Posts tagged ‘Grammar’

In principal, the principle is right…

Wondering what’s wrong here? Or do you find this sentence completely acceptable? In case of the latter, you may need some help with your spelling.

Common mistakes

Some common spelling mistakes apart from the ‘principal’ who generally leads a school and hopefully has some ‘principles’, include:

–          accommodation spelled as ‘accomodation’

–          sought after spelled as ‘sort after’

–          stationery as in writing utensils spelled as ‘stationary’ as in not moving

–          their as in their house, i.e. the house they own, spelled as either ’they’re’ meaning they are or ‘there’ as in there’s a good boy

Why is this important for me?

In the age of social media, open resources and open communication, it is important to be professional. Spelling mistakes certainly undermine this image. Spelling and grammar mistakes are also still one of the most common pitfalls in CVs.

Where can I get help?

There are plenty of resources on the web that can help, for example you can check the 100 most often mispelled misspelled words in English or view an extensive list of commonly misspelled words on good old Wikipedia.

The safer and more professional option, however, is to use a local provider of proofreading and editing services.

Advertisements

March 24, 2010 at 7:08 am Leave a comment

Honing your editing skills

I went to a TCANZ workshop called “Honing your editing skills” at the end of last month and wanted to share some of the stuff I learnt.

The instructor

The instructor, Howard Warner, is an experienced editor and plain English enthusiast from Auckland. He is the founder and director of Plain English People.

Types of editing

I found that the most valuable thing I learnt was to define the “discrete stages” that make up the editing process which are:

  • Structural editing
  • Sentence level editing
  • Proofreading

Structural editing

Make sure the necessary sections are there, ordered correctly and weighted appropriately; and that text is divided up into manageable, readable chunks.

Sentence level editing

Check for “a light texture”, consistency, clarity, and accuracy. Ensure short sentences, active voice, common words, etc.

Proofreading

Ensure correct, consistent punctuation; correct spelling, capital letters, consistent terminology, consistent formatting.

Editing & Information Mapping

A properly Information-Mapped document won’t need structural editing. It also helps with some parts of copy editing and formatting, though I think these are still quite separate and still need to be done.

March 11, 2010 at 5:40 am Leave a comment

I hear what you’re saying!

Let’s think outside the box for a minute: who, at this moment in time, wouldn’t like to see a paradigm shift?

Got a problem or two with the sentence above? So do I. And you and I are not alone. It seems that Kiwis are really fed up when it comes to management speak – read a refreshing discussion on the worst office jargon here. An article in the National Business Review also triggered a number of interesting comments on the same subject.

A recent survey by Opinium research in the UK found that after grumpy or moody colleagues (37%), slow computers (36%) and small talk/gossip (19), the use of office jargon is the fourth-biggest office annoyance (18%). The 1,836 people surveyed voted the most annoying phrases to be ‘thinking outside the box’ (21%), ‘let’s touch base’ (20%) and ‘blue sky thinking’ (19%). The readers’ comments on Yahoo!xtra NEWS are rather entertaining to read!

Do you have an opinion on the use of office jargon or a particularly good example to add? Leave a comment!

February 18, 2010 at 4:17 am 2 comments

Documents that (don’t) work

Have you ever come across a document that didn’t work for you? I bet you have. Just last week, I encountered a small yet relevant example myself.

The document…

I was delivered a parcel and because I wasn’t home, the courier service left me a card detailing what to do to arrange for a re-delivery or pick-up. I had the choice of having the parcel re-delivered to the same address, to a different address or picking it up myself. The card also provided additional instructions; it told me how soon items could be re-delivered and that I needed to present an ID when I wanted my item re-delivered to a different address. So far, so good.

worked for me…

I decided to pick up my parcel. The card provided the pick-up location and opening hours which was great. Of course, the pick-up location for couriers often happens to be a bit further out of town. I have a car, so I’m lucky. I got there, parked my car close-by (plenty of parking available) and made my way to the counter where I was greeted not only by a friendly member of staff but also by a sign stating that an ID must be presented to collect the item.

but wouldn’t have worked for Bob…

I said I was lucky. All I had to do is march back to my car and get my driver licence. However, I could have been an elderly person without a car and no driver licence. Let’s call him Bob. Since the card did not tell Bob to bring along an ID to pick up his parcel, I doubt that he would have thought of taking his passport (or birth certificate).

yet could work easily for everyone…

One additional instruction on the card could have helped Bob and prevented him from having to embark on a strenuous bus journey across town twice.

Sometimes it’s only one extra line that can make a document so much more user-friendly, but often it’s more than that. Think of seemingly contradicting instructions on how to put together a shelf, or the latest letter from your bank that requires a degree in accounting or finance to understand it.

If you want to know how to write documents that work, check out our free information session.

January 27, 2010 at 8:56 pm Leave a comment


Information Mapping Partner

Recent Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16 other followers