How to make your words clear

How to make your words clear

Which would you rather read, and why? Entities are satisfactory that terminate satisfactorily. OR All’s well that ends well. I thought so! I’d rather read the second version, too. It’s easier and faster to process a shorter word than a longer word. And that’s especially true for those who read English as their second language.… Continue Reading

Plain writing is good writing

Plain writing is good writing

Clear writing is good, right? I certainly believe that to be true (after 25 years of teaching technical writing in corporations and organizations). I know that most people seek to write clearly and most readers appreciate reading clear technical and business writing. That’s why I teach the 5Cs of good writing—that writing must meet these… Continue Reading

Just revise

Just revise

“I’m a rewriter. That’s the part I like best…once I have a pile of paper to work with, it’s like having the pieces of a puzzle. I just have to put the pieces together to make a picture.” Judy Blume, American author, 1938- Judy Blume spoke the obvious: A writer has to write a draft… Continue Reading

Getting feedback: Number your lines

Getting feedback: Number your lines

In my last blog post, I discussed some emotional difficulties of accepting feedback on your writing. This post will share a practical suggestion to help you improve the review process, whether you are the reviewer or the author. For our discussion, let’s assume that you are seeking feedback on a Microsoft® Word document and want… Continue Reading

Accepting feedback? Take what you like; leave the rest

Accepting feedback? Take what you like; leave the rest

  When I teach about feedback in my technical writing webinars, I often quote these words of Frank Norris*: “I hate to write, but I like to have written.”* I would slightly reframe this comment: “I hate to receive feedback about my writing, but I like to have received that feedback.” Why would I want… Continue Reading

Webinar training beats live training

Webinar training beats live training

Spring blizzard here today. I was supposed to leave Colorado this morning to drive to Arizona for three days of training. Fortunately, I had scheduled my departure 6 days before the training so we could sightsee and hike on the way. But when I saw the pictures of I 25–hundreds of cars stranded in the… Continue Reading

Saxon words prevail in new SAT vocabulary test

Saxon words prevail in new SAT vocabulary test

This spring, the new SAT vocabulary test will focus less on obscure vocabulary such as “abstruse,” “prodigious,” “vexation,” and “trenchant” and more on relevant words that college students need to know. As the press release said: “SAT words will no longer be vocabulary [that] students may not have heard before and are likely not to… Continue Reading

Should you read The Virtual Training Guidebook?

Should you read The Virtual Training Guidebook?

Well—Yes. Maybe. And no. Yes! If you are skeptical about delivering online training in a virtual learning environment, you’ll learn some reasons to integrate webinars into your training curriculum. If you are responsible for enterprise-wide delivery of webinars and other online training, all the chapters will be useful for explaining issues that you might face… Continue Reading