Sometimes I have to laugh at myself!
The other night my husband and I were talking and he said, “there were multiple focuses…”
My inner grammar nerd could not contain herself. (I was so happy.)
“Thanks for saying that! Do you mind if I share something? When I was in grad school ages ago I learned that the plural of focuses is foci (pronounced fō-sī). Now, don’t ever use foci when you’re writing because people will think you’re pretentious… but sometimes it’s fun to be a grammar geek, and I can only say that to you.”
Luckily, he laughed, too, because he knows me well! 🙂
Yes, I have an inner grammar nerd but I tell her to hush when I’m writing because conversational writing is what keeps people reading.
I’ll use the word “focuses” or change it up to say something like “focal points” or “points of focus” in my writing because that’s what most people understand.
That’s why my #1 writing tip is to use your thesaurus often to find a simpler word.
- A word that is more conversational
- A word that explains the meaning clearly
- A word that is easy to understand
Because when people are reading, you don’t want them to have to stop and go, “Huh… what? What does that word mean?” because they’ll often stop reading, and that’s the last thing you want!
Typically, simple writing (not simplistic) helps them to read the next sentence, the next sentence, and then all the sentences.
So, feel free to be technically, grammatically correct when the occasion is right. Just don’t feel like you have to do it when you’re writing! (My apologies to Dr. Myricks, my grad school prof! :-))
To better, easier, clearer communication!