With everything (or nearly everything) happening on social media these days, we might forget how to write formally. And with that, I don't mean old-fashioned kind of language but just generally using "real" words.
Read on for more details.
Alot (one word) is a common misspelling of a lot (two words). "[W]e all may write alot one day," says The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage (2005), but for now "keep in mind that alot is still considered an error in print."
2. and etc.
Because the abbreviation etc. (from the Latin et cetera) means "and so on," and etc. is redundant. In any case, avoid using etc. in your essays: often it gives the impression that you simply can't think of anything else to add to a list.
Huckleberry Finn can get away with saying, "There warn't a sound anywheres," but on formal occasions drop the terminal s. If anywheres appears anywhere in your dictionary, it's probably labeled "nonstandard" or "dialectal."
4. could of (arrrrgh!)
Don't confuse this nonstandard form with the contraction could've. Could of (along with should of and would of) can and should be replaced by could have (and should have and would have).
This alternative form of the reflexive pronoun himself is commonly heard in certain dialects, but in formal writing steer clear of hisself (and theirself as well—though both were regarded as good usage in Middle and Early-Modern English).
The comparative form of far is farther or further. The superlative form is farthest or furthest. Nothing's gained by combining the two forms.
This double negative (ir- at the beginning and -less at the end) may not deserve Bryan Garner's label of "semiliterate . . . barbarism," but he's probably right that in print it "should have been stamped out long ago" (Garner's Modern American Usage, 2009). Use regardless instead.
Its is a possessive pronoun (like his or her). It's is a contraction of it is or it has. That leaves nothing for its' to do—so toss it.
9. let's us
Let's us means "let us." To avoid repetition, write lets ("She lets us play in her yard"), let's ("Let's play in her yard"), or let us ("Let us pray").
If you have the know-how to write, you don't need to be told to avoid nohow. Instead, use in no way or not at all.
So, do you use any of these?
Are you a good writer?Read Now
Some people are just great at writing, whether it is an email, a novel, or a business plan.
If you are not the most confident writer, read on.
Here are some tips for you to help with your writing
Some experts say that the font of your document should be Times New Roman, as that is easier to read when there is a lot of text.
Font size should be 12 pt, and spacing between lines 1.5
Spellcheck - computer vs human
After doing the computerized spellcheck, read again to see the things the computer doesn't know, i.e. the difference between ‘their', ‘there', and ‘they're'.
If you change a word at the last minute, make sure to read the whole sentence again, or even the paragraph, as it might be possible that you changed the intended meaning with just one word.
Let your story breathe … Give it a break, then proofread it. This will allow you to view your writing with fresh eyes.
Zoom into the document to make the writing larger – DO NOT change the font size! That will change any formatting you had done previously or that you are doing now.
Read out loud – if it sounds weird, there is probably something wrong and needs to be changed. Also, you immerse yourself even more into your story and find subtle inconsistencies.
Comma, semicolon, full stop
Wear Out Your Dictionary
Once you have a dictionary, use it as much as possible.
When you sit down to write and need a particular word, pause to consider the key ideas you want to convey. Start with a word that's in the ballpark. Look it up and go from there, exploring synonyms, roots, and usage notes.
Be Patient With Your Writing
If you can't find the right word for one sentence, check out the internet and see if you can find it. Even then, a word may be elusive, refusing to emerge from the mind one day only to arise from the subconscious the next. Be prepared to rewrite today what you revised yesterday.
I hope these suggestions help you to be as confident in your writing as possible.
An Example of Line-Editing and Copy-Editing on the same original passage
"The rising light of the sun was quickly brightening. Dawn was turning into morning. Alex finished reading her copy of the "New York Times" and put the paper down on the table, and then grabbed her ipod and put on Beyoncé's Crazy in Love and went out for her mourning run."
The result after a line-editor has helped the author to rework it so that it reads more fluidly:
"The dawn light brightened, giving way to morning. Alex tossed the "New York Times" onto the table, grabbed her ipod, and then put on Beyoncé's Crazy in Love as she headed out for her morning run."
Notice, the line-editor caught and fixed a couple of technical errors, i.e. the typo on the second use of "morning".
The result after the passage has been copy-edited for grammar and usage:
"The dawn light brightened, giving way to morning. Alex tossed the New York Times onto the table, grabbed her iPod, and put on Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" as she headed out for her morning run."
The order in which editing and proofreading should be done:
If you need help with any of these, contact me :)
Are you invisible?Read Now
Are you visible to your clients?
A lot of businesses or professionals develop their websites and other communications and forget to implement a simple and obvious way for others to contact them.
That’s what today’s blog is about.
Some ways to make yourself and your business more visible are:
I hope these suggestions help you to be as visible as possible to your clients!
Learn how to be a good leader to improve your team's engagement and success.
Anyone can sit in a corner office and delegate tasks. There is more to effective leadership than that though. Effective leaders have major impacts on the team members they manage as well as their company as a whole. Employees who work under great leaders tend to be happier, more productive, and usually more connected to their organisation. This has a ripple effect that reaches your business’s bottom line.
Read on for some thoughts.
Signs of poor leadership
If you look around and see that your team members have become disengaged or stagnant in their work, it may be a first sign of not leading your team effectively. It might be time to reassess and reform your strategies. Some signs to look out for are:
Some ideas to change this and become a better leader are:
Keep a positive attitude
As much as leaders wish their team’s day-to-day operations could run smoothly all the time, sometimes they run into the occasional obstacle. Whether it’s a minor miscommunication or a major error, the way you handle a negative situation says a lot about your leadership skills.
“Look at three positive things about a problem before you identify what makes it dissatisfying. The more you look at the positives in a problem, the more positively people react with one another.” (Robert Mann)
A positive environment is more likely to create a more engaged and productive workforce.
Teach employees instead of giving orders
An effective leader knows how to show others what is required, rather than simply telling them.
Leaders should coach their team members toward a more collaborative, committed work environment.
If you are controlling people to do certain things in certain ways, you’re not going to get the level of engagement that you’re looking for.
Coach them, this is about helping the people you lead recognize the choices they have in front of them. It makes them take ownership of the direction of the project.
Don't simply bark orders at team members, rather, as a good leader, encourage growth by teaching.
People won't grow if leaders never teach them anything.
Set clear employee goals and expectations
Setting clear goals and employee expectations for your team is key to employee success. When setting these objectives, encourage employee questions and feedback.
Include them in the process, this can increase engagement.
If a leader wants to motivate and inspire their team, they need to keep their team in the know about their vision.
This will help employees to understand the end result they’re working towards as a unit. When goals are clearly set, everyone can track progress and identify achievements in a tangible manner.
Don’t let team member goals go static.
Revisit them from time to time to modify or rearrange them as needed. This will let your team members know that you are present and aware of what they are working on.
Are you a great Team leader?Read Now
Learn how to be a good leader to improve your team's engagement and success.
Learning to be a good leader can greatly impact the success of your team, your organisation, and yourself.
To be an effective leader, you must understand your own motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.
Great leaders connect with their team by facilitating open communication, encouraging employee growth and development.
Read on for some ideas.
Engage in honest, open communication
One of the most important elements of effective leadership is creating an open line of communication with your team members. Your own honesty and transparency should serve as an example for your team members.
With the responsibility of being a team leader there comes the importance to be straightforward. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself. If you make honest and ethical behaviour the key value, your team will follow.
Great leaders are able to suit their interactions and communication styles to each situation and team member, based on individual preferences. They take the time to get to know which communication mode is preferred by each team member (text, email, phone, or face-to-face). They are also great listeners and are authentically interested in other people.
When you display active communication skills and transparency this can build trust among your team. It is important though to be genuine. There’s genuine, and there’s fake.
Be the genuine one!
Connect with your team members
Leading a group of people requires a mutual sense of understanding and trust between the leader and their team. To achieve this, leaders need to learn to connect.
Look at it this way: being a “more human” leader requires positivity, purpose, empathy, compassion, humility, and love. This will put you on the road to genuine connections with the members of your team.
When you build a real, personal connection with your teammates, the trust necessary to build a strong culture of accountability and exceptional performance comes naturally.
If you know your team members’ personalities, interests, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies, and preferences, this will give you some insight into their goals and motivations.
Encourage personal and professional growth
Be the cheerleader of your team! This is an important part of being an effective leader. You need to be invested in their success and growth.
A small budget (could be very small) to dedicate to the growth of your employees pays off hundredfold.
There are so many options today, like on-demand, virtual (and) in-person learning, there’s a great opportunity to continue learning new skills or further developing existing ones.
Empower your employees to take the time to learn.
Employees like challenges and feeling the satisfaction of overcoming them. If it’s a tough client, a difficult sale, a hard situation, or whatever the case, it’s always good to let them take on these challenges.
When leaders believe in their employees and give them the opportunity to learn and grow, they might be surprised at how much they can accomplish. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and encourage freedom and creativity.
We live in an age of constant communication through multiple channels. Written correspondence can be as full of care and effort as a handwritten letter, or as “sweet and short” as a tweet or a text.
The line between professional vs. personal and formal vs. informal addressing of someone can blur these days. Conversation channels have often changed how we write, but we are still human, and we all appreciate being approached in the correct context of a relationship.
How we open and close our correspondence shows how much we know about the person we're speaking to and why we are contacting them. In today's world of content overload, we as careful writers want to ensure we engage each message and audience with language that fits.
If we're addressing someone we know well, i.e. a friend or a family member, a fail-safe salutation remains Dear (First Name). When sending an email, we usually write Hi, Hello, Greetings, or Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening.
Salutations in personal correspondence are followed with a comma (i.e. Dear Samantha,).
In a phrase (i.e., including more than one word) the norm would be to capitalize all words if it stands alone (i.e. Good Afternoon) and capitalize only the first letter if it includes a personal address (i.e. Good afternoon, George).
The closing phrase in personal written communication depends on the type of relationship and the tone the writer wants to convey. Just a few include:
The first word is typically the only one capitalized in a personal closing; however, we are free to capitalise all words if we want to.
Also note that personal closings are followed by a comma (i.e. Your friend,).
A business relationship can be close or distant, but in either case, we must remain aware of a professional context with proper boundaries and degrees of distance.
The salutation Dear (Name) can be used as the writer sees appropriate in business correspondence. The name can be the recipient's first name, full name, or last name preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Ms. If unsure of a recipient's gender, include the full name and exclude the prefix.
Salutations in business correspondence are followed by a colon (:) if formal or a comma if informal.
In any case, be diligent about spelling names correctly, including a person's use of hyphens and second capital letters (i.e. Mary Perkins-McMurtry as opposed to Mary Perkins Mcmurtry).
Often the salutation can include the person's title. Include the last name if it is known or exclude it if it isn't. This context will almost always be formal.
In today's business communication, we avoid the once-acceptable salutations Dear Sir or Madam and To Whom It May Concern. Such openings suggest the sender did not take the time to learn basic details about the recipient, and this may not make the best first impression.
To finish business correspondence, you can use one of several commonly accepted sign-offs as you believe fit. As with personal messages, first-word capitalization is considered standard.
Just like please and thank you, proper salutations and closings are small and simple investments that can help you reap desired returns.
Yes, you might think you can never ever have some time off. After all, you are your business and it is nothing without you – or is it?
1) Taking care of yourself is taking care of your business
It’s no news to us that your business is only as good as you are. If you don’t let yourself relax every now and then, you’re not doing what’s best for your bottom line.
2) Enjoy quality time with your friends or family
It’s no secret that spending quality time with family and friends is important, and business owners don’t seem to get enough of it. If anything, you deserve some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the people around you who make life worth living.
3) Distance creates perspective
Getting away will allow you to get out of the rut and gain some new perspective. Meeting new people, experiencing new things, and just getting some time to think can give you some much-needed distance from your business.
Now that you understand that it’s better for you and your business to take a vacation, let’s look at five steps to prepare your business for your well-deserved break.
Check your calendar
Summer might be your busy season. Still, find a time in your schedule that has the least amount of meetings and deliverables due. Select those dates and block out the time you need to get away.
Prepare your employees
Select someone you trust to be in charge in your absence. Your vacation is an opportunity for that team member to step up and prove themselves. They’ll want it, and they won’t want to let you down. Make sure that person knows what decisions they are allowed to make and what needs to wait until your return. That person should also know where you are and how to reach you, in case of an emergency.
Let your clients know about you taking a break
If you have a client-based business, let them know that you’re leaving for a short period and when you will be back. Make sure they know whom to contact in your absence and make sure that person knows about any current issues your clients are facing.
Wi-Fi is everywhere
There aren’t many places left in the world where you can’t get online if you need to. If there is an emergency, you’ll be able to get in touch and address the issue.
Schedule check-in times
I know it could be seen as counterintuitive to everything else in this article. But - 15 minutes of checking your email in the evening will keep you up to date on any issues and will give you peace of mind that your business isn’t burning down without you there. Select an agreed-upon time of day and, of course, a time limit of checking in before you leave to avoid any squabbles during your vacation.
If you don't know where to start, contact me, I can help you prepare for your well-deserved break.
some thoughts on websitesRead Now
Some people are really appalled by spelling mistakes on a website because it seems unprofessional. I know you are NOT unprofessional; you are probably very good at what you are doing, that’s your focus and rightly so!
My focus is on spelling and grammar, and on performing website polishes, so your potential clients will stay on your website!
Read on for some facts and ideas you might not have thought of before.
When was the last time you polished your website?
Good spelling, correct grammar and the appropriate use of punctuation will give page visitors more confidence in the person (or the company) communicating with them. Spelling errors and grammatical mistakes can change the meaning of your message, which might result in misinformation.
“PR and marketing pros know that poorly written press releases and messaging have a detrimental impact on press pick-up and audience engagement. But website content is often not run through the same rigours as other content marketing copy—and new research by web services comparison site Website Planet reports that U.S. businesses with bad grammar and spelling mistakes on their websites will lose almost double the number of potential customers than those with typo-free sites. ..."
Website users learn what your organisation has to offer through the written word
A website is often the first point of contact for new customers. It should showcase your product or service and inform, educate, and engage your audience in the best possible way. It’s your ‘first impression’ stage so to speak and there is no doubt that this counts.
It has been reported that the timespan for capturing attention on a website is just six seconds!
Of course, design is important for a good first impression, but the user still has to learn what your organisation has to offer through the written word.
What impact then does it have if there are typos, spelling or grammatical errors throughout your website copy? What does your organisation’s credibility or brand stand to lose by failing to take steps to ensure its online copy is proof-perfect?
Have you ever left a website because it drives you crazy how slow it loads?
Recent studies show that the slower a website is, the worse the general user response. In 2019, Google observed that even a one-second delay in page load reduces conversion by 20%.
We want instant results …
It pays to know when you should use which file format, as changing usually decreases file size.
· GIF is ideal for images with few colours like logos.
· JPEG is great for images with lots of colours and details like photographs.
· PNG is the choice when you need high-quality transparent images.
If, for example, you need a 100x100px image and you have a 700x700px image, you can use a web-based image editor to resize the image to the needed dimensions. This lowers the file size of the image, thus decreasing page loading times.
The more images you use on your page and the bigger they are, the longer it will take to deliver the content to your potential customers.
Grammar on websites - how important is it?
Research found that visitors leave quicker when there are mistakes on the website—the time on site was reduced by 8 % on landing pages with deliberate typos and grammatical errors placed in them.
The longer-term outcome of people quickly leaving a site is that it’s penalized by Google because one of the metrics Google uses to rank your site is the bounce rate. High bounce rates signal to Google that a site is not trustworthy and therefore lowers its position in the organic Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
The same applies to Google Ads: the research found that web visitors are 70 % less likely to click on Google Ads with a spelling or grammar mistake. Since these ads receive fewer clicks, Google also lowered their position.
𝑪𝒉𝒆𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒌𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒂𝒗𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐!
When you write a lot it might pay for you to take note of the tips in today's blog post.
There are a few ways you can check your own writing to make sure it sounds right, is (reasonably) free of errors, and generally is easy to read (unless, of course, you don't want your reader to understand you).
Editors do a lot more than catch errors. They tighten your text and make it more effective in conveying your message to your audience.
A text that hasn’t been professionally edited can often be spotted as easily as fridge art can be distinguished from gallery art. But that's for another day!
Some experts say that the font of your document should be Times New Roman (TNR). If you write a lot, it makes it easier to read, and I have found this to be true.
Font size should be 12 pt and the spacing between lines best be 1.5
Your eyes catch additional spaces easier this way as well as any misspellings.
This leads to the next point.
Zoom into the document if you have trouble reading it.
I would NOT recommend that you make the font larger, as that will change any formatting you had done, and once you add or delete text it will be harder to re-do the formatting to the same standard as you had it before.
I always use the Editor function in MS Word to have those most obvious spelling mistakes or grammar checked. Be aware of the language setting though, if you compare British English with American English, for example, there are quite a few differences. Thankfully Word shows you which English it recommends the amendments for; just keep that in mind!
After doing the computerized spellcheck, read again to see the things the computer doesn't know, i.e. the difference between ‘their', ‘there' and ‘they're'.
If you change a word at the last minute, make sure that you read the whole sentence again, or even the paragraph, as it might be possible that you changed the intended meaning with just one word. It happens - don't dismiss this idea!
When you read out loud, you will hear those differences.
And finally - let your story breathe … of course, only if time allows. Give it a break, then proofread it. This will allow you to view your writing with fresh eyes.