Archive for May, 2009

Advertising taglines – can you guess the brands?

Friday, May 29th, 2009

It’s always a good idea to get inside your clients’ heads, so I’ve taken 10 famous advertising slogans and translated them into bad corporatese. Can you work out the straplines the copywriter came up with after being sent these clunky first drafts by the guys from corporate? (more…)

Twelve ways my PhD prepared me for blogging

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Today, in a post on his Word Sell blog, content optimisation guru Brad Shorr offers some great advice to anyone thinking about launching a business blog.

In his post, Brad asks other bloggers how we prepared for our entry into the blogosphere. Looking back – though I didn’t know it at the time – I think I prepared for blogging by doing a PhD. (more…)

Apostrophe rule: 100s or 100′s?

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

This addendum to my previous blog entry on apostrophes is dedicated to the graphic designer friend of mine who recently posted a cry for help on Facebook, asking which was correct: 100′s or 100s.

Naturally, her writer friends told her to ditch the apostrophe, which she did. Sorry to distress any literate people out there, but I have to inform you that she has since revealed that she was told to put them all back in. (more…)

Grammar brush-up: Rules for indicating possession with an apostrophe

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Having worked with more than my share of tiresome subs who clearly quite enjoy getting their knickers in a twist about other people’s apostrophe crimes, I don’t want to get too snarky about the rights and wrongs of this important little punctuation mark.

After all, you can’t blame people for not knowing how to punctuate if they’ve never been taught how to do it. (I tend to agree with the journalism teacher who once told me she could tell a student’s age from their punctuation. Few people under forty have a clue, because they had the misfortune to go to school after it was decided that grammar was too elitist to teach).

But if you care about your business you need to know that you will be judged if you get it wrong. (more…)

Gender versus sex – why you should observe the difference

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Filling in a form recently (I don’t recall what for), I was asked to state my gender. The question was particularly puzzling as all I was given was a box in which to insert M or F.

It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this use of the word “gender” when what the author intended was (avert your eyes now if you’re of a sensitive disposition) “s-e-x”. (more…)

Want to be a leader? Ditch that framework and roadmap

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Are you a manager or a leader? I bet I could tell you which one you are from your writing style. (more…)

“Advise” and “revert”: two words to avoid in your emails

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Request, please. When you’re emailing me, please don’t use the words “advise” and “revert”.

Nothing wrong with those words, you may say. True enough. If, that is, they’re used correctly. (more…)

What happens when your designer has more power than your writer

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Think you don’t need a writer involved in creating your marketing collateral? The people behind these three logos were clearly too interested in the design of the things to care about how they might read to an outsider. (more…)

“Around”: the preposition that can make your writing sound slippery and bureaucratic

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Last week I reflected on the tendency for business types to favour the invasive-sounding “into” over the correct “to”. Today, I turn my attention to another preposition you should be careful with: “around”. (more…)

And the answer is . . .

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Firstly, thanks to everyone for putting forward your suggestions about why the sign in yesterday’s post might annoy me. (more…)