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Terry Kirkpatrick
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19 followers
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Walk, then write
Walking on a Country Road, Valerie Jeanne Frischmann I  often read through the material I will use to
write something for a client and then go for my walk. It's a two-mile
trek down a quiet side road, beside which there is a stream for a bit. The ideas en...

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Getting out of Dodge
You probably give more thought to how you start an article or a speech than you do its ending. But you need to think of both, and in nearly all cases they should relate to each other. Something positive happens in the reader's mind when at the end he encoun...

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You need to phone it in
This should be you. I read a wide variety of things at night on my cell phone. It's a Samsung Galaxy III, and I can't wait to update to one of the newer, and larger, models. A friend of mine just got the new iPhone 6 Plus, their big boy. It slips easily int...

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Why your writing doesn't work
Your audience. Yes, you're guilty -- I'm sure of it. I know, because I'm guilty too, and I do this for a living. The source of bad writing is your assumption that your reader knows as much as you do. Thus sayeth Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at H...

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So much for spell check


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Bessie the cow on the ladder of abstraction
Bessie dodges the issue. Paying attention to the length and complexity of words, as I noted here and here , gives your reader a helping hand in understanding you and, if nothing else, staying awake. Those posts dealt with the origins of English words, those...

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Rot in hell, you lying cheat
My previous post explored Latinate vs Germanic words, the former being generally longer and more complex, and more likely to express abstractions. Understanding this is critical to effective business writing, and so I want to return to it. Novelist and mark...

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On selecting the right word
You decide. If there's one constant difficulty in business writing, it's abstract words. The concepts we seek to convey are often abstractions, and we have an inclination to use big words, thinking they lend gravitas to our brilliance. Turns out our readers...

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Defanging a cliche
From Orin Hargraves' new book, It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Clichés , via Lynn Gaertner-Johnston , we see how to clean up common cliches. These edits dissolve the clichés, eliminate words, and make the writing stronger. Clichés dul...
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