Archive | Online Words

Writing “rules” are usually just styles

Should you capitalize items in bullet points? Punctuate them? People have strong opinions about matters like these. However, most of the time, what they believe are inviolable rules are actually just styles and personal preferences. People get remarkably worked up about those “rules.” And as someone who creates copy for a living, it’s a constant […]

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Copyrights don’t give you a right to copy

I was surprised to see a favorite non-profit had committed an illegal act. On the third page of a recent newsletter, they reprinted an item from Reader’s Digest. It was germane to their mission, and they kindly included a credit line. Still, they broke the law. Which law? Copyright law. Unless they formally obtained permission from […]

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Eschew obfuscation to write better

When presenting workshops on writing more effectively, I always tell attendees the most important advice I can offer is to eschew obfuscation. If you’re scratching your head, don’t feel bad. The two words are unfamiliar to most people. “Eschew” is a verb that means deliberately avoiding something or some act. If you’re allergic to okra, […]

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Are you using language customers don’t understand?

Bursting with pride, the nursing home’s management team bought a half-page newspaper ad proclaiming “Deficiency-Free State Survey” in giant letters. And I’m willing to wager their message was completely lost upon the people they hoped to impress. I knew why they were proud, but that’s only because I’ve done work with the senior care industry. […]

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