01 / 12 / 16
60-second fix: discount on or discount off?
If you’re feeling generous and you’re offering money off something, is that a discount on or a discount off the usual price? This was recently the subject of much heated debate here at Emphasis HQ. Sides were taken, teeth bared and battle lines drawn, with both sides certain they were right. ‘Of course it’s “discount off“!’ […]
14 / 09 / 16
The easiest way to settle office grammar disputes
Like it or not, we all end up getting thrown into arguments about whether something we’ve written is ‘correct’. This could be a colleague picking you up on your apostrophes. Or it might be a subtle point of style that your manager crosses out with angry red pen. It may just be a snide Facebook […]
11 / 08 / 16
Is the active voice always best?
The active voice gets a hero’s welcome from most writing guides, which tend to demonise the passive voice as the root of all grammatical evil. Yet the passive voice does have its defenders, who accuse the first group of oversimplifying matters. Generally, the active voice is the way to go. But Team Passive do have […]
26 / 05 / 16
Grammar pedants: you’re helping less than you think
It seems to happen at least once a week. Usually it’s in my Twitter feed or on Facebook. Occasionally it’s on LinkedIn. Regardless, I rarely make it through to Friday without someone promoting a post on embarrassing grammar mistakes. ‘Seven grammar gaffes that could ruin your career,’ screams one. ‘Thirty grammar mistakes writers should avoid,’ […]
31 / 03 / 16
Are your ‘good manners’ letting you down?
What’s the right tone to strike in business writing? Formal? Yes, you want to come across as a serious contributor to the subject at hand and not to sound too … chatty? Hmmm. But if you’re too serious, don’t you risk boring people and losing them? Tone is a minefield. And it’s made all the […]
26 / 01 / 16
Are your sentences back to front?
Putting people at the centre of everything you write is critical to the success of your documents and emails. (At least, it is if you want people to actually read what you write.) But what does that mean in practice, when it comes to the words and sentences you write? Well, it’s simpler than you […]