Many among us battle vision impairment, dyslexia and other obstacles that affect reading comprehension. Writers can take simple steps to make their work more accessible to such readers, writes Erika Enigk.

Acronyms and abbreviations

December 11, 2012 Categorized in: Grammar Repair ShopWriting/Editing

Acronyms and abbreviations are a great way to tighten up your writing and save yourself some keystrokes, but they’re only clear to insiders who use them on a regular basis. Good writers are careful to follow these rules for using acronyms and abbreviations.
Air your disappointment with a product or service by writing a letter that lets you vent while making your points clearly and effectively.

Make your writing far more readable

November 20, 2012 Categorized in: Writing/Editing

Is that a memo you’re typing or the Gettysburg Address? When documents look like one big block of text, it’s time to deploy formatting techniques to make your words more scannable and easier to digest.

Are double words allowed?

November 20, 2012 Categorized in: Grammar Repair ShopWriting/Editing

Microsoft Word’s grammar check alerts you when you repeat a word, but is repeating a word always wrong? Bonnie Trenga, author of The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier, says no. Here are several examples to illustrate when it’s perfectly fine to repeat a word.
Use these four techniques to polish your image as an effective communicator.
Semicolons are often misused, inspiring both love and hate from professional wordsmiths. But with a proper understanding of their purpose, they can be­­come one of your favorite punctuation marks.
While having a great résumé is the first step toward finding your dream job, it won’t guarantee it, Karl Malinowski writes on the Simply blog. Here’s what it takes to make the cut:
The Associated Press Style­­book has given its blessing to using the adverb hopefully, meaning “it is hoped.”“This may not seem like a big deal, but to many linguistic sticklers it is the end of the world of correctness,” Lynn Gaertner-Johnston noted.

The power of specifics

June 22, 2012 Categorized in: Writing/Editing

Concrete examples bring abstract writing to life. Not only will examples help readers more easily imagine what you’re talking about, they’ll add pop to your prose.

Spot the misspelling

June 14, 2012 Categorized in: Writing/Editing

Here’s a list of the 15 most common misspellings in the United States, according to SpellChecker.com, along with the correct versions:
What’s the rule on these four sentence-starting and -stopping strategies? 1. Starting a sentence with “and” or “but.” 2. Launching a sentence with “There is” or “There are.” 3. Ending a sentence with a preposition. 4. Starting a sentence with “how­­ever.”
Are you “smothering” perfectly good verbs? Example: You turn “decide” into a noun, making it “decision.” Then you need to use “decision” as a verb, so you write, “make a decision”—forgetting that you could simply use “decide.”