Author Archives: Sue Horner

7 words more people should look up

The word nerd in me loves the idea of trending words. I love that people want to know the meaning of a word, and take the time to look it up. News events, celebrities, politics and sports often drive a sudden spike in people looking up a specific word. Trends this week include synergy (Russians […]

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The cadence of jargon continues to annoy

Jargon has welcomed some new members to the fold this year. Or maybe it’s been happening longer, but I’ve been running into fresh examples over the past few months. Either way, I’m hopping on my Grouch Train. You know I’ve had issues with the phrase “like a boss” before. “Resonate” gets thrown around so much […]

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Find your way by taking the strategic path

Communicators have a path to choose, says Dan Tisch, APR, CPRS Fellow and president and CEO of Argyle Public Relationships. Are we going to be tacticians or strategists? At a professional development session hosted by IABC/Toronto and its Professional Independent Communicators in November, Dan pointed out that “The path to being a strategist means thinking […]

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Look for words that count people in

A post about looking for a gender-neutral option for man-hours is one of the most-read on this blog, according to the analytics. (Long story short, person-hours is an acceptable substitute; also try work-hours or staff-hours.) Increasingly, people are looking for words that count people in. These days, we have a new way to count people […]

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12 fun gifts for writers and readers

We’re barely past Halloween and U.S. Thanksgiving is on the doorstep. My husband just cheerfully informed me that we have less than six weeks until Christmas and someone has already wished me a Merry Christmas. Of course I haven’t started my shopping yet, but I have started to look for ideas. Time, then, for my […]

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Votes being counted…for Word of the Year

Hot on the heels of this month’s midterm elections in the United States (no, I’m not going there) is voting of a different sort. I’m talking about choosing the Word of the Year. The big names like the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster wait until late December, even January, to make their choice. This makes sense, […]

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6 reasons to avoid jargon and corporatespeak

At my local bank this week, signs alerted me that they’re “making changes” to some of their plans and fees. You’d be right to assume that some of those changes are increases. Overdraft protection goes up by $1 per month, and a monthly fee is no longer waived with a minimum balance. Give BMO credit, […]

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Think plain to make complex writing more readable

The Guardian’s Alex Hern forced himself to read all the terms and conditions he encountered in one week. In that time, he collected 146,000 words of legalese in 33 documents. It was, he said, “enough to fill three quarters of Moby Dick, just to explain what I can and can’t do online.” Few of us […]

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Social media is all about being social. Here’s how.

You know you should be on social media, but you’d rather do anything BUT social media. Good news. Sue Walker says listening, engaging with others and being human is more important than cranking out a daily status update. At a recent lunch & learn session, the social media strategist and founder of Soac Media shared […]

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Use plain language to be clear

Let’s be clear. Those “Terms and Conditions” we have to “accept” or “agree to” before using new software, phones and other technology are anything but clear. I blame lawyers, who stuff sentences with words to cover every possible situation. The sentences are wordy and repetitive. And the lawyers seem to think shouty all-caps lettering IS […]

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