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Gonna, wanna and cos: bad grammar or accepted modern usage?
12 August 2019

Gonna, wanna and cos: bad grammar or accepted modern usage?

Listen carefully to many native English speakers and you’re more likely to hear them say ‘gonna’, ‘wanna’ and ‘cos’ rather than a clearly enunciated ‘going to’, ‘want to’ and ‘because’. Known as 'reductions' (lost sounds in words), these casual forms have also been infiltrating written communications including emails, social media posts and newspaper articles. But are these terms acceptable in business writing?

What’s the difference between enquiry and inquiry, program and programme?
12 August 2019

What’s the difference between enquiry and inquiry, program and programme?

There are many words in English that sound the same but are spelled differently. Two of these are 'enquiry' and 'inquiry', and 'program' and 'programme'. Is there a difference in meaning? Or does it simply come down to personal preference?

Avoid these 3 plain English traps at all costs
5 August 2019

Avoid these 3 plain English traps at all costs

When we speak, most of us use plain English. Yet, many people believe they need to switch to a complicated, formal and bureaucratic style when they write at work. Several decades ago, your employer may have expected such a style in written communications. It is certainly not appropriate today. We need to take the effort to make our message crystal clear. To achieve this clarity in writing, watch out for these three common traps.

Achieving consistency: why you need to check the style guide
26 July 2019

Achieving consistency: why you need to check the style guide

Which is correct? Single or double quotation marks? Do lists take a semicolon at the end of each bullet point? While it might seem pedantic, checking these details and consistently applying your organisation's preferred style will raise the professionalism of your writing.

Spotting typos: why it's so hard
17 May 2019

Spotting typos: why it's so hard

You’ve checked your report a dozen times, each time finding several ‘new’ typos. They seem to come out of the woodwork. If you see a mistake that you’re sure you fixed last time, you might even begin to believe aliens are sabotaging your work. Despite best efforts, everyone makes typographical errors. So why is it so hard to spot typos in our own work?

The 5 basic building blocks of sound business writing
6 May 2019

The 5 basic building blocks of sound business writing

When you write emails or reports at work, you may find it difficult to identify whether your communication is easy to read. After all, you know what you mean, so surely your reader will too. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. To get the best results from your written communications at work, make sure you use these five basic building blocks.

Pre-employment writing tests: do we need them?
21 February 2019

Pre-employment writing tests: do we need them?

Fixing team members’ writing is an all too time-consuming part of many people leaders’ role. Poor written communications not only cause frustration and inefficiency, they can result in poor team engagement and job dissatisfaction. In turn, this leads to performance issues and increased staff turnover.

How professional writing adds value to business communications
4 February 2019

How professional writing adds value to business communications

By the time we start our first job, we will have written billions of words. But does our primary, secondary or even tertiary education really train us for the kind of communications we need to write at work? 

Should defined terms begin with a capital letter?
14 December 2018

Should defined terms begin with a capital letter?

Putting a capital letter at the beginning of a term that has been defined within a document is a technique sometimes used to identify these terms throughout the document. Does this technique help or hinder the reader?

How to avoid a word and brand clash
7 November 2018

How to avoid a word and brand clash

When you use outdated words, you not only risk misunderstanding, but you may inadvertently create a mismatch between your written communications and your brand. These words can also alienate your reader. Find out what words are 'in' and what words are 'out' in business writing.