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Sports writer looking for Grammar help

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Vincent Miracle, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Vincent Miracle

    Vincent Miracle New Member

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  2. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Active Member

    F-ing amazing.

    Find some college or law school textbook on writing that uses examples. Asking a bunch of people to give you a bunch of advise isn't effective or efficient.
  3. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Rule No. 1: "advise" is a verb. "Advice" is a noun. :rolleyes:

    The first thing to do is get an AP style guide and read it cover to cover. That way, you'll know how not to write.

    There are many, many little rules -- in sports and news writing -- that are not followed. Some can be a real pet peeve for "professional" journalists. A few:

    * Always write the final score in the lede of your story.
    * Never write any other score before the final score. "Podunk came back from a 20-point deficit ..." rather than "... a 40-20 deficit ...".
    * Write in past tense. I don't care what anyone else says. (See what I did there?)
    * Never put the losing score first. Ever. Eeeeeeever.
    * Time, date, place. In that order.
    * Never put two nouns back to back ("the game is in Dallas Friday.") Remember time, date, place.
    * "towards" is not a word.
    * Alternate between the town name and the nickname. Try to avoid singularizing the town name and pluralizing the nickname.
    Examples: "Dallas missed its star player... " "The Royals' Mike Moustakas ..."
    * Team names are plural, I don't give a damn if they end in "s." "The Magic are ..." "The Thunder are ..."
    * There is no mound in softball.
    * When using stats, if it's a noun, no hyphens. If it's an adjective, use hyphens. "Smith went 3 for 4 ..." "Smith was 3-of-4 shooting ..."
    * Omit redundant words. Keep your stories clutter free. "Smith finished with six strikeouts in five innings pitched."
    * "... Smith said." Not "... said Smith." Nobody talks like that.
    * Do not ever, eeeeeeeeever use the passive tense with "would." I will hunt you down and choke you. "Smith would finish with 20 points..." No, mothertrucker, he DID finish with 20 points.

    There are about a million more, but that's a start.
    RLindz, fossywriter8, Liut and 6 others like this.
  4. Vincent Miracle

    Vincent Miracle New Member

    Thank you so much for responding. This was actually very helpful.

    HandsomeHarley likes this.
  5. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Agree on the rest, for the most part, and agree with this as well in my paper's case, but this is an individual paper style, for the most part. Check with your editors on what the style is. AP says all nicknames are plural, but one of the local papers treats Magic/Jazz/etc as singular.
    Probably the most critical on your list for a young writer is to avoid putting ANY score before the final score. ALWAYS. And the final score needs to be in the first few grafs. Chances are, you'll be writing something fairly short and to the point, so skip the flowery/convoluted lead and just tell us what happened.
  6. Sports Guy

    Sports Guy Member

    Harley, You're well on your way to putting together an informative and humorous style guide for sports writers. Enjoyed your insight.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
    HandsomeHarley likes this.
  7. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I'm OCD ... what can I say?

    I have a writer at the college we cover. Bless his heart, because he saves me so much time not having to cover their sports, but my God Almighty, he can't write to save his life.

    Actually, I'm in the process of redesigning our entire paper for the second time in about six years. And no, I'm not getting paid for it. No, I haven't even had a raise in the eight years I've been here.

    Please, puuuuullllleeeeeezzzzzzzeeeee get me out of here!
    Sports Guy likes this.
  8. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Here's an interesting one that didn't make sense until I began designing the Records page.

    If it is an address, all of the adjectives are abbreviated. If it is a hundred-block, they are spelled out.

    "The shooting happened at 1200 E. Maple St., on the east side of Podunk. The abandoned vehicle was found in the 2300 block of West Spruce Street."

    And another, along the same vein:

    A vehicle cannot collide with a house. For a collision to occur, both objects must be moving.

    "A silver Toyota struck a mailbox..."
  9. cjericho

    cjericho Well-Known Member

    Don't say "Should have went" unless you are a buffoon like Joe Benigno.
  10. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    One more and I promise I'll slowly back away from the keyboard.

    There are many words (containing prepositions, actually) that are one word when used as nouns and two words (or hyphenated) when used as verbs.

    I have a list at the office I'm working on (I'm not kidding), but here are a few off the top of my head:

    touchdown (n), touch down (v)
    kickoff (n), kick off (v)
    kickout (n), kick out (v)
    spinout (n), spin out (v)
    markdown (n), mark down (v)

    You get the picture.
  11. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

  12. cjericho

    cjericho Well-Known Member

    And shutout (n) shut out (v)
    also unless you wanna be a talk radio host bro, do not say "Should have took"
    HandsomeHarley likes this.
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