Tethers: Literary and Otherwise – How to Sculpt Your Words

This post focuses on the Word Sculpting tool, tethers, found in Chapter 7 (Tethers: Literary and Otherwise) of Write to Influence!

As the Riddler might say to Batman, “Riddle me this …” What is wrong with the three sentences and how would you repair them?

Before:

She reviewed comments, suggestions, and a proposed publication date of the annual report.

Analysis:

This is an example of a broken tether, meaning one or more items tethered to a base. In this case, the tethers are comments, suggestions, and a proposed publication of date of. The base is the annual report. Test the tethers. Does comments … the annual report work? No. How about, suggestions … the annual report? No. Finally, is this a functional tether … proposed publication of the annual report? Yes! The problem lies with the preposition connecting the tethers to the base – or lack thereof. Here is how we repair this sentence … tethers are bolded and the base is underlined.

After:

She reviewed comments on, suggestions for, and a proposed publication date of the annual report.

 

Before:

Ensure students are aware and adhere to attendance policies.

Analysis:

This is another broken tether. The tethers are aware and adhere to. The base is attendance policies. Test the first tether. Does aware attendance policies work? No. How about … adhere to attendance policies? Yes. Again, the problem lies with the prepositions. We repair by adding one to the first tether.

After:

Ensure the students are aware of and adhere to attendance policies.

 

Before:

Personal information may not reside or be transmitted over the corporate IT network.

Analysis:

This is the third and final of today’s Test Your Skills, featuring broken tethers. We have two tethers here: reside and be transmitted over. The base is the corporate IT network. Test the tethers. Is this functional —   residethe corporate IT network? No. How about, be transmitted over the corporate IT network? Yes. We again repair by adding a preposition to the first tether, as seen below.

After:

Personal information may not reside in or be transmitted over the corporate IT network.

How did you do? Learn more about how to make your words more powerful with Write to Influence.


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