Grammar Tips

Tautology – so good you said it twice | Copywriting tips

5th October 2012|Copywriting Tips, Grammar Tips|

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Tautology – saying the same thing twice or more – is one of the standout features of business writing. There are three main reasons that it’s so prevalent: it’s often used for emphasis, it’s easier than rewriting or finding a better word, and it’s a sure sign that the writer hasn’t thought hard about what they’re saying.

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While or whilst? | Grammar tips

28th April 2011|Grammar Tips|

A couple of weeks ago, I was with a client who was putting the finishing touches to an annual report. Several people had written parts of it – me, investor relations, the finance team and company secretarial – and we were ironing out the inevitable stylistic differences.

That’s when somebody raised this question: is it while or whilst? (more…)

Three grammar rules you should ignore

12th October 2010|Grammar Tips|

Grammar is essential. By following its rules, we can string words together in ways everyone understands.

Some rules, though, don’t help us communicate. They persist only because we’re told they are rules. They make writing seem awkward, formal or contrived, and they force us to rewrite, to avoid their clumsy constructions.

These are grammar rules you should ignore. (more…)

When to use hyphens | Grammar tips

18th July 2010|Grammar Tips|

Which punctuation mark causes most arguments? In our experience, it’s the humble hyphen. We’ve had clients remove every hyphen in a document, even after we’d sent the final version for typesetting. More often, they adopt the sniper approach, picking off the occasional hyphen which somehow ‘looks wrong’ to them.

One reason for this is obvious: as the excellent Economist style guide says:

There is no firm rule to help you decide which words are run together, hyphenated or left separate. (more…)