“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya, The…
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It’s time to review some nasty writing mistakes that damage our credibility. Not normally a fun task, but absolutely necessary….
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I’ve been thinking about writing this one for quite a while, but I’ve just had a lot of other stuff going on. But I can’t stay silent anymore. We need to talk about a serious issue that’s impeding our ability to have the simplest of conversations. No, I’m not talking about the fraying political discourse. Read More…
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It was a brisk winter evening. While editing a Copyblogger article written by Brian Clark, the sound of my fingers tapping on my keyboard harmoniously blended with the rain pattering on the window next to my desk, as the light from the full moon illuminated my computer monitor. Then, as the clock struck midnight, something Read More…
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Bill is at a wine bar on Saturday night, enjoying a glass of Pinot Noir.
After striking up a playful conversation with Lisa (who prefers Syrah), he asks for her telephone number. Lisa agrees to Bill’s request, and he creates a new “contact” in his cell phone.
“No,” Lisa stops Bill. “You’ll have to memorize it. I don’t want you to write it down.”
Bill accepts the challenge and confidently repeats the 10-digit number a few times aloud. Lisa proceeds to talk about her cat Nibbles for an hour and then leaves the bar after she realizes how late in the evening it has become.
By the next day, Bill has forgotten Lisa’s phone number. He remembers how much Nibbles loves playing with yarn because he used to have a cat that loved yarn … and although he wants to send Lisa a text message, her digits weren’t meaningful to him.
The same thing happens when you memorize the definitions of two similar words instead of learning how to use them.
When you memorize without any meaningful context, you may quickly forget a definition and continually select a word that doesn’t mean what you think it means.
When you learn how to use the following 12 pairs of words, it will be easier to choose the proper one for your content.
Write the correct words the first time, and you’ll spend less time editing later.
1. Compliment vs. Complement
A “compliment (noun)” is an “expression of praise.” When you “compliment (verb)” someone,
We’ve written quite a bit lately about identifying core values in your content.
Creating content around a positive value like integrity, fairness, humility, or faith will attract an audience that shares those values — and that fosters a powerful sense of unity.
But our friend negativity bias tells us that the flip side of that will probably be more compelling. In other words, talking about the things that bug you will build an even faster bond with your audience.
For today’s post, I asked our editorial team to let us know their peeves — the things that irritate, bother, and annoy them.
I’m going to try to tease those out and figure out the values behind them — and see what that might say about who we are as a company and a community.
So let’s get peevy.
Stefanie Flaxman’s peeve
Stefanie is our editor-in-chief, and as you’d expect, she has a healthy list of grammar and usage peeves.
But an editor is much more than a proofreader. It’s one thing to misplace a comma — it’s another to come at a post in a fundamentally flawed way. Here’s Stefanie’s peeve:
Hype/extremes/absolutes: Writing voices that are heavy on absolutes tend to simultaneously lack substance and speak to the reader as if they know what’s best for them … which isn’t a combination that builds credibility.
For example, earnestly referring to any flesh-and-blood human being as a “guru” is typically too vague or a sign of hype. If the person is an expert, top