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Winter 2009 Volume 5 Issue 1

The Write Stuff

Winter 2009  Volume 5 Issue 1

Three Tips to Start Your Year Off Right

January always seems to be a month when people want to make new starts…so why not include enhancing your writing skills to your list of resolutions? Here are a few tips to get you going.

1st Versus 3rd Person
While there is technically no right or wrong tense to use for your written materials, the decision you make will affect the way your readers react. I was surprised that one of my clients thought using 1st person is arrogant…and that is certainly not the case.

I recommend using first person as a rule, especially on websites and in correspondence. It creates a warmer, more personal tone. Which of the following sounds more inviting to you?

We will always be there to provide great customer service. (1st person)

ABC Company will always be there to provide great customer service. (3rd person)

Neither is incorrect…but the 1st person sentence is less formal and more conducive to relationship building.

Bullet Consistency
Bullets are a great tool to use to enhance readability, but you need to make your list consistent. For instance, the things I liked best about being at the Winter Classic were:

  • Seeing a great hockey game
  • Spending time with my nephew
  • Being a part of history at Wrigley Field

Note that all three points begin with an “ing” word. That’s being consistent.

The poor hyphen; so many of you don’t use it. Here are a few phrases that warrant hyphenation:

  • first-class customer service
  • next-generation product
  • third-party relationship

See the trend? When a noun is modified by the previous two words, they should be hyphenated.

I hope your year has gotten off to a great start. If you need a talented, responsive and economical writing or editing resource, please think of me. Visit to learn more and call (619) 291-4645 to discuss your needs.

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