Archive for the ‘Copywriting’ Category
New Year’s Resolutions for Word Nerds
Below you’ll find GrammarBook.com’s New Year’s resolutions for self-appointed guardians of the English language. We language cops need our own code of ethics to protect us from ourselves and shield others from our self-righteousness.
The Stickler’s Ten Commandments for 2016
1) Thou shalt proofread. Proofreading your work is a dying art—but why is that? Do we really think that everything we write is effortlessly perfect on the first try?
2) No correcting someone’s informal correspondence. If you get an email that says, “We just want whats our’s,” stifle that impulse to respond with a dissertation on apostrophes. Maybe your correspondent is just kidding around—or didn’t proofread.
3) … And casual conversation gets a lot of leeway too. Language purists ought to ease off when people are just relaxing and making small talk. No one ever mistook a Super Bowl bash for a summit conference.
4) No using fancy words when simpler ones will do. A barrage of big words is impressive the way a mesomorph bench pressing six hundred pounds is impressive.
5) Always look it up. Twenty-first century technology makes it quick and painless to look up words like mesomorph. But for whatever reason, most people just won’t do it.
6) No correcting strangers. Grownups are so touchy nowadays.
7) Do correct your kids’ grammar. It’s not belittling if you do it right; they may even thank you someday. The English they hear all the time—from their peers, the media, even some teachers—sets a horrid example. Good English deserves equal time.
8) … But keep it private. Never give grammar lectures within earshot of innocent bystanders or service animals.
9) No excuses when you slip. We all make mistakes. If you’re nailed red-handed, don’t try to wiggle out of it.
10) Know what you’re talking about. Here is something your English teacher never told you: the rules change. So before you cry foul, how do you know you’re right? There are many myths about “proper” English floating around.
A century ago, contact as a verb was banned in polite society, and anyone who said, “I will contact you soon” was dismissed as a philistine. In the 1970s, hopefully was considered a ghastly vulgarity, and anyone who said, “Hopefully, the disco won’t be too crowded tonight” could be ostracized from the cool crowd. Today, no one has a problem with contact or
hopefully … but you may find yourself ostracized for saying “disco.”
Here’s Advanced Performance Institute founder Bernard Marr’s list of 30 phrases to NOT use at work, including “move the needle,” “dive deeper,” or go after low-hanging fruit” http://linkd.in/1djCS8N
…but be sure you know which style guide you, your company, or your client is using as even though there may be two “officially” accepted versions as noted in this article http://www.dailywritingtips.com/20-words-with-more-than-one-spelling/ it may not be right for your project.
For example, that article indicates that “acknowledgment” and “acknowledgement” are both acceptable but many people would think that the second one had an error. It’s worth double-checking as it may not be consistent with the style that has been used in the past and one of the golden rules of grammar and style is to be consistent–even if you’re consistently “wrong” based upon a specific style you’ve adopted.
This piece offers greater substantiation for the often-heard claim that texting is having impact on grammar and style usage of those who text.
Here’s a deeper look at the effects and possible ramifications, including an infographic and data from PR Daily: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/14519.aspx#
Granted, it IS harder and more cumbersome to try to punctuate properly when texting even if using a fairly intuitive interface, such as talk to text, word completion, etc., for the actual words themselves–but per this article (and others) the legacy that has been created by all of this convenience and sometimes even laziness is a more accepting attitude about poorly constructed communications… It’s not always true that “they’ll know what I meant”!