I traveled (travelled?) around the Big Island of Hawaii the last two weeks and found that--even at Volcanoes National Park--I could not escape thinking about writing. This text grabbed my attention on the Sulphur Banks trail: It appeared on this large, instructive sign:   Why deal with spelling in a national park?...
Get your proofreading game on! Three challenges await you. A hint about the number of errors, followed by the solutions, appears at the end of the tests. Test 1: The Note of Thanks Dear Krista; Thank you very much for your work on the auction. Your limitless enthusiasm and energy...
You check your documents electronically to try to catch every error. But your grammar and spelling checker may be giving you bad advice. Because it's a software program, it can't read your mind or know your intentions. Also, it can't always distinguish between correct and incorrect sentence structures and the...
Please explain to me why people don't use the serial comma. When millions of dollars can be drained away in a lawsuit because of its absence, why would anyone not use it?  To be clear, these examples show the serial, or Oxford, comma and its role separating the parts of a...
Today a business service I use sent me a bulleted list of updates. Every single bullet point starts with the contraction We've or We're. Those unnecessary words not only stretch out the bullets. They pull the focus away from the essential content. Also, the sentence format encourages wordiness.  Below are the bulleted...
Each of the three short passages below has one error. Can you find all three? Test your skills.  Passage 1:  I just saw the schedule for the conference, and I am frustrated because Caren and Priya's presentations take place at the same time. If I attend Caren's, would you attend Priya's...
As a writing expert who relies on Microsoft's grammar and spelling checker to flag what I don't see, I was eager to test Grammarly's power to find additional errors. I signed up for the premium version and tested it to the max. I wanted to find the answer to...
During election seasons, we often hear about fact checkers working overtime to check candidates' assertions. But in this guest post, marketing expert Marcia Yudkin shares why and how business writers should check the facts in their proposals, marketing pieces, and other writing. Read Marcia's excellent advice below.  ***********************   Fact Checking to the Rescue Marcia...
I love it when a book on language teaches me a lesson. The African Svelte: Ingenious Misspellings That Make Surprising Sense, a guide by Daniel Menaker filled with humorous, elegant word errors, taught me that I’d better slow down and think if I want to catch errors that have...
Lately I have been hearing the word "disconcerning." When it came up yesterday in an interview on NPR (National Public Radio), I knew it was time to write about it.  "Disconcerning" is actually not a word--at least not a correct one. I've just checked all my dictionaries and style guides....