Yesterday I went on an urban hike. Climbing stairs among lush greenery, I spotted the sign below. Not again! Someone had once again printed a sign without checking on their use of apostrophes. Don’t do it! Before creating a sign or printing cards that include an apostrophe, read this...
Which error did you see most often in 2019? Was it a missing comma? A misplaced or missing apostrophe? A lack of subject-verb agreement? A word used incorrectly? The error I found most often in work projects—especially copyediting presentations and manuscripts—is described below, with one bonus error.  The error is...
By Allison Horak   -- Supervisors often feel their employees can’t write well. How about you? Do you spend time correcting the same mistakes repeatedly for your employees? One way to address this issue is to carve out time for coaching, especially for employees whose work involves a lot of writing. To...
Sometimes we bang out a message to get it done quickly. But if we take just another minute or two to make the message clearer before clicking Enter or Send, we save time for readers. That time savings often leads to getting a faster, better response. Here is an...
Read the brief, true story below about Eric and his supervisor, Linda. Then decide: If you were in Linda's role, would you handle the situation the same way?  ***** Eric has just written his first newsletter article about an innovative approach the team has developed and used to get great results....
Certainly we can admire Google for its growth, global reach, inventiveness, and the brilliance of its teams. But they've gone too far. Cleverness has its limits. Analyze, yes. Optimize, yes. Publicize, yes--those are all things online content providers want to do. But troubleshootize? No, Google, you've gone too far.     The...
I'm copyediting a book this week, so I have immersed myself in rules and rule-breaking for nonfiction writing. The project is a church history. To work quickly, I have been using my grammar and spelling checker to make obvious errors and inconsistencies pop. One that keeps popping is passive...
A friend of mine who works at a large, urban university on the West Coast shared an example of a business person who did NOT think about their audience. And the person's choice led to the loss of a customer order. The university's Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion wanted...
I'm helping two friends who have just completed a book manuscript. They work beautifully together and will have a wonderful book when it's finished. But right now, tiny inconsistencies appear everywhere. In one chapter, all numbers are in words; in another, most numbers are in figures. Sometimes the names of...
The other day a friend told me he was concerned about having taken on a copy editing job because he didn't yet feel confident of who/whom and whoever/whomever. How about you? Are you confident about where to use those pronouns? Take the test below to see whether your confidence or...