This week in a Better Business Writing class, an attendee named Linda used the word purview in her writing project. Her context was similar to this:If purchasing is part of your purview, please note these changes. One of the other attendees asked, "What's a purview?" A few other people,...
This week my 11-year-old daughter had an assignment on writing numbers. One of the rules on her assignment sheet stated, "Numbers that are expressed in fewer than four words are spelled out." That rule sounded like trouble to me. After all, do we really want to write seventeen thousand...
This morning I received an email from a friend who knows a lot about grammar and punctuation. I was surprised that her message included the phrase "a MS word specialist." It should have been "an MS word specialist" because "MS" is pronounced "em ess." Words that begin with a...
"I would feel bad if I treated you badly." That's an illustration of the correct use of the words bad and badly. Bad/badly is a grammar point that trips up many of us. Even people who are very careful about their speech and writing are confused about those two words....
On Saturday I received a glowing email from Scott in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, who offered several compliments on this blog. Among the detailed praise were words I loved reading: "well worth my time," "exceptionally well written," and "thank you for the considerable effort that you put forth in maintaining...
According to an October 2005 Yahoo publication, 96% of Internet users have never knowingly used RSS (Real Simple Syndication). Are you one of them? I was until today. Yes, I confess that I've been blogging since last June, but I just downloaded an RSS reader so that I can...
The semicolon leads a hard life: ignored by most, scorned by others, misunderstood by many. Who can blame it if it creates trouble for some of us? I'm here to defend the semicolon as a useful member of the family of punctuation marks. I'm also here to answer the...
This post should go under the category "Things I Should Have Known." It's about hyphenation. Did you know that in Microsoft Word you can insert an optional hyphen? You are probably wondering why you would want to. Example: Imagine you are writing a two-column piece such as a newsletter article....
Every week I get an email from someone that wasn't meant to be sent--at least not in its current state. The next message, sent seconds later, says "Oops! Please ignore my previous message." One way or another, the writer sent the email by mistake. It wasn't finished, reviewed for completeness,...
Are you looking for a quick way to improve your business communication in 2006? How about banishing a few stale words and phrases from your presentations and documents? Lake Superior State University, in Michigan (USA), publishes an annual Banished Word List.  Their list of words and phrases to avoid in...