I don't write at the pace that I should? There are multi-dimensional explanations for this. (Go Figure) First, it occured to me that I need thorough healing from the effects that corporate America had on me. That monster told me what I was, what I wasn't, what I was worth, what I could not do, and that I was boxed in those limitations, no matter how well I performed on the job--which was QUITE well I might add. To date it's been eight solid months and I'm just now picking up the pace. I think there is a section of Writer's Block that is extremely relevant to the overall character of a writer. There was a serene season of deep-thought and meditation which has fueled the fire of my pen. I spent many, many moments focusing on various aspects of life and this world. My ability to express myself sensually has progressed immeasurably. My perception is keener as well. Also, I feel my ability to touch my audience has even grown stronger. That all being said, I'm officially ready AND free to write!

Take care folks!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Color of Editing

Black Font, Times Roman, Century Gothic, 12-pt...or perhaps 11? So many choices and so little time. So many deadlines with so many unedited lines. Such is the life of a Editor. Why capital E? Because at this time, my Editorship deserves to be addressed formally. That's right, we editors are a race of professionals who are tortured by the misuse of correct punctuation, baffled by misspellings, and we are absolutely appalled at the disregard and/or dismissal of the mechanics of grammar. With all that being said, I saw for the first time, that editorial racism was a issue for me. Have I always harbored these feelings of color preference, or has years of having my nose almost touching the screen, correcting paper after paper finally gotten to me? I've concluded it's a little bit of both; nevertheless, it is with VERY mixed emotions that I announce to my writing community that I cannot edit as well on a white background as I can on a darker background. GASP! There, I finally admitted it... Could this be a step in the negative direction for me visually? My 20/20 vision has never failed me. Now, all of a sudden I go to edit a paper for a colleague and upon the second edit, I realized that I had missed ALL types of errors. Who would've thought that editing possessed a color? Furthermore, who would've thought I, one so quick to embrace diversity would discriminate against the typical white screen and black letters. Michael Jackson said it best: "It's Black or White; shouldn't be a fight" But for me, at this time--it's black! (LOL)

The Pursuit of Being Editorial...

Editorial--how monumental a term could be, that it sets a precedence on the expression of so many different genres. Its importance not only resides in front page news, but it even spans to the not-so-serious topics that give our lives spontaneity and well-roundedness. Sports, Fashion, Entertainment, Dining are all areas where global interest is widespread, but an editorial piece just does something to me as a reader. An editorial magazine cover possesses the capability to seduce the visually curious, but the proper placement of written expressions can also capture the sensuality of a reader--carressing both the mind and soul. An opinion alone is just that, an opinion; however, an opinion complemented by the ability to clearly illustrate a concept or a thought proves to be much more moving and thought provoking. There's even been a time, where my beliefs were brought to the chopping block, all because of a writer's keen ability to suggest things in the most subtle, yet seductive method.

At Rasilliant Enterprises, we pride ourselves on being professional in our research and our presentation of accurate information; however, it cannot be denied that it is our pleasure to delve into editorial topics and issues that are trending, controversial, and hands down enticing. Don't hesitate any further. Pitch your editorial idea to Rasilliant Enterprises and let us season your idea or concept with fresh writing, elaborate vocabulary, and an editorial swag that is CERTAIN to get the attention of readers.

Remember folks, in all of your getting, get EDITORIAL! (LOL)

Friday, April 30, 2010


Come on in and take a seat! Let me extend a warm welcome to all browsers, readers, writers, and everyone else! I would like to pose a question...Is it a monumental thing that we all frequently experience great thoughts, ideas, and want to pursue new ventures? Not really; however, it is huge when you are able to commit that awesome vision onto paper. Once written, a vision begins to take on its own personality and disposition. Perhaps this is why the Bible instructs us to "write the vision." Rasilliant Enterprises is a relatively new writing and communications firm that is committed to helping our customers embark upon their endeavors by providing superior written content.

I think the first thing that would draw literary criticism is the mispelling of the word resilient. The meaning of Rasilliant is parallel to the meaning of resilient, but Ras is the first syllable of my middle name and illian, is the latter part of my late grandmother's name who epitomized resiliency. So there you have it: Rasilliant Enterprises.

Our website which is currently under construction is

We implore you to visit us regularly, as well as the blog to discover the many ways we could be a blessing to your business.

Until the next time, keep on dreamchasing! You're destiny is only close as your willingness to pursue the impossible. :)

Warm Regards,

Mr. Scott