Acronyms deserve their bad reputation. Those TLAs (three-letter acronyms) are guilty of excluding, confusing, and delaying readers. And what's worse--many times we can't agree on what they stand for. Nevertheless, like carbohydrates, snowmobiles, and pigeons, there's a place for them. For example, CEO is just right in the title...
Podcasting, adware, RSS feeds, firewall--these terms are all commonly found in blogs, on high-tech web sites, in consumer-focused articles, and in PowerPoint presentations across the globe. But do readers know what these words mean? According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, many do not. Here are some...
Driving from Portland to Seattle today, I heard an on-air radio apology about--of all things--grammar. Steve Scher, host of KUOW's Weekday, had said something like this on air: "Call in with your questions for Carl or I." A listener then emailed Steve a strongly worded correction, letting him know it...
For a business writing class I will teach later today, I asked participants to let me know what they would like to be able do better in their writing. Among those responding, two participants wanted to "use better verbiage" and "use more powerful verbiage." Being an advocate of clear business...
Last night I flew home from teaching in South Carolina, and this morning I had an email from one of my new Carolina friends: "I just thought of a question about something we didn't cover: when to use who vs. whom. . . . Any quick tips?" The quick tip is...
The "royal we" has a questionable reputation. According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, it means "the pronoun used by a sovereign . . . to refer to himself or herself." I'd like to present a new definition of the self-absorbed we. I propose that it means, in contrast,...
Nine days ago I went to pick up a batch of newly printed business cards. Unfortunately, the cards had been incorrectly printed and had to be redone. When the printer asked when I needed them, I responded, "No rush. I still have some." Because of a business meeting I...
I'm pleased to introduce the term "thought shower," created in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to replace the potentially offensive expression "brainstorming." According to Henry McDonald, Ireland editor of The Observer, the staff at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, in Belfast, found the word "brainstorming" potentially offensive to people...