Saturday, August 11, 2012

There It Is Again!

THIS IS A TEST!  Don't say I didn't warn you. What follows may sound like meaningless chitchat, but don't be fooled. There's a purpose behind it, so soldier on and read to the end. Okay? Okay.

First of all, let me say that I've been very busy lately so I haven't been blogging with the kind of regularity that I'd hoped to achieve. On the other hand, I did call this A Non-blogger's Blog for good reason. By now it's obvious that I'm not a disciplined blogger. I add blogs on a hit-or-miss basis as time allows.
Last week I was away for five days, visiting my family in the Milwaukee area. While I was there, I did a little multi-tasking by donating copies of my novel to several librarians that wanted a copy for separate libraries in three nearby towns.

All right! Enough already! 

At this point, I'm willing to bet you're scratching your head, wondering what point I'm trying to make. Here it is. Lately I've noticed a prevalent, four-letter word creeping into a lot of writing where it doesn't belong. That word is "that"! (Yes, I meant for the last sentence to be ironic.) It often goes unnoticed, much like poison ivy when you pull down your pants in the woods to... Well, never mind; you get the idea.

The word "that" certainly has its place, but it's not to be peppered around willy-nilly. Check out the second paragraph again. This time leave out each "that". Didn't miss a single one of them, did you? Used as they were, each was nothing but a pointless, extra word. It seems they like to crop up everywhere. Did you notice them on your own? Check your writing for those sneaky, little critters and boot them out; they won't be missed. And, like Scrooge McDuck, you'll be pleased to find you even save a little ink.

One last thing. Find "that" in the third paragraph. Something is definitely needed there, but it's not "that". When referring to humans, use "who". It's an easy rule to remember.

"That" definitely serves a purpose, many in fact. My Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary even dedicated a five full inches of space explaining its uses. So, when it's needed, use it. When it isn't, don't. It's easy to tell the difference.

And that, as they say, is that!

Feel free to comment! If you want to target some other overlooked issues, grab a comment box and have at it!