The Write Stuff
November 2015 Volume 11 Issue 11
Giving Thanks — My Way
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I think it’s certainly appropriate to give thanks in my own special way. Yes, I’m thankful for my family and friends, and my health, and all the things I’ve earned through my hard work, but this is a newsletter about writing.
That said, this is what I’m thankful for:
- “Less is more” is becoming widely accepted as a writing strategy that will result in the most compelling copy.
- I’m seeing fewer uses of exclamation points in business writing. (Save them for advertisements, if you use them at all.)
- The semicolon exists to link two sentences together as an alternative to choppy writing. (Thanks for reading; you’re the best.)
- I see fewer people capitalizing words like “company” and “bank.” Company names are capitalized, as are bank names, but the words alone, even when referring to a specific company or bank, shouldn’t be capitalized.
- Most international companies that get copy in their native tongue translated to English realize it needs an edit to ensure it flows properly and reads like American English.
- More and more people seem to be wary of simply believing the suggestions made by Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar checker, since more often than not they are wrong.
- A growing number of people also seem to realize that using a grammar checker and spell check doesn’t constitute a full edit.
- I get great feedback from this newsletter every month, so it doesn’t feel like I’m talking to myself, so to speak.
- Finally, I see examples every day of poor writing, and keep hearing that kids are coming out of colleges without strong writing skills. That’s sad for many reasons, but job security for me.
I had the distinct pleasure of serving as Carl Sheeler’s editor for a book to be released next month, Equity Value Enhancement: A Tool to Leverage Human and Financial Capital While Managing Risk. It’s full of knowledge nuggets that can help you transcend the label of “vendor.” Dr. Sheeler was often seen as a higher-priced local practitioner of business valuation services, but using the strategies he shares in the book, he expanded his practice to a global one where 5- to 7-figure engagements are common. He’s no longer known as a “valuator,” but a “value creator.” Look for this very compelling book on Amazon.com in December. (You can pre-order now.)
He, She or Ze?
I read The Skimm daily, as it presents news of the day in a brief and rather clever manner. Imagine my surprise when a recent post, under the heading Thing to Know, introduced “ze,” a gender neutral pronoun that covers both “he” and “she.”
The idea behind ze does have merit. “He” is typically the default pronoun when specific gender isn’t known, except when it isn’t. I’ve seen people who alternate between he and she in a document, something I find quite odd. As a woman, I don’t have an issue with the use of “he”; it certainly beats the clunky “he/she” in my book.
I’m not sure if ze is going to catch on, but I’m going to be on the lookout for it. What do you think? Is it a word you’re willing to embrace?
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