“How can I help my team send better e-mails?” I get this question a lot.
It’s occasionally put like this: “Kids today can’t even send a decent e-mail!”
Bullet points are just as bad in business writing as they are in PowerPoint.
There’s a growing tide of evidence, anecdotal and scientific, that bullet points are bad for presentations.
This one confuses people, but grammar nerds know that it’s simple: You use “that” for restrictive clauses and “which” for non-restrictive clauses.
Huh? What does that mean?
Corporate writing projects often go through an arduous and convoluted processes. Typically, Communications Managers can only bear witness to the time-wasting because they lack the power to change the workflow.
A few simple rules and tips will help you use numbers like an expert.
Overall, write out the numbers zero through ten as words. Numbers 11 and greater can be written as numerals.
Give your sentences precise and focused action.
One of the simplest, most effective ways to simplify and clarify your writing is to eliminate prepositions. It’s incredibly easy to do, and usually you can replace them with strong adjectives or adverbs instead.
This little-known tip can help you make more concise and powerful sentences.
In five minutes, make your sentences shorter, stronger, and clearer.
Get rid of the disembodied pronoun!
“Misplaced modifier” is one of those fancy phrases that most people have heard of but aren’t really sure what it means. A modifier–or descriptive phrase–is misplaced when it’s sitting next to a noun it doesn’t describe.
This entry tackles what you might call personal grammar peeves—mistakes that just drive you crazy, even though they are minor. Two that make my skin crawl are:
*hone in on
It’s that time of the quarter again—the time portfolio managers have to come up with topics for their shareholder letters.
This is often a chore, especially for those who take it seriously and want to do a good job.
Received wisdom among typesetters and designers is that capital letters are harder to read and that all-caps text is especially difficult to read. I’ll address legibility a bit later in this post, but for right now I want to focus on a more pragmatic issue relating to capitalization.
Usually, big words are bad. They don’t make you seem smart, and they don’t help readers understand your message.
In short, simplicity is harder for writers to achieve but much easier for audiences to follow.
We think in terms of cause and effect. Our brains like sequences: first this occurred, then this occurred, and then finally this happened.
Ambiguity is harder for our brains to sort through and figure out.