Archive for the ‘Common Mistakes’ Category
Can something be more than perfect? A little bit perfect? Or, if something’s one of a kind, can it be more one of a kind?
If you’re taking these ideas literally, the answer is no. Perfect, by definition, means there’s nothing better to be had. It’s as good as it can possibly be.
Perfect is what’s known as an absolute. Perfect is perfect; it doesn’t come in degrees of perfectness.
But what gets tricky, is that in everyday speech, absolutes like perfect get modified all the time. So, you may ask, is it ok to say “more perfect?”
Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s make this abundantly clear: it is perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition. Or rather: a preposition is something you can end a sentence with.
The supposed rule to not end a sentence with a preposition is one familiar even to people who don’t spend their Saturdays reading grammar books (cut me some slack – grammar can be more exciting than some fiction I’ve read).
But despite how often we’ve all heard this supposed rule, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, and what’s more, it’s not even supported by many grammarians.
It’s a tricky little word, folks, and a lot of people aren’t sure when or how to use it. So, consciously or not, most of us adopt one of two strategies for whom:
I don’t know what the heck this whom is all about, so I’m going to avoid it. Besides, it sounds pretentious and awkward, so screw it. I’m sticking with who all the time.
I’m not sure when to use it, but when in doubt, whom seems more formal and has to be right. So I’m going to just tack that little m on wherever it feels right.
So which is the best strategy? And what really is the right way to use whom?
Let me put it clearly – Strategy Two is bad. Read the rest of this entry »
Whether you’re selling crime fiction, pitching an idea to your boss, or hawking toupees, you need to let an audience know that what you’ve got is available. But that’s not enough. You need to say, “Hey, this is for sale and here’s why you care.”
And that last part is key.
So here’s my Supreme Rule of Marketing Writing:
It’s all about the benefit to the customer.
This is the first of my posts aimed at business writing. As the first, I thought I’d start with the easiest, quickest thing you can do to improve your communication. This is a trick that’s not just useful for marketing writing, but something you can, and should, use for just about any piece of writing you do from emails to fiction to blogs to (especially) term papers.
So what is this magic thing that can automatically improve your writing?