Take Care with Dysphemisms

You probably know what a euphemism is: putting lipstick on a pig, as in using the expression “pass away” in place of the word die, or “enhanced interrogation” instead of torture. Is dysphemism — essentially, the opposite concept — any more problematic? Just as a euphemism cloaks a disagreeable or offensive concept with an innocuous … Read more

Fixes for Ambiguous Headlines

Headlines that can be read more than one way, or that contain a confusing or erroneous element, have been a source of amusement for journalists and newshounds–and of consternation for the perpetrators–since the dawn of written mass communication, but anyone who writes or edits should be aware of the dangers of careless headline writing. Here … Read more

10 Tips for Better Business Writing

Writing in a business environment is an activity with associated norms, challenges, and opportunities. Keep the following points in mind as you craft communication in the context of a company or an organization. 1. Clarity Be clear. Clarity is the primary goal of all communication, and in business writing, the degree of transparency in one’s … Read more

Working at Home and Workplace Productivity

The recent news that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is banning employees from working at home has caused a flurry of commentary in the media and among workers in the Internet industry. One aspect of the issue is how such a decision affects content producers. Banning telecommuting is a heavy-handed strategy. The rationale for the policy … Read more

How to Write a Memo

The memo may seem like a thing of the past, long ago supplanted by the email message. However, its general format can be applied to electronic communications, and the hard-copy memo still has its place in businesses and other organizations, especially when providing context for a print publication or another physical object being distributed among … Read more

Facts are More Important Than Being First

Thanks to technology, everyone who wants to be a writer and publisher can easily do so online. Unfortunately, this ease has resulted in a lot of unease about how information is disseminated. Early online information about the recent massacre of children and adults at a Connecticut school is a case in point. Initial reports identified … Read more

How to Write a Book Review

Writing a book review — or any evaluation of a piece of content, including live or recorded music or a film — is simply a matter of sharing your thoughts after you have engaged in the content, but there is a standard template for producing it. Here’s one outline of the format. The two primary … Read more

How to Write a Proposal

Writing a proposal is similar to but not exactly the same as crafting a persuasive essay or producing a report. Here are suggestions for developing a proposal, including some pertinent to its specific purpose. 1. A proposal should define a problem and describe a solution that will persuade busy, thrifty, skeptical readers to support it. … Read more

How to Write a Report

It is likely that, at some point in your career, you will be asked — or feel compelled — to write a report. Here are seven steps to producing a successful account or analysis. 1. Identify the report’s objective: Inform, or advise? If the former, predict, or review? If the latter, persuade, or dissuade? 2. … Read more

How to Write a Speech

Writing a speech and producing an essay have much in common, of course, because the one is merely a spoken form of the other, but keep in mind the unique features that distinguish a presentation delivered with your voice and one that others read. 1. Plan your speech according to the occasion, considering the event, … Read more

How to Write a Cover Letter

Does anyone write business letters anymore? Whether or not you still employ this declining form of communication, you should be aware of the customary procedure, because the necessity may come up. This model is only one of several variations, but whichever version you employ, veer from the template only if you have a good reason … Read more

How to Write a Thesis

An analytical or persuasive essay is a capsule thesis, and, like its more substantial analogue, it requires a thesis statement. Here are some notes about how to develop that statement. A thesis statement is a sentence (or two) that encapsulates and introduces an analysis or argument. An essay benefits from a thesis statement by concisely … Read more