Which phrases and buzzwords have we so overused and mangled that we should stop using them altogether? Researchers at the University of Oxford keep track of books, magazines, online media and other sources to look for “irritating expressions” that ought to be retired.
With the economy slowing down, now is the best time to fine-tune your LinkedIn or Facebook profile, fleshing out the blank spaces and figuring out how to take advantage of those social networking sites. Here are a few tips.
Whether penning an e-mail update for your manager, an all-staff memo or a letter of complaint to a vendor, you are striking up a relationship. Deborah Dumaine, author of Write to the Top, recommends that before you write, plan your document by running through the questions on this Focus Sheet.
Using clichés will give readers the impression that they’ve heard it all before. Keep your reader engaged by making your writing as sharp and creative as your spoken conversations. Here are two simple strategies.
If your last job search was pre-2001, you may be in for a rude awakening, says Deborah Walker, career coach and résumé writer. Your old résumé, which worked well before, may no longer attract employers. Here are four reasons your old résumé may not work for you …
Then and than may be confused in speech, but when it comes to the written word, these two words are not interchangeable. Here’s the key difference …

Cut your writing down to size

October 1, 2008 Categorized in: Writing/Editing

You may think you’ve just penned the most brilliant correspondence of the year, but if it takes the recipient too long to wade through lengthy paragraphs, he’ll never know how bright you are. Take a tip from writing guru William Strunk: “Vigorous writing is concise.” Follow these steps to trim your prose:
The words “very” and “so” are kosher intensifiers during casual conversations (as in, “It’s so hot today!”). But when writing, it’s best to avoid both. Why? They can weaken your writing.

Cater your writing to ‘skimmers’

September 5, 2008 Categorized in: InternetWriting/Editing

The Internet is changing the way we read and think, asserts a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” So what does that mean for you? Cater your writing to skimmers.
When you seek input from others, whether you’re speaking or writing, be clear in your request. People will appreciate your directness and the time it saves them.
As any writer can tell you, a first draft is seldom perfect. The best writers put their words through rigorous rewrites and revisions before they even bother to run the spell-checker. Doing the same for memos, e-mail correspondence and letters could take your business writing to a whole new level.
Think before you click.That’s the in-a-nutshell advice of Will Schwalbe, co-author of Send, a book about how to write the perfect e-mail. Here are three of his best practices.
Save time doing web research with these five powerfully helpful sites: Ask a Librarian; OWL, the Online Writing Lab; the Phrase Finder; Refdesk.com; and LibrarySpot.com.