Articles

Answers to the 10 most frequently asked writing style questions
23 October 2020

Answers to the 10 most frequently asked writing style questions

There are many opportunities in written communications to create inconsistencies of style. But how do you know when to use single or double quotation marks? How do you punctuate lists and is it okay to use acronyms? Find out the answers to these questions and more.

Using apostrophes to show possession
19 October 2020

Using apostrophes to show possession

When do we need to use apostrophes and why does the apostrophe sometimes come after the ‘s’ and sometimes before it? Using apostrophes to show possession or ownership is essential in written English to clarify meaning. All possessives, except for the word ‘its’, need an apostrophe and an ‘s’  at the end. Sometimes the concept of ownership is easy to work out; at other times it’s not so straightforward. 

The last straw: literally and figuratively
9 October 2020

The last straw: literally and figuratively

With South Australia recently becoming the first Australian state to introduce laws banning some single-use plastics, including cutlery, straws and stirrers, I was reminded of the many English expressions that involve straws. Have you ever drawn the short straw or had something happen that felt like the last straw?

Report writing training: 7 warning signs managers can't afford to ignore
27 September 2020

Report writing training: 7 warning signs managers can't afford to ignore

Unfortunately, our school system and many university degrees don't prepare students for writing at work. Many people are unaware their reports are unclear, unless the report's weaknesses are pointed out to them by a manager. Find out 7 of the most common report writing pitfalls that can be avoided through report writing training. 

Is it time to bring back the fountain pen?
28 August 2020

Is it time to bring back the fountain pen?

If you’re working from home during this pandemic, you might be feeling as though you’re living inside your computer. But it’s not just nostalgia and technology overload that’s making me hark back to the fountain pen and redisover the benefits of some endangered work practices.

Peeling the onion: a 3-step revision process
16 August 2020

Peeling the onion: a 3-step revision process

The first draft of any communication you write is likely to be wordier than it needs to be. There will be ambiguity. There will also be typos and inconsistencies. This is normal. Even professional writers need to go back and refine their work multiple times to make it clear and concise. Find out how our systematic, 3-stage approach will increase efficiency and achieve a better result.

How not to socially distance with words
31 July 2020

How not to socially distance with words

In times of crisis, we naturally seek comfort from others. When someone is ill, anxious or sad, we instinctively want to be near them, to squeeze their hand, give them a hug or have a chat over a cuppa. Yet as we don our masks and keep a physical distance to stop the spread of COVID-19, we have to find other ways to show we care. Words become increasingly important.

When do too many cooks spoil the writing broth?
24 July 2020

When do too many cooks spoil the writing broth?

Writing is often seen as a solitary task. Yet to produce a report, brochure, fact sheet or other workplace communication, you’ll need to involve others. Having different team members contribute ideas as well as provide feedback on drafts can strengthen your communication. But beware. Too many cooks can sometimes spoil the writing broth leading to time consuming, costly and embarrassing outcomes.

Dress your writing for the occasion
17 July 2020

Dress your writing for the occasion

If you were applying for a senior management position at a large corporation, wearing thongs and shorts to the interview is likely to give the wrong impression. A top hat at Ascot might look appropriate there but completely out of place at the family Sunday barbecue. It’s a similar principle with writing. 

Is Australian spelling dead?
10 July 2020

Is Australian spelling dead?

With word processing programs in workplaces often remaining in the default setting of US spelling, many people are increasingly unaware of the differences between Australian and American spelling. Australian spelling closely follows British spelling, yet many common words are spelt differently in American English even though they mean the same thing. In an interconnected world with English an international language, do these differences matter?