The dreaded passive voice
As a satirical poem at McSweeney’s aptly puts it, “passive voice is the silent killer.” In a tragically mistaken attempt to sound objective and professional, reams of prose are rendered deadly dull and impersonal by the overuse of this particular grammatical construction.
Escape the Pit of Passivity! Liven up your technical manuals, sales sheets and everyday business correspondence! Read on.
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Subjects and objects
Part two of our tips for better business writing.
It’s inevitable that your copy will go through multiple hands before finding its way to the audience. The editing-by-committee process often compounds subject-object and verb tense errors. Here’s how to spot and avoid these mistakes before it’s too late.
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Make good writing a cornerstone of your brand
Between the bloggers, Bullfighters, Cluetrainers and other lovers of language, we’re making great strides in eliminating buzzwords, cutting through bafflegab, and getting corporations to speak in a recognizably human voice. The people that get it really get it, and that’s good.
That said, even enlightened businesses suffer from the widespread epidemic of plain bad writing. Cringeworthy, first-draft quality, high-school, sometimes even grade-school level; stuffed with not just buzzwords, but unfunny jokes, too. I’ve read things that no one should have to endure, and as an editor, I try to both protect the public and polish up the image of the client. After all, words live forever in Google’s cache; more brand guardians should be mindful of them.
The following series of posts will address how to create good structured writing with crisp, clear, lean-and-mean prose.
After the jump: a “backwards” strategy for copywriting.
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Not Just Organic, but Local
This week Wal-Mart announced its plans to expand its organic grocery offerings, aggressively priced at no more than a 10% premium over non-organic equivalents. (They’re also buying green power, green roofs and pushing for new, energy-efficient store designs.)
It’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address the biggest issues in food production: the complete dependence of production and transportation on oil and gas, the insane amount of miles food travels to get to your plate, and the sheer amounts of greenhouse gas emissions created (in the UK, it’s about 22% of the total).
There is a solution of course: buying and eating local. But Wal-Mart doesn’t seem to be interested.
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Our Web 1.7b company, Enablr, has garnered attention from BusinessWeek Online, Inside Digital Media, and Rogers Wireless. Check out the news over on the official Enablr blog.
"I'm a Mac..." "...and I'm a PC."
Apple’s new TV ad campaign is out, and it’s brilliant. And funny. Go see.