December 2008

To finish off the year we're looking at the full stop. Ha ha ha. I hear you chortle. If there's one bit of punctuation I know how to use it's the full stop. Aaaah. That may be the case but do you know when not to use it? Ok, here we go eyes down.Use a full stop: At the end of...

Back in the olden days, newspaper and magazine editors would make paper planes from badly written press releases. Now they have the power of the delete button. It's a tough world out there.Here are a few tips for getting your press releases published. Who's reading this? Think about who is going to read your news and use the language of the...

I loathe business bull and jargonese. And it seems the readers of the Daily Telegraph feel exactly the same way if recent correspondence with the broadsheet is anything to go by.      So here are some of the words and phrases that we love to hate. Use at your peril! Added bonus Co-worker First up Giving 110% Going forward Heads up Hearts and minds Hit the ground running Inclusive Ramp up Time challenged Singing from the same...

I was writing some copy the other day when I realised the exact phrase I was looking for was je ne sais quoi. This got me thinking about how many words and phrases we use that come from across the Channel. Did you know that about 30% of the English language is derived from French? Mais non? Words like niche, blonde,...

Using the colon correctly will amaze your friends and impress your colleagues. Hey, it may even get you a promotion.The colon has two main uses:1. It lets you know that what follows is an explanation or an elaboration of what came before You need to know one thing about English cricket: we can't bat to save our lives.I'll tell you...

The good old fashioned sales letter is often the first contact a prospective customer has with your company. Get it right and it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Get it wrong and your letter will be filed under B for bin.1. Woo-hoo I'm here! You must grab the attention of the letter opener within about 4-8 seconds,...

I love the expression dangling modifier. But what is it? And is it catching?  A dangling modifier refers to a phrase which doesn't have a grammatical connection to the rest of the sentence. This can have hilarious consequences. Ok, it can be vaguely amusing:  Having been kicked in the air, the baby caught the ball. What was kicked? The ball or the...

Not sure when to use a question mark? Confused as to where it should go? Probably not as it's one of the easiest bits of punctuation to get right. But here's a quick recap.Do use a question markAt the end of a sentence with a direct question: 'is kick-off at 7.45pm tonight?'In brackets when you're not sure of a...

Ok, you’ve decided you need a copywriter. And that’s a good thing. Because now you can get on with doing your proper work and leave all the word stuff to a professional.But how do you hire a copywriter? Where do you start?The good news is there are lots of good copywriters around. The bad news. Yep, you guessed it. There...