Monday, March 26, 2012

Today's Writing Tip Is What We Can Learn from Mad Men

Last night, I eagerly tuned into Mad Men, after a seventeen-month hiatus. Season five started with a bang and I was thoroughly satisfied, as usual. But this time I heard an awkward sentence that I wanted to use as an example here.

Peggy, the ambitious secretary turned copywriter, said, "I wish I would have known that." (I confess that I can't recall the context, so that should encourage you to rent the DVD.) This is a no-no.

Here's how she could have done it differently: "I wish I had known that." Or "I would have liked to have known that." I prefer the simpler version, so I would go with option A: "I wish I had known."

There is never a good time to use the phrase "wish I would have." At least, I can't think of one. If you can, let me know. But there are lots of times that we can say, "wish I had" or "I wish I would." It's fine to say, "I wish I would exercise more," or "I wish I had known that Jon Hamm planned to take his shirt off during the season premiere, so I could've taped it for all of eternity." What you want to avoid is mixing the words "wish" with "would have."

Happy writing and Mad Men viewing.

Sigrid Mac

No comments:

Post a Comment

Free Search Engine Optimization