ABC

Readers label you based on your style

I’m in Seattle at the Association for Business Communication conference. Erin Kane and I will present “Reader Perception of Workplace-Writer Attributes” this afternoon. (Our fellow researchers, Nicole Amare and Alan Manning couldn’t make the trip.) We had more than 600 working adults in the US tell us whether they preferred the more plain or less…

syntax

Choose active vs. passive voice strategically

No grammatical construction raises the ire of writing “experts” like the passive. Geoff Pullum (a regular contributor to Lingua Franca at the Chronicle of Higher Education) provided two marvelous examples in a research paper titled “Fear and loathing of the English passive.” The passive voice liquidates and buries the active individual, along with most of the awful…

passive story cover

Friday fun with a passive quiz

I’ve been meaning to send you over to this grammar quiz from James Harbeck. But first let me remind you to avoid listening to any “expert” who focuses on limiting your stylistic choices by telling you to “avoid passives.” Here are the items you must judge as passive — or not. An accidental discharge of…

yellen

Friday fun with translating economic jargon

If your brain isn’t too tired yet, check out this quiz from the Washington Examiner and do your best to translate statements from the current and former Federal Reserve Chair(wo)man into plain language.  Somehow I got 5 out of 5.  It was sheer luck! If this jargon was used only with other economists, it would be…