Articles

Why underlining could make you look like a dinosaur
21 February 2020

Why underlining could make you look like a dinosaur

Underlining is still sometimes used in headings or to emphasise words in workplace communications. Doing so could make you, or your organisation, look like a dinosaur. Find out why.

It's about them not you: getting better results from written communications
14 February 2020

It's about them not you: getting better results from written communications

When we have a lot to say about a subject, we may find it relatively straightforward to write down our thoughts. We know what's important to us and we know what we want to tell our reader. The danger is, we may end up with a lot of words on the page that fail to communicate anything to our reader or bring about meaningful change. A subtle shift in the way you write can change this perspective and give you a competitive edge.

How to get the most out of your writing consultant
7 February 2020

How to get the most out of your writing consultant

If you’re pushed for time or you want to give your report or flyer a professional polish, contracting a professional writer or editor is a wise investment. Qualifications, experience and expertise fluctuates wildly between writers and editors, so it’s important to take the time to get the right match. Find out how to avoid some of the pitfalls of hiring a professional writer or editor.

Australian words that defined a decade
24 January 2020

Australian words that defined a decade

Around 1,000 words are added to the English language every year. Each December, the Australian public votes on their favourite word. Find out Macquarie Dictionary's winning People's Choice words for the last decade.

Loaded meanings: the challenge of choosing the right word
17 January 2020

Loaded meanings: the challenge of choosing the right word

In times of crisis, or when trying to convey a sensitive message, it can be difficult to find the right words. Dictionaries help us by providing definitions, but these definitions don’t always convey the emotions or deeper meaning behind a word. Can we be sure our readers will infer the meaning we intended?

A few words speak a thousand truths
10 January 2020

A few words speak a thousand truths

It’s tempting to fill a page with a lot of words. We want our work to look impressive and prove that we have indeed laboured hard. We may even hope all these words will make us look smarter, more knowledgeable. Yet it’s the few powerful phrases that become etched in our memories, not the long-winded diatribes. So when renowned actor Cate Blanchett said recently ‘When one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster’ she encapsulated in a few words a thousand truths. 

Christmas, Xmas, Noël and Jul: which came first?
13 December 2019

Christmas, Xmas, Noël and Jul: which came first?

Depending on which part of the world you are in, you’ll be greeted by one of the many forms of well-wishing at the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. In English-speaking countries, you’ll hear ‘merry Christmas’, in France ‘joyeux Noël’ and Sweden and Norway, ‘god Jul’ (pronounced ‘yule’). Which came first and what do they each mean?

Making sense of sentences: 3 traps to avoid
18 November 2019

Making sense of sentences: 3 traps to avoid

Poor sentence structure is one of the most common ways workplace written communications, such as emails, become derailed. Although there are many ways to increase readability, sentences are the basic unit of writing. If your sentences are long, verbose or poorly structured, you'll very quickly lose your reader. Avoid these three common sentence traps at all cost.

Building confidence in the age of disinformation
14 October 2019

Building confidence in the age of disinformation

Whether it’s a clever marketing message or deliberate disinformation, the written word can lull us into a sense of false security or catapult us into panic. As information flies around the world at breakneck speed on social media and other platforms, words rain relentlessly down on us.  With disinformation and fake news on the rise, as organisations we have an even greater obligation to give our readers confidence that the content we generate is trustworthy.

Quotation marks: single or double?
27 September 2019

Quotation marks: single or double?

When do you use double quotation marks and when do you use single? Is it correct to use quotation marks to emphasise a word? Do you need to italicise quoted material? Although they may seem like insignificant marks on the page, quotation marks (also known as inverted commas) are designed to add clarity to the meaning of your communication, so it's worth learning how to get them right.