It’s tough enough to sell your writing skills without tripping yourself up with bad spelling, clumsy sentences, and atrocious grammar. We all have a blind spot when it comes to our own spelling, and even the old tried-and-true “read it aloud” trick doesn’t always work the way it should.
On every page of a well-established content supplier, you’ll read: “Let’s discuss your content needs formulate a content marketing proposal.”
On another site that wants to sell you writing services:”A technical writing company with a specialty in Internet, telecommunications, and software development topics.”
And most infamously, in a crucial political race on the east coast, an advertisement for Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s senatorial campaign misspelled the name of the state. According to LegalNewsline.com, “After a three-person debate Monday night, an attack ad on Republican state Sen. Scott Brown paid for by the state’s Democratic Party spelled it ‘Massachusettes.’ The ad was ‘authorized by Martha Coakley for Senate and approved by Martha Coakley.” Continue reading We All Do It
Drew Kerr’s article, Three Words Every PR Pro Should Ban at Ragan.com got my wheels turning. I didn’t even need to read the whole thing to know there was a screed coming.
There are words that add color to your writing, there are words you can’t live without, and there are words that violate the cardinal rule of good writing. In the Gospel According to Strunk and White, the all-time number one commandment is this:
“Omit needless words.”
So why do writers INSIST on using “additionally” or “furthermore” in their work? Why in the name of the great gods of the IBM Selectric do people bother writing “The sale is going to be held on Saturday” when “The sale begins Saturday” will do quite nicely, thank you?
Drew Kerr advises PR-heads to stop using the word “thrilled” in their press releases. I have to agree, as it seems to imply some kind of twisted sexual gratification–when you’re talking about breaking ground for a new condo or electing a new president for the Elk’s Club, that just doesn’t sound right. Ditto for Kerr’s other advice, which is to stop using the word “excited” in the same context.
Continue reading Stupid Words and Phrases You Should Never Use