True, goofing is part of learning. And, everybody goofs at some point in time. But, goofing can be embarrassing. If you’ve ever had people laugh at you for committing errors or mistakes, you’ll get what I mean. I have. And I know the feeling can be disheartening.
You may be pardoned for goofing while speaking: you can say it’s slip of tongue, even if it isn’t. But while writing, it’s not easy to escape the language hangman. Reason is: You could write, unwrite and rewrite many drafts before the final draft. Hence, you have to drastically reduce your goofs, especially writing goofs.
How then d’you escape the language hangman while writing? I’ll share with you 3 actionable ways to reduce and eventually eliminate goofs from your writings. Open your eyes, free your minds, note the points as read the next lines.
1. USE THE DICTIONARY
Yes, you read that right. Use the dictionary. Many writers, especially young writers, these days scarcely use the dictionary.
The truth is: The dictionary still remains a vital guide on language use. The following can be verified on the dictionary:
- Spellings and pronunciations
- Denotative and connotative meanings
- Word classes
- Synonyms and antonyms
- Phrasal verbs
- Idioms and proverbs
- Illustrations and examples
So, you’ll agree that the dictionary is crucial in ungoofing your goofs.
Don’t want to carry the hardcopy dictionary? Don’t worry, there are alternatives. On your phones, tablets and computers, there are dictionaries: Oxford, Longman, Cambridge, BBC, English, etc. Even over the net, there are dictionaries. There’s just no excuse not to use the dictionary.
2. BECOME A SELFTIONARY
Mathematically, Self + Dictionary = Selftionary. Linguistically, selftionary is a blend of self and dictionary.
By becoming a selftionary, I mean you should have the dictionary in your flesh, blood and bone. Become a living dictionary, a walking dictionary. When you have the dictionary in you, it becomes very hard, if not impossible, to goof.
At least one word a day. That’s the formula. Look up a new word daily mastering its spelling, pronunciation, word class, meanings, antonyms and synonyms, collocates and contextual examples.
Fine, you could learn more than a word daily. But, make sure you master them all. If you learn them but can’t use them right, you’ve not really learnt them.
When you become a selftionary, you have the mastery and command of more words and expressions. In short, you become armed with more anti-goofers.
3. CONSULT AN EDITOR
You can still goof even though you complement your language mastery with dictionaries. Some mistakes of omission or commission simply escape our meticulous scrutiny. It just happens.
Good news: Running your writing by an editor will save you a lot of headache. You could use either computerised editors like Grammarly or human editors. I’ll advise you use both: computerised first, then human. As it is, computers still can’t outperform humans in non-mechanical creative processes. After an editor operates your writing, you’ll notice modifications in the following:
Remember: From your writing, your personality can be inferred. Whether you’re careless, lazy, nonchalant, sloppy, unambitious or diligent, meticulous, dedicated, careful, neat, your writing can tell.
If you won’t write right, why write at all? Use the dictionary, become a selftionary and consult an editor. With these three steps, you’ll surely write better and goof less.
Over to you: What else d’you do to reduce and eliminate your goofs. Kindly share the post. You’ll be helping someone become goof-proof.
I’m Habeebullahi Basorun, linguist, educator, writer, editor and CEO of Bash Clinic.
With certificates in English and education, I have the expertise and experience to help you meet your language and educational needs.