Archive: Effective Writing

Editing: a three-step process

Effective editing is done in three steps, in sequence, because you look for something different each time. Frustrated writers often read their copy again and again, only to discover they missed something, and they cannot imagine how. It’s because they try to...

Reducing the anxiety around grammar

Reconnecting with five or six grammar guidelines would improve a lot of writing. When people think of grammar they often cringe, usually because they have horrifying recollections of English class or because they can’t recall many of the guidelines. But...

Put real information in the subject line

E-mail messages and formal memos often are ignored because writers are sloppy with subject lines. Make them specific. Readers are eager to hit the delete button. They are looking for a reason not to read your message, and by not providing specific information in the...

Be careful about fashionable new words

When you latch on to new words that surface in the language, you can appear to be trying too hard to be trendy, and it can make you sound artificial. An internal newsletter at the Wall Street Journal cautioned writers recently about word use in their stories, and...

A Stylebook can Save Embarrassment

For questions about accepted usage and punctuation, a stylebook is a must Ever wonder whether your company’s “band-aid solution” requires that band-aid be capitalized? And are you closed for a holiday shut-down or a shutdown? These and many other...