Articles

Reputations at work: what kind of writer are you?
22 January 2021

Reputations at work: what kind of writer are you?

If one of your goals for 2021 is to improve your writing skills, the first step is to think about your writing style. Do your reports tend to be an avalanche of random ideas? Do you flood your readers with too much information, or pad out your communications with unnecessary or outdated words and phrases?

Pavlova: how a friendly rivalry unites us
4 December 2020

Pavlova: how a friendly rivalry unites us

If you’re spending Christmas Day in the sweltering heat of an Australian summer, you could well be melting your taste buds with a deliciously sweet pavlova for dessert. Until recently, I had always looked on this fluffy meringue shell topped with cream and fruit, as the quintessential Australian dessert. Find out the real origins of the mighty pav.

Three of the most annoying phrases in business writing
30 November 2020

Three of the most annoying phrases in business writing

As we manage and adapt to the organisational challenges we have faced in 2020, it's often the little annoyances that make us boil over. Certain words and phrases begin to grate on us and distract us from the actual message. Here are 3 loathsome phrases frequently used in business writing to avoid at all costs.

 

Capital letters: avoid these 3 common errors
13 November 2020

Capital letters: avoid these 3 common errors

Misuse of capital letters may not only be grammatically incorrect but could make your meaning unclear. Too many initial capitals can also be distracting for the reader and make your writing appear amateurish. Using initial capital letters correctly will increase readability and enhance your personal and professional credibility.

It's all about Google: or is it?
6 November 2020

It's all about Google: or is it?

Being able to connect with your reader is fundamental to any written communication. This is not a new concept. In the digital age there are additional hurdles we need to overcome if we want to stay ahead of the race. With the potential barriers of reading from a screen rather than the printed page, and increasingly sophisticated search engines that prioritise easy-to-read content, producing high-quality written communications has become more critical than ever.

The language of the Victorian slum
31 October 2020

The language of the Victorian slum

Like other momentous times in history, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has brought new words, as well as new meanings from old words, into our everyday language. In an effort to stop the spread of the new disease COVID-19, we are going in and out of iso and social distancing. Industrialisation in Victorian England also generated new words from  ‘shoddy’  to ‘sweater’ to  ‘sandwich men.’  Variations of these words are still used today, sometimes with new connotations.

Answers to the 10 most frequently asked writing style questions
23 October 2020

Answers to the 10 most frequently asked writing style questions

There are many opportunities in written communications to create inconsistencies of style. But how do you know when to use single or double quotation marks? How do you punctuate lists and is it okay to use acronyms? Find out the answers to these questions and more.

Using apostrophes to show possession
19 October 2020

Using apostrophes to show possession

When do we need to use apostrophes and why does the apostrophe sometimes come after the ‘s’ and sometimes before it? Using apostrophes to show possession or ownership is essential in written English to clarify meaning. All possessives, except for the word ‘its’, need an apostrophe and an ‘s’  at the end. Sometimes the concept of ownership is easy to work out; at other times it’s not so straightforward. 

The last straw: literally and figuratively
9 October 2020

The last straw: literally and figuratively

With South Australia recently becoming the first Australian state to introduce laws banning some single-use plastics, including cutlery, straws and stirrers, I was reminded of the many English expressions that involve straws. Have you ever drawn the short straw or had something happen that felt like the last straw?

Report writing training: 7 warning signs managers can't afford to ignore
27 September 2020

Report writing training: 7 warning signs managers can't afford to ignore

Unfortunately, our school system and many university degrees don't prepare students for writing at work. Many people are unaware their reports are unclear, unless the report's weaknesses are pointed out to them by a manager. Find out 7 of the most common report writing pitfalls that can be avoided through report writing training.