I’ve just written two articles for a Sydney-based company, one on employee engagement and another on bullying in the workplace. A chilling statistic that popped up in my research was that 80% of workplace bullies are in fact bosses. PM Julia Gillard has recently been reported to have a fresh focus on bullying in the workplace. Bullying must be stamped out for the good of the individuals affected and their families, as well as for the ultimate moral and monetary benefit of organisations.
Animal Farm or Outright Barbarity?
No, this post isn’t about George Orwell’s chilling political satire on Stalin called ‘Animal Farm’. But the following was written by George Orwell in 1946. He entitled it ‘Politics and the English Language’.
1. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
2. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
3. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
4. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
5. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
(Excerpted from News Limited’s ‘Style’ book.)
Giving and Receiving
Do you know the difference between ‘imply’ and ‘infer’? Misusing ‘imply’ is a common practice. According to Fowler’s, “Each word has its own job to do, one at the giving end and the other at the receiving (What do you imply by that remark? What am I to infer from that remark?) and should be left to do it without interference.”
Don’t you just love Fowler.
Identifying the key audience for your website content is obviously important. But there are a few points to consider: although your marketing may be directed to top level corporate clients, speaking to them using direct, well-written English is so much better than cloaking the points in shrouds of irritating clichés and buzzwords that disguise the message rather than tell the message.
A business, small or large, should have first-class succession planning. Especially when you are dealing with clients who are paying you to produce publications for them, if the knowledge management falls down in any aspect of the process, it can destroy client confidence in you and the product.
All about [sic] … fully
Do you know what [sic] means?
It’s the latin term sic erat scriptum. Usage is [sic] in square brackets and sometimes the word is italicised. It means that the quote has been transcribed exactly as it was found in the original source, complete with erroneous spelling or nonstandard presentation. And you probably all know this anyway.
“The Apostrophe Protection Society was started in 2001 by John Richards, now its Chairman, with the specific aim of preserving the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark in all forms of text written in the English language.:
Check it out at the link below:
Some killers I’ve seen are:
Grocer’s/grocers’ instead of ‘Grocers’;
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
And it goes on!
Pare it down!
The timeless gurus Strunk and White caution against the unnecessary. They say that vigorous writing is concise writing. “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
A great tip for writers!
Self-publishers – Don’t sell yourselves short
Attempting to come up with a suitable analogy to describe how critical it is to have your book professionally edited isn’t that easy. I am not just spruiking my services, either.
It’s as if you have created a beautiful piece of jewellery, but haven’t been able to polish the stones or shine the gold. Your work means a great deal to you; you have a message or a story you feel compelled to tell and it’s taken time and effort for you to tell it – so make sure it is presented to the public in the best possible way.
A professional editor will make your work glow!