Office-speak and clichés are so well established, it’s easy to play buzzword bingo in management meetings. It’s less difficult to spot in writing, but a very easy habit to fall into.
You may have heard the tale of how, in the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway bet ten dollars that he could write a complete story in just six words. He wrote: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn." He won the bet and often referred to the story as his best work ever.
What is it with the word 'access' all of a sudden? You can't move these days without people 'accessing' education, 'accessing' information on the web, 'accessing' resources in the library, or 'accessing' lists of annoying words.
English is renowned for its quirky, often logic-defying spelling rules. Gives it character, a mark of our mongrel heritage, we're told. It doesn't make it any easier to write, though. One common area of confusion is when seemingly the same word has two spelling variations - one with a 'c', and one with an 's'.
Good writing is all about clarity - getting your message across clearly and concisely. But in the wrong hands, words can often cloud, rather than clarify, the intended message.
One of the key purposes of business writing is to write in a way that reinforces your brand. It's also one of the main areas where much business writing often fails. If your brand is about dynamism, energy and modern thinking, your writing needs to support that. So that means using appropriate language, tone and structure.
Isn't the web great? There are all sorts of great writing tips out there. I came across this excellent - and funny - article about writing for the web. It cocks a bit of a snoop at some of the web-writing theories about how people read online.