By Ron Cooper
The Word Doctor
Yogi Berra is as much a national treasure for his verbal gaffes as he is for his storied baseball career.
“We made too many wrong mistakes,” the great Yankees catcher said in his trademark fashion. Another time he mused, “You can observe a lot by just watching.”
I love Yogi for his slips of the tongue. Writers can learn a good deal from him in their quest to be clear and correct and to avoid repetition.
“He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious,” Yogi said. Naturally, he meant “ambidextrous” or, in baseball lingo, “switch-hitter.”
Like Yogi, do you use the wrong word? When writing, carefully check everything before hitting the “send” button. Do you mean “its” instead of “it’s” or “they’re” in place of “their?”
Or you might be repetitious, as Yogi was in saying, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” The best way to avoid repetition is to revise your writing as if you were a plastic surgeon. Nip here, tuck there, until you have it letter-perfect!
Is your writing unclear? Yogi sure was when he remarked, “I never said most of the things I said.” Clarity comes with a solid outline coupled with enough revisions to fill a wastebasket.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else,” Yogi said.
That’s excellent advice for writers, especially when the words don’t fall into place easily. But a clear course combined with efficient organization spells success for writers.
Remember what Yogi said: “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.”
Just be sure to choose wisely!