Tag Archives: Words

Ditch the fragments, and other caption DO’s and DON’Ts

A photo caption’s job isn’t to tell the whole story all by itself. Ideally, the photo captures attention; the caption adds meaning and leads the reader to the story for more details. Of course, there are plenty of rules about captions (also called cutlines). A discussion this week with a fellow stickler for detail brought […]

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New Scrabble words? Don’t tell Mom

You watch; my mother will probably get “bezzy” on a triple in one of our usual spirited Words with Friends games. So don’t tell her about the words that Scrabble now officially accepts, including: Augh: An interjection expressing frustration (shades of Charlie Brown!) Bezzy: Best friend Cazh: Casual Eew: Exclamation of disgust Emoji: Digital icons […]

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Stop using this phrase like a boss

Not to be like the old guy on the porch yelling, “You kids get off my lawn!” or anything, but here’s another phrase that’s starting to annoy me: “Like a boss.” (I last vented about “hacking your life.”) The Telegraph reports the meaning as “well achieved.” The Urban Dictionary says it’s “The act of doing […]

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Set the tone with words

Anything worth doing is worth doing with WOW. So says online retailer Zappos, which for years has been a name synonymous for great customer service. At least, that’s what I had heard. I hadn’t experienced it myself because Zappos no longer ships to Canada (after a brief trial where they discovered how painful cross-border shopping […]

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Please stop ‘hacking’ your life

Don’t tell me you’ve found a way to “hack” your life, or your morning, or your productivity. The tiresome term appears to spring from the standard dictionary definition of “to alter (a computer program).” It gets a nod as slang for “cope with, manage, tolerate, or accept.” The Urban Dictionary calls it “a clever solution […]

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‘Photobomb’ and ‘vape’ are words of the year

People love to create new words, and every year we officially welcome some of the best/most used ones; or maybe, reluctantly let them in the back door. These words generally reflect the “preoccupations” of the year and are thought to have staying power. Whether you like them or not may come down to your age […]

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Linguistic cicadas & other expressive writing, in my December newsletter

You can’t always (ever?) be wildly creative in corporate writing. But you can and should choose words and phrases that are interesting and colourful to help your readers “see” what you mean. I’m always on the lookout for expressive writing, and the December issue of Wordnerdery includes some great examples. Read about the “linguistic cicada” […]

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Are you keeping up with the adorbs new words?

You may have missed the latest crop of words welcomed (or possibly just reluctantly allowed) into the English language, but you have surely heard many of them. Binge-watch is one example, something I did with some friends catching up on Downton Abbey seasons, and others did watching episode after episode of Breaking Bad. Besides binge-watch, […]

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Avoid jargon monoxide with the Son Test

Newsletter articles and any other writing — speaking too! — can be improved if you cut out “hollow and meaningless” business language. This gobbledygook is also known as jargon monoxide, a wonderful term I discovered this week in a tweet by Stanford professor Bob Sutton, aka @work_matters. He in turn credits author Polly Labarre for […]

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The expressive language of loss

Any writing can be improved by careful attention to words that convey meaning or emotion, or metaphors and analogies that bring a concept to life. The July issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, shares some wonderful examples of expressive writing I’ve found related to grieving and loss. It’s way less depressing than you might think! Here’s […]

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