Editing & Proofreading

11 Jan 2010
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TEN WORDS TO LEARN HOW TO SPELL IN 2010

Make any resolutions this year? I’m going to propose you make one more: Polish your emails. Write flawless notes. Look smarter. Check out this hilarious cartoon on The Oatmeal’s site, Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling. It outlines some of the most commonly misspelled words (and yes, even the best of us make these […]

05 Dec 2009
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BRING VS. TAKE. YOU ONLY THINK YOU KNOW HOW TO USE THESE.

So, here’s the thing. You probably think you know how to use bring and take. I bring books here. I take books there. Right? Easy smeasy. You “take baby wipes with you” to the store, because you are at the house and you are going to go to the store. Now, if your wife is […]

01 Dec 2009
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HOW TO REMEMBER TO COMPLIMENT OR COMPLEMENT

Ok, so I admit. I always have to look this one up. I finally figured out a way to remember it. When you complEment something, you are complEting it. As in, your bracelet complements your blouse. When you compliment someone, you’re just saying something nice about them. Now, if I can just figure out a […]

19 Nov 2009
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“THAT” VS. “WHICH”

Today, one of our most grammar-savvy clients emailed us with a question. She asked: If a sentence says, ‘A policy (that/which) protects the merchant against penalties… ’ should you use ‘that’ or ‘which’? And why? I wasn’t 100 percent sure I knew the right answer. I was pretty sure. Mostly sure. But not totally sure. […]

04 Sep 2009
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WHY COPYWRITERS AND JOURNALISTS JUST CAN’T GET ALONG

Versatile writers are hard to find. For a long time I was surprised when I’d get great journalism samples from a writer, but the minute I put them on a copywriting project, it was a total flop – and vice versa. But I’ve finally discovered the disconnect: the real reason that some writers have such […]

03 Feb 2009
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A QUICK GUIDE TO PUNCTUATION

Punctuation may seem like a small thing: After all, what’s so bad about one, teeny-tiny misplaced comma or the occasional wayward apostrophe? Nobody pays attention to  that stuff, right? Wrong. Bad punctuation – whether it’s in your web copy, your newsletter, or even in an email to a prospective client – is a credibility killer, […]

07 Jan 2009
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MOST STUPIDEST GRAMMATICAL MISTAKES

Hopefully you’ve already met the New Year refreshed and invigorated – and you’re still on top of those resolutions. I suggest adding another resolution to the list: No more absolutely embarrassing, lowest of the low, flat-out dumb grammatical mistakes. Grammar certainly isn’t for everyone (non-essential relative clauses? Gross.). But some rules – especially the most […]

13 Apr 2008
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STICKING TO THE RULES

The thing about the English language is that when it can, it defies most of the rules. The “rules” are so loose that they’re more like guidelines or suggestions – and a lot of people out there want to give you their interpretation of the language. There’s the Associated Press Stylebook, New York Times Manual […]

01 Apr 2008
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PACK MORE PUNCH INTO YOUR PROOFREADING

I find that most writers approach proofreading as a dreaded afterthought. Once they finish the actual writing, the idea of poring over their copy one last time to discover tiny errors seems…loathsome. Trust me, proofreading is infinitely important. Nothing looks sloppier than using “your” when you should have used “you’re.” Or misspelling the name of […]

27 Mar 2008
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REDUNDANT AND REPETITIVE

There is a lot to be said of brevity. Shakespeare wrote somewhat ironically through the mouthpiece of the long-winded Polonius in Hamlet that “brevity is the soul of wit.” And William Strunk reminds us in Elements of Style that “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason […]