Don’t use contractions’ may be a contradiction in terms (because ‘Don’t’ is a contraction), but should we always ban them from formal copy? They may be used to affect an informal, friendlier tone that is easier on the eye and mind, but in formal writing they are discouraged or not used at all. Shortening and … Continue reading Contractions: don’t say can’t
English is a global language, right? So all that companies from Timbuktu to Murmansk have to do in order to open up vast new business horizons is to plonk it on their websites? It may seem self-evident that if you employ English in your content, wherever you are, you gain access to a new world … Continue reading DIY copy is self-harm
The psychological guru Albert Mehrabian has argued that three elements count when determining whether we like someone who communicates with us: the words our interlocutor uses account for 7% of our response, their tone of voice 38%, and their body language 55%. For any form of written or textual communication, that creates a problem: inevitably, … Continue reading Body language … in words
Writing copy for a startup? Here’s a brief ABC to help you on your way: Audience – You’re a startup. So your audience will be small. Initially. Be realistic: you are not speaking to a billion people. Keep it conversational. Pretend you are talking to a friend. Adopt a relaxed, chatty, informative tone. Invite them … Continue reading Copy kit: ABC for startups
Dashes serve progressively to link nouns that serve an adjectival function, ie: titanium titanium alloy titanium-alloy weld titanium alloy-welded joints Note in the final example that the dash disappears from between the first two words. That is because a dash helps us to associate ideas, as opposed solely to words, and hence to distinguish between … Continue reading How to use dashes
Spot the difference: • ‘The British will likely complain about how Americans use English’; • ‘It is likely that the British will complain about how Americans use English’. It’s certainly true that the British often whine about American usage, but it has to be conceded that the two sentences above are clearly different, grammatically speaking. … Continue reading Likely – or probably?