Whenever I talk about the benefits of the crappy first draft some people always object. Why? For some, it's a habit and — as anyone who's tried to quit smoking can tell you — habits are hard to break. But for others the problem is fear.  Continue reading...
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Perfectionism should have been the furthest thing from my mind after getting — and recovering from — a repetitive strain injury. But I was reluctant to resume working on my book. It wasn't so much the pain in my arm. It was more my concern that my writing wasn't any good. Could that have been perfectionism speaking?  Continue reading...
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Anyone who works for a large organization (or maybe even a small one) knows that certain phrases grab people's imagination and spread through the organization. If you're like me, you go to meetings and presentations and expressions keep popping up, which is very distracting — you try to listen to what the speaker is saying, but you end up paying more attention to how they're saying it.  Continue reading...
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If you write copy, have you ever had to "make up" quotes for your boss? This is not such an unusual thing in the world of corporate communications. Bosses are busy and they often don't have time to be interviewed by their own PR or public affairs person.  Continue reading...
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There it was again — a random capital. The offender was the "M" at the beginning of "Mother," as in "Her Mother was the first to notice she could really sing."

If it had been "Mother told me she thought I could really sing," it would have been fine and dandy because "Mother" would have been serving as a proper noun there, referring to a particular maternal figure. But when it's not standing in for a name, "mother" should not be capitalized.  Continue reading...
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Earlier this month, a post by Dan Frommer on Business Insider had this to say about Google, Facebook and Apple: "Recently, all three companies have been making a lot of 'acq-hires,' where they buy a company to acquire its human resources." You read that right: acq-hire. Where did this odd word come from?  Continue reading...
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English is my native tongue, language is my beat, and corporate America is where I earn my daily crust. Nevertheless, every so often I encounter an English word — in a corporate memo, speech, or email — that mystifies me. I've seen the word before; I've just never seen it used that way. I've always assumed the word meant one thing; here it obviously means something very different.  Continue reading...
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