Writing and Grammar Bundle
This year I have introduced a Business Writing and Grammar Bundle, which gives people 30% (A$237) off the Business Writing and Grammar, Punctuation and Usage courses. The price for the bundle is A$553.
I created this bundle because many users were completing the grammar course and then registering for the business writing one.
Please tell your friends and colleagues – thanks.
Words that can cause problems in business writing
Problems arise when writers overuse or misuse while, which, however, this, it is and there is. These words per se are not a problem – it’s just how they are used or overused.
If you’re a person who overuses any of these words, I suggest you ban them from your vocab for a month and then re-introduce them more judiciously.
When you use while at the beginning of a sentence, you’re delegating your main point to the end of the sentence. If this is intentional and it works, great, but if you’re writing like this out of habit and detracting from your main point, not so great.
Read the rest of my blog.
Capitalisation guidelines for business writers
One of my pet hates is the overuse and inconsistent use of initial capitals. I think many people were taught that all important words deserved to be capitalised and old habits die hard. The modern trend is for more minimal capitalisation.
There are some specific rules, but the basic rules are quite simple.
- The beginning of a sentence
- Names of specific people, places and organisations
- Titles of books, plays and legislation
- Official job titles
NB: Capitalisation means using an initial capitalisation. Full capitalisation is the term used when every letter in a word is a capital.
Read the rest of my blog.
Readers’ questions and comments
Q: Should you use superscript with ordinals? For example, 11th or 11th?
A: I couldn’t find anything covering this topic. What do you think?
Q: Which is correct: ensuite or en suite?
A: I couldn’t find agreement on this one. I would probably make it two words. What’s your preference?
Books recommended by readers (not all 2018)
Normal People, Sally Rooney
Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton
Homo Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
A Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn
Hotel World, Ali Smith
Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails, Sarah Bakewell
A reader has noticed that The New Yorker is using diaereses, for instance, coöperate. (A diaeresis is a mark placed over a vowel to indicate that it is sounded separately, e.g. naïve, Brontë).
Is anyone else using diaereses? I’m certainly not!
Are symbols too obscure these days for most of us? How many of you would use an acute with paté or a circumflex with fête?
Words of the year 2018
I gave you a few words of the year last month, but here’s a more comprehensive list.
- Me Too, Macquarie Dictionary
- toxic, Oxford Dictionary
- single-use, Collins Dictionary
- misinformation, dictionary.com
- Canberra bubble, Australian National Dictionary Centre (people who are preoccupied with playing politics rather than dealing with ‘real-life’ issues)
- justice, Merriam-Webster
- nomophobia, Cambridge Dictionary (no mobile phone phobia)
- tender-age shelter, American Dialect Society (euphemistic term for government-run detention centres housing children of asylum seekers at the US/Mexico border)
I had never heard of nomophobia or tender-age shelter.
Read more about words from previous years and some of the words on the shortlists.
Which word is your favourite?
Interesting stuff about writing
The best sentences
Do you have a favourite sentence? Read some favourites. Here’s an example:
‘Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation.’
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
One of my favourites is the first sentence in Pride and Prejudice: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’
How writing to deadlines can hold your life together
I find it easier to write to deadlines imposed by a client than self-imposed deadlines. Then I procrastinate and find lots of things that MUST be done. Do you like deadlines? Read what Geoffrey Pullum says about deadlines.
Test your user experience (UX) knowledge with a Nielsen Norman Group quiz. I didn’t score very highly.
Writing great copy: 20 lessons from 20 years in the industry
This article was written by a colleague, Frank Chamberlin, and was Marketing Magazine‘s most popular opinion piece in 2018. How many years have you been writing and what lessons have you learnt?
Why writing well is essential for your legal career
I think it’s obvious that lawyers should write well, but many legal documents are still turgid. I sign a lot of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with clients and they are usually about 10 pages long. Basically, I’m just agreeing to treat their documents confidentially. Read more.
Quote of the month
‘A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.’
William Strunk, The Elements of Style