Tutorials

The following tutorials will help you improve your business writing. Roughly 80% of writing well is knowing how to edit what you’ve written, so these tutorials are mainly about editing. Here are the most common problems I’ll be attacking, using real copy as examples:

  • The You Rule - Address your readers as individuals.
  • Active Verbs - Change passive and state-of-being verbs to active ones. 
  • Editing - Trim fatty sentences so they're easier for your readers to digest.
  • Logic bombs - Ask the right questions of your writing – so your readers come up with the right answers.
  • Oiling the Gears - Silence clunky links between phrases and clauses.
Then I'll take you through the wonders of sentence diagrams. This is the best way to learn grammar as structure, and structure is the foundation of writing like you mean business.

Sunday, 26 February 2012 05:53

Oiling the Gears - Tutorial 1

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The first video tutorial is now up on You Tube. It’s an example of basic copy editing. Take a look, then let me know what…

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Sunday, 26 February 2012 05:56

Oiling the Gears - Tutorial 2

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The ‘FROM … TO’ case is a pair of linked phrases expressing movement in space or time. When you find examples in your business writing, test…

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Sunday, 26 February 2012 05:58

Oiling the Gears - Tutorial 3

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As you proofread and edit your documents, check that your subjects and verbs agree in number: Subject – Verb Agreement:  When the subject of a…

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012 00:32

Oiling the Gears - Tutorial No. 4

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012 02:37

Running the Numbers with Mark Twain

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Sooner or later your business writing will include numbers. In general, they'll be units of production and amounts of money. Edit this stuff with a…

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You could be excused for giving up on many 'FAQ' pages. Too often the answers are worded with the greasy evasiveness of a politician facing a hostile…

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012 04:10

Editing HR Jargon

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In business writing, clarity matters more than anything. Here's a great quote: 'Suppose you are an intellectual impostor with nothing to say, but with strong…
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 04:26

Passive Verb Hides Logic Bomb, Lazy Writer

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Here's a logic bomb popular among bureaucrats, business writers and, sadly, journalists. I've highlighted the key words. 'The email was sent last April, and it is not…
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 04:36

Dangling Participles - Tutorial No. 1

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The "Dangling Participle" rule is simple: Write participles and prepositions before their objects, never after.  Most editors, and even many English teachers, are happy to let them slide…

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John Hancock

John Hancock, author