March, 2008

Plainly Speaking

“People think I can teach them style. What stuff it is. Have something to say and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.”
Matthew Arnold – 1822-1888. English poet and cultural critic.

A lot of business communications – letters, press releases, brochures and even websites, read like the written equivalent of the ‘telephone voice’. You know, when we put on an accent and use words we wouldn’t normally in every day conversation.

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Apostrophes

The apostrophe – it’s a lot more than a little black mark

Seeing a misused apostrophe gives me the same feeling as scraping my finger nails down a blackboard. It’s particularly annoying when the mistake appears on an in-your-face sign outside of a shop, restaurant, office or is stuck on the side of a building.

It’s an easy thing to do when we are busy and rushing to get copy out. But if you know apostrophes are a problem area for you, get your copy checked by someone else before you send it.

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Fewer or Less

When less is more

Fewer and less are constantly used incorrectly. One of the posher supermarkets used to have the sign ‘five items or less’ over its checkouts. Someone must have complained (it wasn’t me, honest) because they changed it to the correct ‘five items or fewer’.

So how do you know which is right?

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Using Capitals

Random capitals drive me mad. Some documents look as though the capitals goblin has sprinkled a sack full of them liberally but randomly all over the copy. The effect is copy that makes your eyes dance all over the page which means it’s going to be difficult to read. So, let’s catch that goblin and put a stop to his evil doings!

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And speaking of useful - scroll down and take a look at the Oxford Dictionaries tool.

Click here to find out a bit more about me.

Word Alchemy Blog