Frank Bruni Asks a Good Question

I’ve been thinking about writing a column on this subject for a long time. Then I saw that Frank Bruni of the Times beat me to it, and did so beautifully. I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t try.

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Politically Correct? Or is it Time for a New Vocabulary?

We all know words have power. Take the vocabulary of incarceration – the stigmatizing way we speak about people who have served time. Studies show that the words we choose – “felon,” “ex-convict” or “ex-offender” – present a significant barrier to reintegration. While people are certainly responsible for their actions, there is little room for […]

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Tech Can Stifle Language Skills? Duh!

It’s becoming abundantly clear that our technology does not necessarily help us increase our language (and writing) skills or our ability to learn. My fellow writers and communication professionals – and especially parents – should take heed. Here’s some of the evidence: Tech Toys A recent online article in JAMA Pediatrics reported that electronic toys […]

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The Obfuscating (Incomprehensible) Language of Finance

Many people – maybe most people – feel put off and insecure discussing the subjects of finance and economics. It’s almost like talking about serious health concerns with a doctor who only uses medical lingo. Many of us don’t have the training to understand, so we smile, weakly, and nod our heads. But whether it’s […]

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What to Leave Out: Tips From a Professional Writing Services Veteran

It’s challenging enough to decide what to put into your written work, but good writing, or at least better writing, may be the result of what you leave out, according to one of the most experienced professional writing services providers – me.   Here are some tips: Avoid modifers (adjectives/adverbs) as much as possible It […]

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New Brain Data Can Improve Professional Writing Service Results

Whether you provide a professional writing service or you write because your boss tells you to, new and revealing data about how your brain works can guide you. One example: using positive language is beneficial to the brain and helps you avoid confusion and penetrate your target audience.

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I REALLY Want You to Read This VERY Important Post THAT Will Improve Your Writing

Mark Twain is supposed to have said, “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” The words “very” or “really” are supposed to increase the impact of a word but you’re not adding anything descriptive or insightful for the […]

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8 Words to Avoid When You Need to Talk About Yourself

First in a series: Words to Avoid We all know that in business, certain words get overused and become clichés. And in our highly connected world, it happens pretty darn fast. In some of these cases, and in other instances, some word choices are just not right, because they give the wrong impression. Here are […]

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Lessons from a Sunday Obituary

An obituary got me thinking. The obituary announced the death of renowned Arkansas poet Miller Williams, who was celebrated for using everyday language in his verse. The short poem cited in the piece – titled “Compassion” – moved me, as it did Miller’s daughter, the country singer Lucinda Williams, who used her father’s spare lines […]

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The Fine Art of Baloney Detection

With social and traditional media burning up with all kinds of questionable information and messages, it’s a good time to make sure you’re targeting your communications to the people you want to reach. Can you visualize that person, understand his or her needs and frustrations, and address them? If so, you’ll have a much better chance to connect and they’ll be willing to listen.

But in today’s hyped-up media world, you also have to address and overcome the fine art of baloney detection, a term coined by the late, great public scientist Carl Sagan, who shared his thoughts about upholding reason in the face of shameless untruths and propaganda.

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