1. Overuse of “however”
Example: The football team received new jerseys this season. However, they received new jerseys the past two seasons as well.
Why it’s wrong: Young writers seem to think their writing is not sophisticated enough unless they use however multiple times throughout their work. However, especially at the beginning of a sentence, can often be removed without altering the meaning, and when used in the middle of the sentence should often be replaced with a simpler word, like but or yet.
Easy fix: The football team received new jerseys this season but they received new jerseys the past two season as well.
2. Name checking ourselves
Example: Wootton received roughly $31,000 last year for athletics
Why it’s wrong: Everything in our publications is about our school. Unless it is essential to provide clarity, there is no need to say our own school’s name. We all know where we are.
Easy fix: The school received roughly $31,000 last year for athletics.
Example: Funding is a great factor in deciding who gets new uniforms.
Why it’s wrong: Young writers seem to find it impossible to be impartial. They are want offer their insight on whatever they are writing about. News journalism is no place for opinion.
Easy fix: Funding is one of the factors used in deciding who gets new uniforms.
4. Starting sentences with It is/There are/This is
Example: This is not the first time MCPS has come under fire for scheduling school activities during religious holidays.
Why it’s wrong: “It” and other similar words hide the true meaning of your sentence and take away its power. Put the subject first. Also, sentences starting with “it” usually continue with a “to be” verb when a stronger, more active verb is always preferable.
Easy fix: MCPS has come under fire before for scheduling school activities during religious holidays.
Example: Many students feel that as a community, there is more that can be done to protect each other.
Why it’s wrong: Using many is simply lazy. It allows the writer to generalize their article without doing to real thinking about WHO they are talking about.
Easy fix: Students who are scared by this event feel that as a community, there is more that can be done to protect each other.