The Times’ spelling bee

A headline in The Times, page 49 today: “Public prosecutor can issue arrrest (sic) warrant”.  With my mild dyslexia I often have to look at the typos published in Private Eye several times to get them.  But this one just leapt off the page. Three “r’s” in arrest? Is that coded message from the The Read More

What’s in a word?

Well, I think practically everything. I’m helping a client to recruit at the moment, and I’d almost forgotten what a depressing exercise it can be in so many ways. Politely acknowledging every single application, without giving away too much, or innocently exposing yourself to some speculative lawsuit because you have somehow omitted a specific aspect Read More

SO what DO you call a blog alert…?

 Isn’t our language fabulous? When I deliver my copywriting training sessions, I always try to include the startling fact that although the Oxford English Dictionary accepts (for Scrabble?) and includes over 600,000 different words in the English language, our average written vocabulary in the UK is a paltry 4,000 words. Shakespeare in contrast employed over 15,000 different Read More

LOL he exclaimed!

Have you noticed how even the smallest change in punctuation or emphasis utterly transforms the tone, and therefore the meaning, of an email? As an example, let’s take the case of a very brief reply to an associate, confirming the time and place for a meeting: OK, it’ a date I received this yesterday, and it Read More

Spending cuts – where’s the upside?

I know this concept is hard to imagine, especially as there are so many downsides.  Job losses and reductions in public service, to name just two that will affect many of us. And sadly, even this blog post isn’t really date-sensitive, as these cuts will be here for many, many  years to come… The one effect I’ll be watching Read More

Does email need etiquette…?

I have a friend whose emails always impress me. He never wastes a single word, yet all of his messages are entertaining, informative, brief, and usually very, very amusing. He has a real talent. As a writer I try to take great care of my emails, so always spellcheck them, for example. Once with the built-in spellchecker, then again using my own Read More

Established since 1973

This was the slogan painted on the side of a van I saw this morning. Confusing isn’t it? Potential meanings include: 1. The company existed prior to 1973, but only really felt like a proper business in that year 2. Yes, the business was established in 1973 3. Before 1973 it was really a fly-by-night cowboy outfit. Only Read More

Are TESCO off their trolley?

The old truism – and I’m usually an avowed disciple – is that “it’s not what you say, but how you say it”… Well in most cases this is accurate – tone, style and context often convey much more of the message than the words themselves. So I was very amused to see this marketing professional’s post-mortem of a recent Read More

I had to read it twice…

…but for all the wrong reasons! I got this in my inbox today, from a respected trade body. Of course the spelling and grammar mistakes could be put down to an administrative oversight, but that still doesn’t really excuse the poor tone of voice… ——————————————————————————————————————- Hi Craig, The IAB has a busy training scedule planned in Read More