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What's the difference between tense and voice in English?
9 September 2018

What's the difference between tense and voice in English?

Many people confuse tense with active and passive voice. This is because the way we construct a passive voice sentence sometimes makes it appear to be in the past tense. But tense and voice actually have two different purposes. 

Why do people say 'Pardon my French'?
28 August 2018

Why do people say 'Pardon my French'?

The term ‘pardon my French’ has been commonly used for the past 120 years or so to excuse the fact that you are about to swear or use offensive language. Do the French really swear more than anyone else? What did this phrase originally mean and how did it come about?

How to avoid embarrassing word blunders
13 August 2018

How to avoid embarrassing word blunders

Are you savvy or suave? Or both? Is your idea practical or practicable? English is a wonderfully flexible language full of foreign words, subtlety of meaning and quirky spelling. This means we have to keep our wits about us and not rely too heavily on the spell checker. Words that sound the same or similar is an area where many people trip up. 

 

Three quick tricks for reducing typos
27 July 2018

Three quick tricks for reducing typos

In our haste to meet a deadline we often either skip or rush the final stage of the writing process – checking our work for errors. Alternatively, we become so familiar with what we’ve written we no longer see the errors. Both these scenarios are common; we’ve all been there. If you find spotting errors challenging, try these three simple techniques.

Four tips for writing brilliant bulleted lists
16 July 2018

Four tips for writing brilliant bulleted lists

Often called ‘dot points’, bulleted lists can be used effectively in business writing to break up large slabs of text or to make information stand out. A well-structured list will make your report, email or other communication easier to read. But there are a few traps that could derail your list and your reader. Once aware of these traps, you can quickly get your list back on track.

Three quick ways to make your writing more concise
2 July 2018

Three quick ways to make your writing more concise

Your first draft of any written communication is likely to be wordier than it needs to be. This is normal. Even professional writers go back and refine their work to make it more concise. Small revisions can make a big impact, so at least one revision is always worth it. If you're under pressure, read on to find out three quick and effective editing tricks.

Australia's written communication crisis: 5 warning signs
19 June 2018

Australia's written communication crisis: 5 warning signs

If Australia is to prosper in the global knowledge economy, the ability to write clearly and concisely is essential. Yet many staff struggle to write clear, concise and grammatically correct communications. Is your team's writing up to standard? Be alert to these critical warning signs.

Reversing the damaging effects of legalese
8 June 2018

Reversing the damaging effects of legalese

It's over 30 years since the global plain English movement began in earnest. Yet many legal documents in Australia are still incomprehensible to most of us. In some cases, even judges and experienced lawyers have difficulty understanding them. If we are to follow and practise the law, most people agree these very laws need to be clear, not obscure. If organisations are to comply with regulations, staff must clearly understand what their compliance obligations are. 

Avoid these three common annual reporting mistakes
1 June 2018

Avoid these three common annual reporting mistakes

Although an important and necessary task, coordinating and writing the annual report often has to be squeezed between other more pressing tasks. This can result in a stressful scramble to meet tight deadlines and a less-than-perfect report. By avoiding these common annual report writing pitfalls, and contracting an ace editorial team, you'll save time and get a better result.

Three quick tricks to make your writing more professional
27 May 2018

Three quick tricks to make your writing more professional

When I review a piece of writing – whether it be a website, internal report or promotional flyer – I can tell straight away whether it has been written or edited by a professional. The clues not only come from the way the words are put together and whether the grammar is correct, but from three little tell-tale signs.