Words are like sheep

Are your words behaving like sheep?

Organising a group of words can be like trying to control a flock of sheep. One minute they’re all heading the same way; then some lag behind, get the wrong way round and cause chaos. They are usually trying to follow an older, larger ewe who knows exactly where she is going but she doesn’t bother to check that the rest of the flock is following in the right sequence. Some of the flock stumble over stones or tree roots and get into the wrong tense while others argue and refuse to agree with the nouns or verbs coming behind them.

When you read them on screen or print them out they seem to be OK but are they really?

You don’t have time to start again so, fingers crossed that it all makes sense, you press send.

You read the copy over again (why didn’t you do that before?) and you realise that you’ve made an embarrassing error. But the whole flock is already on its way to the client.

What you need is a good shepherd who understands your flock of words. Someone who can quickly assess them and see which ones are getting out of order. Which adjectives are trying to pretend they are adverbs and which nouns are trying to turn themselves into verbs?

You need to get in there quickly and sort them out or they will fail in their efforts to be either words or sheep!

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