Upwork’s New Connects Policy: Is the Platform Dead?

Upwork's new connect policy: Is the platform dead?

On April 2nd, 2019 Upwork released their new connects policy, and people are fired up.

If you follow any freelancer who uses the platform, chances are you’ve seen varying degrees of ranting and apocalypse crying. People are furious. Upwork’s tweet on the new policy has received over 200 comments, most of them negative.

But what’s going on exactly? Is the world’s largest freelancing site in a death spiral? Read on to find out.

What is the new connects policy?

Previously, freelancers could sign up for free to get 60 connects a month to use in bidding on jobs. Each job proposal costs you two connects, so you essentially got 30 free bids a month.

There was the option to sign up for a Freelancer Plus or Agency account which offered more connects a month, the ability to roll over connects from month-to-month, and purchase more connects as needed for a monthly fee.

All of those changes come May. There is no longer any free option for freelancers. Connects cost $0.15 per connect to purchase for anyone.

Also, projects with higher budgets now cost more connects (up to 6) while low budget jobs cost as low as one connect. Plus accounts still receive their monthly connects, but the price has increased to accommodate the new price per connect.  

Why are people so mad?

There are many reasons why people are upset about this. Based on my research into tweets and posts about this topic, I’ve boiled it down into these reasons:

  • There is now a paywall for even using the platform
  • The cost of paid accounts has increased and Upwork already charges a service fee on top of this
  • Higher budget jobs will cost more connects, making some people believe it will cost more to land high-paying jobs
  • Upwork’s responses to questions have been stock, company-approved answers
  • People don’t feel heard (Upwork hosted a town hall on May 4th to address this concern)
  • Users feel blindsided

Why did Upwork change their policy?

I can’t really speak to “why” Upwork decided to do this. I don’t work for the company, but I can give the reasons they discussed with the change.

They cite two main reasons for changing the policy:

  1. Freelancers are having a hard time being seen amidst the sea of proposals
  2. Clients are having a hard time finding the right freelancer for the same reason.

With Upwork’s new connects policy, it’s supposed to make freelancers think twice about the jobs they apply for. Theoretically, freelancers should now feel pressure to bid on jobs that match them most closely.

If freelancers are pickier about the jobs they bid on, then the amount of freelancers clients sort through will be less, but they’ll be of higher quality. A win-win on both sides may be the result.

Pros and cons of the new connects polict

So, is Upwork dead?

No.

Upwork isn’t likely to be facing any major troubles anytime soon. The platform has too many clients and freelancers to be in trouble.

Upwork is going to go through a metamorphosis, though. This change is going to cause some freelancers to leave the platform, but those who stay are more likely to be of higher-quality and experienced.

If you look at other sites that function similarly to Upwork, most of them charge as much or way more for the same connection but with less freelancer protection.

As a content writing freelancer, I am hesitantly optimistic. No longer am I going to have to compete with people who do the job for dirt cheap.

Is Upwork going to change? Yup. Is change scary? Yup.

But change can be good, once we figure out what its effects will be.

Let me know what you think by tweeting @zachvdg or commenting below. If you think, I’m dead wrong or right on, I want to hear it.

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Content Writing: Just What the Heck is it?

Content Writing: Just What the Heck is it?

Whether you’re a freelancer or newbie to the marketing field, you may have heard the term content writing. But what is it, exactly?

There are a lot of jobs out there on for content writing on sites like Upwork and other job boards. Reading from the context of the job postings you may come up with any number of ideas about what content writing involves.

Let me clear it up for you:

Content writing is the job of writing educational but engaging content as part of a marketing strategy for some sort of service. It typically takes the form of how-to articles, reviews, and lists.

This is the short answer and there is a lot more involved. Read on for more details about content writing.

Content writing is part of content marketing

Content Writing as Part of a Greater Strategy

Content writing is only a piece of a good marketing strategy. When a company or person has a service to sell, their first goals should be to build awareness and trust.

Content writing is a key feature of these steps. When you write and publish content, the information gets spread (hopefully by sharing when people appreciate your work) and awareness of your service grows.

By offering valuable information on topics related to your service, the reader begins to trust you. When the reader trusts you, they are much more likely to buy your services.

Warning! Content writing is not selling. It can involve a call to action, but the key is to provide value and build a relationship. Only after you’ve done this should you press for the sale through other means.

Enough theoretical, here’s an example:

A new company that makes kitchen appliances such as toasters is looking to break into the market. They hire a freelance content writer to write articles on things like:

  • What to look for in a toaster
  • How to buy the right toaster
  • Extra toaster features
  • Top 5 Toasters for Big Family Breakfast Time

As people read these articles to have their questions answered, they are learning to trust this company. Now, they are informed and are more likely to buy from this company because of that connection.

Content writing does what Forbes says you must do in sales: build trust by putting clients first.  

How-to articles, product reviews, lists, and blog posts are content writing examples.

Examples of Content Writing

Content writing takes many forms. The key to content writing is that it provides value in itself. Your content is giving something to the customer.

Look at these most common forms of content writing.

How-to Articles – The how-to article is the staple of the content writing genre. By explaining with engaging and clear information on how to do something, you’re establishing yourself as an expert and building trust with the reader.

Example: How to pick the right toaster

Product Reviews – Doing impartial reviews of products hits three main marketing ideas.

  1. Provide information and value to the reader
  2. Raises awareness of the topics/product
  3. Builds trust because they see you critiquing honestly (even though it may go against you).

Example: Circon 30XY Toaster Review

Lists – This is a very popular type of content. It can often be combined with a how-to or product review. People tend to like how the information is split into easy-to-consume bites of information, and the headlines are eye-catching.

Example: Top 5 Toasters for Big Family Breakfast, 4 Things You Need in a Toaster

There are many more types of content writing, but these are three of the main ones.

Conclusion

Content writing doesn’t have to be confusing. Just remember, its goal is to raise awareness, provide value, and build trust.

Content writing doesn’t look to close sales (that’s copywriting), and a lot of people are often confused by that. It can be professional or casual (like my blog post on how a garbage disposal taught me some writing lessons).

If you’d more examples of what content writing can look like, head over to my Upwork profile to see what I’ve been working on.

OBJECTIVE STATEMENTS ON TRIAL: DO THEY MURDER YOUR RESUME?

Objective statements: Do They Murder Your Resume?

Right after looking at your name and contact information, what’s the next thing the employer looks at on your resume? Chances are, if you’ve gone through traditional schooling, they see the objective statement.

But is this statement killing your chances of getting the job?

When I was in college, towards the end of my education training, I sat in a professional development session on job hunting. The super exciting six-hour meeting (disclaimer: sarcasm) covered topics like:

  • Finding jobs
  • Printing off your resume and cover letter
  • Dressing for an interview
  • Answering common interview questions
  • Asking questions at the end of the interview
  • How to write a resume

Sound pretty thorough, right? The problem with the session was that only 20 minutes of the six hours was spent on resumes. The crash course on resumes covered some important basics such as basic formatting, where to place the contact information, and making sure to get a professional email.

But there was nothing on active voice, making your employment shine, quantifying your accomplishments, or any of the proven effective ways to write a resume. However, one thing they harped on over and over was the objective statement.

A quick search gives you dozens of resources for writing a good objective statement, but you may notice some articles claiming the objective statement isn’t even viable in today’s job market. It raises the question: Do we even need this? What should we put in its place?

Today, we’re putting the objective statement on trial. Read on to hear both sides and my verdict. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.  

WHAT IS AN OBJECTIVE STATEMENT?

An objective or career statement is often the first thing on your resume below your name and contact information. The goal of the statement is to let the reader know what kind of job you’re looking to apply for and why you’re qualified for that job.

Resume objectives should be clear, short, and tailored to the position. The statement should put your best foot forward and address the most important things you want the hiring manager to know.

Check out these examples:

I am an organized and passionate elementary education graduate seeking a full-time position with Joann Public Schools where I can apply my training in cooperative learning and scaffolding to optimize student learning growth.

 

Engaging and creative copywriter with ten years of experience developing marketing content for fashion companies seeking to apply skills to a new market with Good Buildings Incorporated.

Objective Statements: Do they murder your resume?

THE DEFENSE OF OBJECTIVE STATEMENTS

If written well, some experts say the resume can convince the employer that you are the one that is a perfect fit for the job. The ability to call out the specific job and address the needs of the position make it more impactful than generic alternatives.

Objective statements clearly connect your skills to the job being applied for. The Muse suggests that if you’re making a huge career change the statement can fill in the questions for employers who may be wondering why a former bear wrangler is looking to work at Starbucks.

THE PROSECUTION OF OBJECTIVE STATEMENTS

It’s easy to say that objectives statements can do all these great things, but there are some major arguments against objective statements. Will these be enough to knock the objective statement off its pedestal?

Objective statements are often written poorly, and—even when done well—they commonly use personal pronouns, take the focus away from the job, and put it on you. This may not seem like a big deal, but the hiring process isn’t about how awesome you are; it’s about how you and the position match.

Objective statements have been around since the invention of the resume. Because of this, it’s hard to get away from all objective statements sounding similar. When a hiring manager is looking at literally hundreds of resumes, you don’t want to blend in.

Often, these statements aren’t actually saying anything. Chances are, you applied for the job online, so the employer doesn’t need you to tell them again that you’re applying for the position. You already checked that box on the online application.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

For objective statements:

  • Best for specific jobs
  • Connect skills to positions
  • Highlights your accomplishments
  • May cover for early career, major career changes, and location changes
  • Not generic

Against objective statements:  

  • Too vague
  • Too common
  • Focused on yourself
  • Often done poorly
  • Doesn’t add anything to your resume

THE VERDICT

DON’T DO IT! They are outdated and don’t add anything. You are better off showcasing your best qualifications and accomplishments with an eye-catching profile summary.

BUT if you are someone who needs to explain a question in your resume, an objective statement may be for you. People who are newly graduated with limited experience, have switched from one career to another, or have unexplained gaps in employment can benefit from the direct nature of the objective statement.

Buff up on your resume knowledge and decide for yourself. If you do decide to go with an objective statement, make sure you do it well or fall into obscurity.

WRITING LESSONS LEARNED FROM FIXING MY GARBAGE DISPOSAL

Blog Writing Lessons

Life is full of lessons to learn if only you know when to look. When my garbage disposal stopped working, I was not looking for lessons, but they came to me anyway. Between the curses and cut fingers, I realized there were deeper skills I was using to repair the pungent sink. Learn from my experience and gather tips on improving your  blog writing.

DON’T RELY ONLY ON WHAT YOU KNOW

My wife flipped the switch back and forth, but nothing came from the sink except a dull, mechanical hum. She turned to me, and I knew what was coming.

“Well, it’s broken,” she said while looking expectantly at me, “Get to it.”

So with a grumble and an eye roll, I began. First, I checked that no silverware or anything like that was stuck inside. Then, I unplugged the disposal from below the sink and plugged it back in.

Next, I shone a flashlight down the drain and inspected the disposal from above while poking skeptically with the back of a wooden spoon.

Soon, I declared the disposal dead.

But here’s the thing, I am not a mechanic. I am not an electrician. I’m not a handyman by any stretch of the definition.

Why in the world would I think that I knew enough to give it up for broken?

Writing is much the same way. No matter how much you know, there is still a lot out there you haven’t learned yet. Don’t assume that because you know a little, you know a lot. And if you come across a roadblock as I did, don’t settle.

Push yourself beyond what you know.

RESEARCH IS A BLOG’S BEST FRIEND

Research is a blog's best friend

Naturally, my wife was less than pleased with my declaration of death. She didn’t want to pay for a new one, and I certainly didn’t want to install it. Wondering what to do next, it finally occurred to me to do some research.

I looked up some disposal troubleshooting sites (this one was helpful if you find yourself in the same situation) and tried out some of their suggestions. Did you know there is a reset button on the bottom of most disposals? I didn’t, but that’s what research is for.

As a writer, I knew—intellectually—that research was important. But this experience hit home how much of the world is out there that I didn’t know.

I never would have thought of these different things if it weren’t for researching the answers. Your writing will be of lower quality if you don’t research. You’ll be staring down the drain without a clue of how you’re doing.

BE ORGANIZED WITH YOUR MATERIALS

The simple steps suggested by the troubleshooting guides and manuals weren’t working, so I looked to the more complicated ones. Apparently, there is a hex bolt underneath that when turned back and forth will clear any jams and solve potential problems. This step couldn’t be any easier, or so I thought.

All I needed was the appropriate tool to turn it back and forth. With confidence, I went into my garage and searched for the tool.

Then I searched the junk drawer in the kitchen. And the tool bag in my car. And my two-year-old’s room.

I couldn’t find the blasted thing! I tried using wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, my bare hands, and a knife—thus the cuts—with no luck.

If only I had been more organized, I would have found the tool in minutes, fixed the thing, and been on my way. As a writer, it’s equally important to organize our materials and notes.

When you can find the tool you’re looking for quickly, the job gets done effectively and with minimal bleeding. I recommend these 5 Realistic Organization Tips from a Notoriously Disorganized Person.

TRUST THE BLOGGING EXPERTS

Eventually, I got the bolt to shift and tested the disposal out. Still, nothing but humming came from the cursed sink. Fortunately, my children were not in the room, or my language would have landed me on the couch that night.

At this point, I gave in and did what I should’ve done in the first place: I looked it up on Youtube. From there, I found a way to break the jammed disposal free using a skinny broom handle. I eyed my wooden spoon with new fervor as I descended upon the slimy drain.

Even with research, I couldn’t find out what was wrong, so I turned to an expert. Writing can be the same.

There are thousands of people out there who have been where you are. Find advice from those who know more than you. I recommend anything by Elna Cain.

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, JUST BANG IT OUT!

Blog Writing Lessons- Bang it out!

My spoon handle didn’t seem to be working, but I felt like I was on to something. In the video, the whole bottom part in the sink was supposed to spin freely. I rewatched the video again and again. Finally, I had had enough.

With a grunt, I took the spoon and started to—firmly, but gently— bang on the edges in a circular direction. With a completely unsatisfying click, the disposal spun freely.

Barely able to contain my excitement, I flipped the switch and was greeted with the sweet sound of metal shredding day-old mushroom and shrimp leftovers. My wife had never been so proud.

When it comes down to it, no project will ever get done unless you just sit down and do it. Research, organization, and experts will all be helpful, but you are the one that needs get it done. So don’t just sit there reading, go write some blogs!

If you enjoy amusing stories, advice, and puns about writing make sure to follow me on Twitter @zachvdg or sign up for my newsletter and get 15 Funny Comma Jokes to Tickle Your Funny Bone.

If you want me to bring these skills to help you with your writing project, contact me for a quote!

 

4 Tips for Making Your Employment Shine on a Resume

4 Tips for Making Your Employment Shine on a Resume (1)

Your employment history is one of the best places to make employers pay attention to you. But, if you’re not careful, this can also be one of the factors that convince readers to toss it in the trash.

Whether your employment history is in the potential job’s field or not, the description of your duties can make or break your chances of getting the interview, or even the job! These four tips will help you make the employment section of your resume get you an interview.

1. Set off the employer and position

It’s a well-known fact that, on average, employers look at resumes for only six seconds! How, then, can we get across what we need to in such a short period of time?

Employment history is one of the things readers look for. It can convey your background, skills, and accomplishments all in one section.

For this reason, it needs to stand out. Your position and employer titles must be eye-catching. Whichever you list first should be in bold and two font sizes larger. The other one should be smaller but still in bold or italics and include the time period worked such as this:

Big Time Company

Senior Marketing Editor, August 2016-Present

Which should you put first? If the company you worked for is well-known for its success, put the employer first. If the position itself is the draw, then put that first.

Always list the month and year when putting your time period worked at a job. Putting the year only makes it look like you’re trying to hide a gap in employment.

Remember, whatever you want the employer to see first needs to stand out.

2. Bullet points win the resume game

During the six-second scan, employers won’t have time to look into sentences and paragraphs of information on your job’s duties and projects. One of the worst things you can do is to hide your hard work where no one will ever find it.

Enter bullet points.

Information shoots out and catches the employer with clear, descriptive content. You’ve now forced them to look at key pieces of your personal brand.

Try this exercise: look at these two examples of duty descriptions for two seconds each. Then, look away and try to write down what that person can do.

Example 1

As part of this job, I was responsible for overseeing 15 other marketing specialists. We worked on projects helping clients increase their ad conversion rate by up to 50%. I mentored junior marketing assistants and presented workshops on current advertising principles.

Example 2

  • Oversaw 15 marketing specialists
  • Increased clients’ ad conversion by up to 50%
  • Mentored junior marketing assistants
  • Presented workshops on current advertising principles

Hopefully, from this example, you can see how important being efficient and punchy is. Using bullet points will help your duties and accomplishments be found more easily.

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3. Keyword, keywords, keywords

Keyword research is not just for the SEO nerds anymore. 66% of large businesses and 35% of small businesses use applicant tracking systems, or ATS.

These systems use automatic ranking and keyword searches to help employers sort through hundreds and thousands of resumes. Because of this “helpful” service, many resumes won’t even get looked at by employers.

But there is a way you can work around this. Adapt your resume’s language to fit the industry and job description by changing your skills and language to match wherever possible.

Look at these three places for ways to add keywords:

  1. Job description/posting
  2. Company mission statement and other website information
  3. Buzz words in that industry

For example, if you notice that the posting is looking for someone familiar with digital marketing and you have that skill, you must use that exact phrase in your employment description. Better yet, move your bullets around, so it’s at the top!

Warning! Never lie on your resume just to put a keyword in. Make your experience match the job as much as possible, but if you lie, that company will be closed to you forever.

4. Power up your resume with action verbs

Take a quick look at these employment history examples:

Example 1

McKay Public Schools

First Grade Classroom Teacher, August 2011-Present

  • I taught classes of 20-25 students in reading, math, science, and social studies.
  • I was in charge of researching and implementing the new Reach for the Stars reading curriculum and trained the staff on the program.
  • As part of the Character Comittee, I started our monthly Citizen Social for parents and students to emphasize good character in schools. This resulted in a 15% decrease in behavior referrals to regular attendees.
  • My students’ test scores on the NWEA went up consistently over the years with an average growth achievement rate of 92% of my students.

Example 2

McKay Public Schools

First Grade Classroom Teacher, August 2011-Present

  • Taught classes of 20+ students reading, match, science, and social studies
  • Research, implemented, and trained staff on the Reach for the Stars reading curriculum
  • Founded monthly Character Socials—monthly meetings for parents and students emphasizing good character—which resulted in a 15% decrease in behavior referrals
  • Generated a 92% average student growth rate on my students’ NWEA test scores

Which one seemed more clear? Which one seemed more compelling? Most employers and research on resume writing will prefer the second example.

What was the difference?

Well, whether you figured the answer out on your own or you are a genius detective and looked at the subheading, the difference is in the verbs!

Action verbs will catch the eyes of the employer and sell yourself as a worker who gets things done. Beginning each bullet point with a compelling action verb will hit your reader with the most important facts and skills you can offer.

Remember, your resume is limited by time!

Following these tips will not guarantee you the job, but it will make your employment shine with maximum power.

Employment history can be your powerful tool in a resume, but it’s often left as wordy and hard to read. In the six seconds the hiring manager looks at your resume, they won’t have time to peer into your sentences.

It’s up to you to bring the information to them.

But the employment history in a resume is only one piece. You need all of your resume to stand out.

If you’d like to make your entire resume stand out like your employment history will, contact me for resume writing services.

Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get blog updates and potential freebies on how to sell your personal brand to employers.

3 Writer Exercises on Sentence Length Variety

3 Writer Exercises on Sentence Length Variety

Sentences can be short.

Many sentences are of medium length, and these are preferred by readers and writers.

A smaller number of sentences—such as this one—tend to be longer and are, in some cases, considered too “wordy” to be effective because, by the time a reader made it through the statement, they most likely forgot what the purpose of the clause or clauses were.

Writers of all types can benefit from using a variety of sentence lengths, and proofreaders and editors need to be aware of the danger of using only one type. The writer exercises at the end of the post may be helpful to you, and I encourage you to post your answer in the comments below to see what you came up with.

Types of Sentence Length

Sentences come in three lengths: short, medium, and long. Each type can be useful for unique reasons if used carefully. There are different beliefs on the number of words in each category, so here is a general idea.

Short Sentences

  • <10 words in a sentence
  • Pros: convey tension and abrupt mood changes
  • Cons: choppy, simple, and halting
  • Can be used effectively

Medium Sentences

  • 11-20 words in a sentence
  • Pros: balance of effectiveness and information, most easily read
  • Cons: using only this type feels monotonous

Long Sentences

  • >20 words in a sentence
  • Pros: Conveys a lot of information
  • Cons: too complicated and hard to follow

Recommended for Writers

When it comes to writing, the first recommendation should always be to get the words down on the page. You won’t need to worry about sentence variety if you have nothing written. Once that is done, it’s the job of your editing—and then editors and proofreaders—to make sure you haven’t stuck to only one type. That would get boring.

A simple formula suggested Kristi Siegel is to count off 20 sentences and word count those. Divide the answer by 20 to get your average sentence length. She suggests 14-22 as the ideal average.

You may also want to occasionally go through and highlight in different colors two pages of your work. Each color represents a different length type, and your paper should have a nice variety of color.

If it doesn’t, you are too reliant on a certain type of sentence length and need to adjust some of your sentences to better adapt by using different strategies such as those suggested by this article.

3 Writer Exercises

Below are the three exercises for improving your use of sentence variety. Try these out and comment your answers below to see what you and your fellow writers can do.

1. Turn these short sentences into one sentence. It will be long, but this will give you good practice in combining short sentences.
Jen walked into the house. She went upstairs. The stairs were long. The stairs creaked when she walked. She was sad. Her boyfriend just broke up with her. She was crying. It was nighttime. Her dad was there.
2. Break this long sentence into short ones. Aim for each sentence to be as short as possible (<5 words). This will give you good practice on breaking down long sentences.
As the sun dipped below the purple horizon, the commercial airplane shuddered violently, tossing its passengers around the cabin like ragdolls in a child’s backpack at the end of a long school day, and the flight attendants knew—without a doubt—that the airline’s Yelp review would drop after this.
3. Take the following scenario and write at least 10 sentences. After writing, go back and analyze the length of your sentences. Make sure you have at least two short, six medium, and two long sentences.
*Note: Sentences don’t have to follow this formula, but by trying to stick with these numbers you will be more intentional about why you wrote at a certain length.
Scenario: Two police officers are on patrol when they witness a robbery. They give chase on foot after the criminals.

Writing with a variety of sentence lengths can be an effective way to keep a reader’s attention. It should also be a consideration on the editor or proofreader’s mind as they go through a writer’s work. Please comment below your responses to the exercises.

If you want to get help with your writing on sentence length and other aspects of grammar, contact me about proofreading services. Subscribe to my newsletter and get 15 Comma Jokes to Tickle Your Grammar Funny Bone.

4 Fun Online Verb Tense Games

4 Fun Online Verb Tense Games.png

Grammars nerds unite! Whether you want to improve or satisfy that grammar-loving itch, these four online games will provide some simple but fun entertainment.

Why learn verb tenses?

For those of you who don’t know, verb tenses tell you when the action occurs in time. These tenses can only be overlooked to your detriment. Take a look at these examples of incorrect verb tense:

  • I have been works all day!
  • The cats are slept now.
  • She sings at the concert yesterday.
  • In January, he will has being in college for seven years.
  • I will cleaned my room tomorrow.

If those were painful you to read, don’t worry; they were painful to write! Did you know that not a single one of these grating mistakes were caught by spell check? From my own experience, I have found that spell check cannot be relied on for this kind of understanding. We have to understand grammar ourselves. This skill is essential for any proofreader or editor.

Hopefully, now that I’ve convinced you that verb tenses are important to know, we need to refresh our knowledge. There are twelve tenses all together! How many can you name? Comment below and then check back up here to see if you remembered them all.

Untitled design

 

The 12 Verb Tenses

  • Simple Present
  • Simple Past
  • Simple Future
  • Present Progressive
  • Past Progressive
  • Future Progressive
  • Present Perfect
  • Past Perfect
  • Future Perfect
  • Present Perfect Progressive
  • Past Perfect Progressive
  • Future Perfect Progressive

How many did you get? I always forget to name the perfect progressives for some reason, so don’t feel bad! If you need a refresher, take a break and read here, but if you feel brave enough to read on, you’ll find some fun and competition.

Speed Up for Tenses

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Source from website

Speed Up for Tenses is for simple present, past, and future tenses. The difficulty is easy. You have to name the tense of the verb that pops up on your screen. When you answer correctly your car gets a burst of speed. The first time I played this my time was 94:10 seconds. Think you can beat me? Try it out for yourself and comment or reply below.

Verb Tense Jeopardy

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Source from website

This is is just like Jeopardy, but it includes all questions on the simple and progressive tenses making this game a step harder than the last. While this game is still not very difficult—it was originally intended as a review for English as a Second Language (ESL) students—the main draw for this game is that you can play with up to four teams. Verb Tense Jeopardy may not seem to be hard, but a few of them can be tricky if you aren’t paying attention.

Verb Tense Battleship

Source from website

Verb Tense Battleship is not hard when where the grammar quizzing is concerned, but the computer will crush you repeatedly on the Hard difficulty. Basically, you play battleship, but every time you have a “hit” you need to pick the correct tense of a verb. The only tenses involved are simple tenses, but the computer’s ability to find your ships on Hard is scary. I only managed to beat the computer on medium. How about you?

Verb Tense Shootout

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Source from website

If there is a winner on this list, it is clearly Verb Tense Shootout. For this game, you need to choose the correct tense in order to score a soccer goal on the goalie. You have five minutes to get to 10 goals, and it will give you your time. All 12 verb tenses are covered in this game making it the hardest by far. The only downside is that the game requires Firefox to use. The fun and challenge of this game make it worth it. On my first try, I finished with two minutes and three seconds left on the clock. See if you can try to beat it.

I hope you like these simple but fun games. If you would like to see more things like this, make sure you follow my Facebook page, Writing by Zach, or my Twitter @zachvdg for grammar and freelance jokes, games, and articles.

Contact me for quotes on my proofreading and other writing services.

**BONUS** Verb Viper

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Verb Viper has nothing to do with tenses; therefore, it doesn’t belong on the original list. The game covers subject-verb agreement and tries to fake you out as the words go by faster and faster. You play by hitting the spacebar when the verb matching the subject is inside the box. You need to ignore the verbs that do not match. Then—no matter what— when a verb enters the box, the subject changes. This little trick makes the game extra fun. My score after 6 rounds was 94%. How about you? Let me know if you can beat me.  

If you like my sense of grammar humor and fun, sign up and get 15 Comma Jokes to Tickle Your Grammar Funny Bone.

When a Computer Fails to Proofread

Acting DirectorDon’t get me wrong. I love my computer, my iPhone, my iPad, and all my other electronic devices.

These powerful little things can push us to do so much more than we could before. At the drop of a hat, we can literally look up anything we want. Machines have all but solved complicated games like chess which has more possible games than atoms in the universe!

Still, they make mistakes! When I was in high school, I enrolled in the advanced English and History program. One of our units in the English class was to read a series of short stories and then to write one of our own.

I spent hours outlining and writing for this story. It was a standard story about a man who jealousy drives his true love into the arms of another guy. The story was nothing special, but I worked so hard on it. I was proud of it.

I wrote the first draft by hand. Our family’s only computer was in my brother’s room, and he didn’t want to share have me sitting in there for long periods at a time.

After the first draft was done, I sat down at the dinosaur of a computer and began to type it in. At 20 words per minute, you can imagine this took a while. When I finally finished, I was exhausted but pleased.

Then, with great joy, I clicked the spell check. On and on it went highlighting my spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors and fixing them with ease. I turned the paper in with confidence that an “A” was in my future. It was, but not quite how I wanted it.

You see, my teacher had the annoying habit of reading everyone’s paper out loud after he had corrected them. He would purposefully pronounce all misspellings phonetically. It was embarrassing when “experiance” turned to ex-purr-eye-ants on his cruel lips. (I appreciate now how he was trying to push to be more critical, but still…)

When he announced he was reading my paper, a lump settled in my throat and my blood ran cold. All was going well until my protagonist caught his lover with the other man.

“His heart,” my teacher read with nasal precision, “beat at a heavy tempo like a solder marching off to war.”

I was crushed. I didn’t understand. How could the computer have missed something like that? 

Computers won’t catch all mistakes! The word “solder,” a low melting alloy, is a noun just like my intended word “soldier.” Its use in the sentence was grammatically correct, but the computer missed a mistake any focused human would have caught.

For a really scary read, check out these 9 Spelling and Grammar Mistakes Spell Check Won’t Catch by Meghan Jones. It further highlights the dangers of relying too much on machines to fix your mistakes.

The moral of my story is this: Don’t trust all of your proofreading to computers. People make better proofreaders than computers. Although they are useful tools, people are the writers, and people are the ones who need to check your paper.

It was this event that got me into proofreading and why I try to check and check again everything I write. Often, I’ll give my work to another set of eyes for proofing just for my peace of mind. I hope you follow this advice as well.

If you want me to be your peace of mind, contact me for a quote on low-cost proofreading services. Like my sense of humor, sign up and get 15 Comma Jokes to Tickle Your Grammar Funny Bone.

 

 

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