When editing …

Give editing sufficient time I often say to people that they should expect editing to take 20–30% of the total time they take to write something.  Why so much?  Because we don’t get the words out right first time, we think of better ways to say things, we forget about what a reader most wants to know, etc.  So, don’t interpret editing as ‘I’m no good at writing’; instead, think of it as a normal and necessary...

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Business writing – Where it goes wrong

Having worked closely alongside businesses for years, to help them improve their writing (in training and consultancy sessions), I have a good insight into where I think some people can go wrong with their writing. I am not being picky.  I don’t mean what they write, and if they make grammatical mistakes, or use wrong punctuation, etc.  I mean HOW they approach and CARRY OUT writing tasks, how they execute them, and how this makes their...

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Writing Skills Quiz – with Answers

Do you think it is OK to start sentences with “And …..”? Yes.  However, many of us were taught not to, I think for two reasons.  First, because ‘and’ is a conjunction, and our teachers were also telling us conjunctions were for joining phrases together, so allowing them at the start of sentences would have been contradictory. Second, language has become less formal since most of us were at school, and starting sentences...

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Tips for Business Writing – Making it easy/easier

This week I gave a talk on Tips for Business Writing to 30+ people at Bicester’s Wednesday Breakfast Club. Sold a few books, too – but more of that later. We started at 7.30am, so I decided not to bombard people with Powerpoint, and instead to speak ‘off the cuff’. People often say my enthusiasm for writing comes across when I talk – the difference good writing can make to your business, where writing can go wrong,...

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Index for Business Writing Tips (my book)

The only real critique of my book, when I gave an interview at a book launch in Blackwell’s Oxford last year … What about an index? Well, I spent the quiet days of  January writing one, so the Index is now available  to those wanting it.   The index – what it features  There are over 130 entries covering 3+ pages/columns, with guidance on the following items standing out – at least in terms of cited references, not...

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Split infinitives – Can you? Can’t you?

“Never split an infinitive!” Heard that rule? That’s right, it’s commonly said that we shouldn’t split infinitives (e.g. to boldly go).  The reason being, in Latin – the foundation of our culture and language several centuries ago – infinitives are only one word (to go = Latin Ire), so you physically can’t put a word in-between. HOWEVER, I have just been reading a more authoritative book on the...

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