I teach a number of business communication courses, and I always need good examples–or bad examples–of communication run off the rails. Sure, I can make up examples, but it’s better to use real-life examples, particularly if they glow, larger than life, from a Powerpoint.
My local newspaper is a good supplier, as are magazines and carelessly-edited books.
The trick is cutting out the paragraph with the error and taping it to an index card. Yes, I could scan it, but using the back of the index card as a list of possible examples (antecedent, syntax, style issues) gives me a faster way to choose examples for class.
(In the example above, part of the story reads, ” . . . a quail family in east Mesa that was shot and uniquely edited by her granddaughter. . .” On the front of the card, I put the source, date, page, and section of the paper so I know where it came from. When I need it, I scan the newspaper piece and can use it in class.
And easy way to get a collection of good, bad examples.
-–Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches what she knows.