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Get to the Point

Stop Using Squishy Language

By | Sep.08.15 | No Comments

“One of the only”: the ambiguous phrase that keeps popping up. I don’t know what this means — and neither do your readers. A recent newspaper story about Martha Stewart’s sale of her brand quoted a …Continue reading »

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This Post Comprises Further Help for Your Systemic Writing Errors

By | Jul.15.15 | 1 Comment

Even the best writer can confuse words that sound almost the same — call them sound-alikes. A prior post reviewed many of the most common pairs. Here are some more. Comprise/Compose. Comprise means “include” or “contain.” …Continue reading »

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How to Clean Up Your Writing

By | May.27.15 | 4 Comments

Maybe you’ve read the stories about the candidate who wasn’t hired because of spelling errors in the resumé. Or the firm that lost the bid in response to a request for proposal because of grammatical …Continue reading »

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Dictionary Betrayal

By | Mar.23.15 | No Comments

Of course you use a dictionary when you don’t know the meaning of a word. But you might have to pay attention to context to figure out which definition applies and whether it’s the right …Continue reading »

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A Roman Walks Into a Bar

By | Feb.23.15 | No Comments

A Roman walks into a bar and tells the bartender, “I’d like a martinus.” The bartender says, “You mean a martini.” “No,” says the Roman, “I only want one.” English is a funny language — in …Continue reading »

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A Thesaurus Is Not Just a Word Processing Tab

By | Feb.02.15 | 1 Comment

A thesaurus is a compilation of synonyms, words of the same meaning. A thesaurus also lists antonyms, words of opposite meaning. When you want to vary your vocabulary to hold the reader’s interest, the thesaurus …Continue reading »

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Weak Sentence Starters You Use All the Time

By | Jan.12.15 | No Comments

A basic rule of good writing is to make every word count. “There is,” “there are” and “it is” are the weakest ways to start a sentence. Used this way, “there” and “it” are placeholders …Continue reading »

Effecting Misuse Can Affect the Effectiveness of Your Writing: Sound-Alikes

By | Nov.24.14 | No Comments

Similar-sounding words can have very different meanings. Sound-alike words have tripped up many a scribe. Because you may be spelling the word correctly but misusing it for the context, spell-check is of no help. Watch …Continue reading »

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Windyfoggery and Other Writing Tips from the Master

By | Nov.06.14 | No Comments

Theodore Bernstein created an analog to the economic maxim that bad money drives out good: bad words tend to drive out good ones. Bernstein, a journalist and professor, wrote or co-wrote seven books on grammar and …Continue reading »