Writing Analyses: Common Writing Errors

Writing Analyses: Common Writing Errors

After about a month and a half of GP checking, I've noticed a few widespread problems in the analyses that I've read. I've compiled them and written a short piece on why they're a problem and how they can be corrected. Enjoy, and I hope this helps all the future writers!

1. Repetitiveness

This is one of the simplest problems, both to find and to fix. The idea is that using an unnecessary amount of words will really slow down reading, especially if it is the same word. This happens a lot with Pokemon names:
Beautifly has a few other options. Beautifly has support options such as…
The second use of "Beautifly" is completely unnecessary. It's ugly, but easily fixed. Several solutions are always readily available, such as merging the two sentences or using a pronoun.

2. Concision

The issue with concision is similar to the issue with repetitiveness. Simply put, unnecessary wordiness makes it hard to concentrate on the subject at hand and also takes longer to read. Using multiple sentences where one is sufficient (see Repetitiveness) and being unnecessarily wordy are both problems with concision. How can wordiness be cut down? Combining sentences, deleting unnecessary words, and using shorter expressions are all effective ways to do so. One seemingly universal issue on Smogon is the use of "the crux of the set." Not only is it completely wordy, it is often redundant as well. For example, the Calm Mind Duosion set states:
Calm Mind is the crux of the set, as it enables Duosion to boost its already stellar Special Attack alongside its mediocre Special Defense.
As the set is literally called "Calm Mind", it should be no surprise that Calm Mind is the most important move of the set. The sentence can be shortened to: "Calm Mind enables Duosion to boost its already stellar Special Attack alongside its mediocre Special Defense." Small improvements like this really do improve the quality of the analysis.

3. Subject-Verb Agreement

This is simple enough. If the subject is a singular subject, use the singular form of the verb. If the subject is a plural subject, use the plural form of the verb. For example: He has Pokemon X. They have Pokemon Y. It's easily noticeable, but very simple to fix.

4. Clarity

This is a big issue. Weak sentence structure can muddle the intended meaning of the sentence. For example:
Pokemon that struggle with bulky Water-types such as Excadrill, Landorus, and Garchomp enjoy being paired with Zapdos, as it has no trouble dealing large damage to Water-types with its STAB-boosted Thunderbolt. In return,they canhandle the Rock-types that pose a problem for Zapdoswith their Ground-type STAB.
In the way that it is written, it sounds as if Rock-types pose a threat to Zapdos with their Ground-type STAB, which is obviously not true. The use of "their" combined with the placement of the word in this situation is just too vague. To make the sentence flow and make sense logically, it should be changed to: "In return, their Ground-type STAB allows the aforementioned Pokemon to handle the Rock-types that pose a problem for Zapdos." With this rephrasing, it becomes clear that it is the Pokemon such as Excadrill, Landorus, and Garchomp that are threatening Rock-types with their Ground-type STABs.

5. Commas

To be fair, commas are not misused very badly; the main issue is that people too many. While there are not many real grammatical issues with it, using too many commas does have its issues. Using too many commas slows reading and often makes the sentence awkwardly clunky. What exactly do I mean by this? Well, take the following sentence:
This set functions to set up Stealth Rock quickly, and then hit with a powerful attack.
There's nothing wrong with this, but it doesn't flow well. By removing the comma, the entire sentence becomes much easier to read.

And of course, don't forget the Oxford (serial) comma. It happens all the time, with people making lists of Pokemon and not adding that final comma.

6. Spacing

This is very Smogon-specific. It seems like the spacing between the heading tags ([Overview], [SET], [SET COMMENTS], etc.) tends to be a little arbitrary. To clear this up, I've written it out: the paragraphs following each tag should have a line break between the preceding and trailing tags. For example, it should be: [SET COMMENTS](line break)blah blah blah(line break)[ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]. The only exception to this is between the [SET] tag and the set itself; there's no space there.

Of course, there's still more. These are simply the problems that stand out the most, all of which are very simple to fix. Many other issues can be fixed by familiarizing yourself with Smogon's Spelling and Grammar Standards.

And finally, nobody is perfect. That's why we have a Grammar and Prose team, to catch the problems that you don't. However, a little attention towards detail can go a long way in becoming a better writer, as well as making our lives just a little bit easier.

*If people have other common issues to contribute, please do!

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