Last month, Jeff Bezos got a lot of exposure for—among other things—his use of the term complexifier, a word that doesn’t appear in English language dictionaries. In his widely publicized blog post about not succumbing to blackmail, Mr. Bezos wrote that owning The Washington Post is a complexifier for him.... (Read More)
- On March 13, 2019
- On February 19, 2019
Here are three examples of incorrect colon use that have crossed my desk recently. Here’s why the colons are wrong and how to fix them:
The ads were designed to test the impact of appealing to different emotions, including: fear, joy, and hope.
While colons are used to introduce lists... (Read More)
- On February 5, 2019
Jerry Seinfeld was interviewed about what makes a good joke, and a lot of what he said makes sense for all writing. So, kidding aside, here are three elements of a successful joke that make for successful copy, too.
Brevity “You’re always trying to trim everything down to absolute rock,... (Read More)
- On January 22, 2019
A social worker walks into a patient’s hospital room and says to the patient’s wife, “You have to move him tomorrow to an L.T.A.C.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the wife responds. “What’s an L.T.A.C?”
This exchange appeared in a recent New York Times article about health literacy—the... (Read More)
- On January 8, 2019
Writing is hard, even for people like me who make a living doing it, so sometimes it helps to have a writing partner. I’m not talking about an editor who reviews your final drafts for focus and clarity or a proofreader who checks for typos. I’m referring to someone you... (Read More)