Writing About Writing

March 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Last week I wrote an essay on tone of voice and this week I wrote an essay on building a mini style guide for your business copy. Really, the second one should have been part of the first but as they were both closing in on 2,000 words, I thought not.

I spend Sunday mornings making decisions about full stops in titles so you don’t have to. Go read.

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Faves From The Guardian Style Guide

December 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Guardian’s style guide is written how I would write – HAVE written – a style guide.

attorney general
lc, no hyphen; plural attorney generals (there will be those who tell you it should be “attorneys general” – See berks and wankers)

anorexic
is not a superlative of thin. Anorexia is an illness. Like schizophrenia, it should not be used as a cheap and lazy metaphor. Anyone who thinks of using a phrase such as “positively anorexic” should think again

amid
not amidst.
Things fall against a backdrop, not amid one. If something is amid the backdrop, it’s part of it, and thus completely unremarkable. Some cliches make the news sound tired; this one makes the news sound as if it’s not news at all

dangling participle

This particularly exotic dangling participle somehow found its way into the paper: “Though long-legged and possessing a lovely smile, gentleman journalists aren’t looking up her skirt and wouldn’t even if she weren’t gay…”

delivery
the arrival of a baby, letter or parcel; also widely found in such gruesome examples of marketing-speak as “delivering care” or “delivering quality and value”

digitalise
administer digitoxin (extracted from foxglove leaves) to treat heart conditions; digitise transcribe data into digital format

Useful to know.

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