Beware the Buzzword

buzzwordsWe’re all guilty of throwing a buzzword in here and there. And with their prevalence in everyday language nowadays, it’s hard not to use them.

So what are they? Buzzwords are industry terms that sound important or technical, and are used to impress a usually uninformed audience. Words like synergy, bandwidth and value-add are popular buzzwords. Now, as impressive as these may sound, it’s hard to decipher what they really mean. That doesn’t sound very user-friendly, does it? (more…)

Wave vs. Waive and Waver vs. Waiver

Hey!(3)

You’ve got to love those crafty homophones. For this month’s vs. post, we thought we would offer up a two-for-one. Wave, waive, waver and waiver all sound similar, and it’ll help to keep you on your toes by knowing the differences and when to use them.

These four words may not be part of your everyday writing, but if you happen to come across them, you’ll want to get them right.  (more…)

Tips for Dealing with Tight Writing Deadlines

writing-deadlineThe dreaded deadline: it’s a writer’s worst enemy. And the best plug to stop the flow of creative juices. Whether you write professionally or as a student, you’re faced with deadlines; and the anxiety, writer’s block, paralysis and other crippling symptoms they can cause are very real.

That being said, here are a few tips for writing to a deadline that go beyond drinking energy drinks and slapping yourself in the face.  (more…)

5 of the Most Common Grammar Mistakes

grammar-mistakesThe world of grammar encompasses a wide range of language rules and an even wider range of ways to mess those rules up. If you’ve ever written anything longer than a few sentences, you’ve probably been on the wrong side of the grammar police. It happens to the best of us.

Here are 5 of the most common blunders and tips to get them right. (more…)

5 Examples of How the English Language Makes No Sense At All

scrabbleWhen you sit back and really take a look at the English language — at least our North American version of it — it almost seems unbelievable how we ever learn to communicate. With words that sound the same but are spelled differently, words that look the same but sound different and different rules for similar words, it’s enough to make native English speakers crazy, let alone someone learning it for the first time.

Here are 5 examples of how English really makes no sense at all: (more…)

Self-Editing Tip: Little Words that Don’t Need to be There

self-editingIf you’ve been paying attention, you know that using long, complicated words is not the path to clear communication. But even if you’ve learned that lesson and practice it daily, you can still take it a step further.

Within many sentences in every type of writing are little words that just don’t need to be there. They don’t necessarily ruin what you’re trying to say, but your writing will be simpler and more to the point without them.  (more…)

To vs. Too vs. Two — the Saga Continues

two-to-tooThis month’s “vs.” selection deals with three words that are often confused, even though one of them refers to a number. If you listen to someone speak, you’ll notice that some version of this word is used incredibly often.

It’s usually used correctly when spoken, but writing it out causes some major headaches.  It’s also a source of frustration for those reading your words who know which one to use.  Let’s clear up the confusion right now, so you’ll never make the mistake again.  (more…)

You Can’t Blame It All on Auto Correct…It’s Time to Take Responsibility!

blame-auto-correctThese days, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been a victim of the autocorrect feature on their mobile device at least once. That thing seems to have a mind of its own. It often creates words that aren’t even words, or corrects your word to something that has no place in the sentence you’re trying to write.

The results can be embarrassing, unsettling or even downright scandalous. However, most of the time autocorrect mishaps just make it look like you are a poor speller or don’t know which word to use in a particular grammatical situation.

It’s becoming easier and easier to lay the blame at the feet of that stinking autocorrect, but the time has come for you to stop blaming autocorrect and take responsibility for your own writing.  (more…)

Principal vs. Principle…Seldom Used and Often Confused

PRINCIPAL(3)For this installment of our ‘vs.’ post, we thought principal and principle could use some clearing up. Many of you rarely have an opportunity to use either one in your writing, so mix-ups are a common occurrence.

Of course, ignorance is never an excuse for misusing your homonyms, so even though the mistakes may be completely innocuous, it’s time to learn the right way.  (more…)