Do You Give Readers the “Why” They Need?

The other night I was traveling from Boston to my home, Seattle. When I arrived at my connection city, Denver, at 7:15 p.m. I received this text message: Your Flight ___ on August 6 from DEN now departs at 11:55…

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Test Yourself: Which Pronoun Is Correct?

There’s a hit song titled “Him and I” whose ungrammatical title and lyrics drive me nuts. A correct title would be either “Him and Me” or “He and I”–never “Him and I.” Why? Because him is an object pronoun, and…

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Which Mistakes Do You Make on Purpose?

If you can write a catchy sentence using I when the wording really demands me, do you choose I or me? If fewer fits your meaning but less sounds breezier, do you go with the correct fewer or the rhythmic…

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Stuck on the Right Words for Sensitive Topics? Get AP 2018

If you create newsletter articles, HR policies, forms, reports, or other pieces that touch on current topics and data, you may catch yourself wondering about word choice: transgender or transgendered? Eskimo or Inuit? Survivor or victim? The latest AP Stylebook…

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Write It Right in Your New Job

A man recently contacted me about wanting to be successful in his new job. He realized his writing was not what it needed to be. If you have a new job, congratulations! Being successful in a new position requires learning…

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Best Toilet Instructions in Costa Rica

I was traveling with my family for six weeks in Guatemala and Costa Rica. In Guatemala, it’s clear that one should not put anything in toilets except what they were made for. But in the more heavily visited Costa Rica,…

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How to Edit, Fix, and Polish

Imagine this scenario: Your supervisor emails you with a message that says “Please edit the attachment.” Or perhaps the instruction is “Fix the attached” or “Please give this piece some polish.” What does it mean to edit, fix, or polish…

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T-F Test on Formatting Business Letters and Emails

The standards of writing change. What was once correct in business messages now comes across as old-fashioned–or does it? Take this true-false test to check your knowledge of basic formatting standards for business letters and emails. Note: The questions and…

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I.e. or E.g. — Which Do You Choose?

Do you use the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. in your business writing? Do you use them interchangeably, or does each expression have its place? How would you define them if a child asked you what they meant? To think about…

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How to Refer Readers to a Map

I got an email yesterday from the organizers of a literary festival I’m going to attend. It shared reminders about parking and registration. I knew where to park, but I needed to know where registration was. So I went directly…

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