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July 2015 Volume 11 Issue 7

The Write Stuff

June 2015  Volume 11 Issue 7

The Art of Being Consistent

As a writer, it’s your job to make your copy as easy to read as possible. One way to do that is by ensuring you’re writing in a consistent fashion. Failing in this area is detrimental to your mission, whether it’s selling something, attracting clients, influencing readers or simply making a point. You’ll see what I mean below.

Example 1
Not consistent: The property offers attentive service, comfortable rooms and is well located near the Grand Canyon.

Consistent: The property offers attentive service and comfortable rooms, and is well located near the Grand Canyon.

How can you tell the first sentence is inconsistent? It offers attentive service and it offers comfortable rooms. It doesn’t offers is well located near the Grand Canyon.

Example 2
You’ll benefit from this program because it helps you:

  • Identify opportunities.
  • Uncover potential risks.
  • Enhance decision-making.
  • Delivers greater focus.

The last bullet isn’t consistent. Why? This doesn’t make sense: “…it helps you delivers greater focus.” This makes sense: “…it helps you achieve greater focus.”

Pay attention to your consistency—because your readers surely will.

A or B?

Which of these sentences do you think is correct?

A) Do your team members need to re-energize, revitalize and rekindle passion for their career?

B) Do your team members need to re-energize, revitalize and rekindle passion for their careers?

Give yourself a pat on the back if you selected B. The sentence refers to multiple people (team members), each of whom has a career, thus the plural careers is correct.

Less is More

If you’re a long-time reader of this newsletter, you know I use the phrase less is more a lot. There’s an art to getting a point across as succinctly as possible. Those of you who use Twitter certainly know that.

After you’ve written anything, review it with a critical eye to remove unnecessary words. For instance, the word personally isn’t needed in this sentence: Schedule an appointment to talk with me personally.

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