Tag Archives: job communication skills

Avoid Clichés: They’re Boring!

Woman yawning from your boring choice of phrase for writing.The utterances of political commentators are full of clichés:

The fact of the matter is … At the end of the day … He sucked all the oxygen out of the room …

A cliché is a phrase that is overused and lacks original thought. It could once have had meaning and novelty, but both of those characteristics have been lost through years of repetition.

Why should you avoid clichés? Continue

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As Language Evolves, Should You Follow The Trends?

dictionary_new_wordsLanguage continually evolves. At this time of year in particular, we consider words that have emerged to describe new fields, new products or new phenomena.

The Oxford English Dictionary listed 1,346 new words as of September 2016. Yikes!

nws.merriam-webster.com has introduced new words and slang from 2016. Submitted by the public, some are clever and useful, others are simply silly, and some are grammatically unsound.
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Email Salutations: Formal or Informal? Comma or Colon?

man_sending-emailEmail continues to be the predominant form of business communication, yet many business climates are becoming even more casual. What’s the best way to start a message? How formal or informal should your salutation be?

The best answer: It depends.

An email opening consists of a greeting and a name. It can set a formal, respectful tone or an informal, friendly tone.

Dear Mr. Lee:
Good morning, Brad.
Hi Brad!

A reader questioned whether to include a comma between an informal greeting and the person’s name: Continue

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Redundancies Make Me Want To Scream!

screaming_womanDo you have days when what should be minor irritations really get on your nerves?

So do I.

Are you sometimes so bombarded by messages from every source — human and electronic — that you’re on constant overload?

So am I.

With the amount of communication we all need to process daily, we owe it to each other to make our messages concise. That means avoiding redundancies.

Reminder: To see if a word might be redundant, question whether it is necessary for the reader to understand your message:
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Benefited vs. Benefitted: Single or Double t?

small_letter_tI’ve written in past blogs about whether you should double the t before adding ed or ing to benefit.

Because I often see benefitted and benefitting, I decided it was time to check other grammar sources:

The Associated Press Stylebook
The Chicago Manual of Style
Webster’s New World College Dictionary
grammarist.com
merriam-webster.com

All five agree that you generally double the final consonant and add ed or ing to words that end with a consonant: Continue

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Exclamation Points Convey Excitement, But Use Them With Care

exclamation_point_cautionWow!!! Have you noticed how often exclamation points are overused?!! It’s over the top!!!!

A reader weighed in on exclamation points in my recent blog on pet peeves:

“The exclamation point is overused to the point it has lost its intent in the communication I read.”

What is the intent of an exclamation point? Continue

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Content vs. Contents: What’s The Difference?

moving_boxes_contentsA colleague who was helping a family member move brought up content vs. contents. In her role as a technology expert, she deals with content in terms of words and images incorporated into websites, blogs and other electronic media.

But as a moving helper, she was dealing with the contents of a house and garage.

My google search proved that a seemingly direct word really is anything but. Here’s what I discovered: Continue

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Back-To-School Supplies: Who Needs Pencils?

girl_with_pecil_learning_cursiveIf you’ve walked into a Target or Walmart in the last few weeks, you know what season it is: Back to School.

Kids and parents are buzzing around shelves and bins of spiral notebooks, packets of lined filler paper, planners, colored pocket folders, pencils, pencil cases, Sharpies, highlighters, erasers and hand sanitizer.

But wait: Pencils? For what? Continue

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Misused Words: Did I Just Say That?!

man grimacing

I commented recently to a writer/editor friend that I have long considered there’s the most misused word in the English language. She gave me a puzzled look, as if to disagree but lacking evidence.

I could fill this page — or maybe a book! — with examples. Consider this sampling from weather forecasters to legislators, from financial specialists to everyday people. Continue

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