by Barbara McNichol
If you resist the effort needed for improving your writing, here’s my suggestion: Make friends with good writing. A shift in attitude—from resisting to embracing—just might make all the difference. And here’s the payoff. When you better your writing skills, you advance your career and make a positive impression.
To meet that objective, here’s a fresh resource filled with must-have skills to jumpstart your resolve: an e-guide called—ta da—Making Friends with Good Writing.
This brand new e-guide comes with a special introductory offer. You’ll save $$ when you use the Coupon code FRIENDS at checkout. Check it out here.
“Barbara’s Making Friends with Good Writing is helpful and first class—just like she is! If you want to know when and why to use or create a style guide or enhance your writing, this e-guide provides answers with clear examples. ” – Peggy Henrikson, editor
Do you know the definition of a chiasmus? It’s a phrase that mirrors itself.
Making Friends with Good Writing offers a compilation of chiasmi that are fun. After reading this e-guide, a reader sent this chiasmus by Garrison Keillor: “When it comes to finding available men in Minnesota, the odds are good, but the goods are odd.” She had a fun response, too. “I don’t take his message seriously, though. Thankfully I found a good man!”
Can you create your own chiasmus? Please write it here!
by Barbara McNichol
Have you crossed that line? There are some common phrases to avoid if you don’t want to come across as arrogant or condescending.
It’s important that you temper your language when writing. You don’t have the benefit of voice intonation, hand gestures, emotions…all the things that impact a face-to-face encounter with your audience.
If you give off the wrong signals in person, you have an immediate opportunity to correct your misstep.
That can’t be said of your writing. Once you’ve pressed “Send”, mailed the letter, circulated the memo or published the book, your opportunity to explain your intent has passed.
You don’t want to set a tone that can be misconstrued if you’re not there to explain what you meant.
There are several phrases you can avoid – they pad your writing with extra words but don’t add any meaning to your message.
Here are 12 phrases to avoid that will save you from sounding pompous:
- Not to mention… Okay, then don’t mention it.
- It goes without saying… Right, then don’t say it.
- If I may say so… Well, since you’re the author, of course, you can say so.
- I believe that… Now the reader wonders if your message is based in facts.
- In my humble opinion… An automatic signal that you’re not feeling humble.
- To tell the truth… Implies you’ve lied to your reader in the past.
- To be honest with you… Again, a suggestion that you’ve been dishonest.
- For the record… If you’re not under oath you don’t need this qualifier.
- Let me be perfectly clear… Usually followed by complete bafflegab.
- This may sound stupid but… Check yourself, the rest of that sentence probably sounds stupid.
- With all due respect… The prelude to an insult, no respect implied or taken.
- In other words… The worst culprit. Just use the right words the first time.
Take these pompous-sounding “fillers” out of your writing to avoid confusion and gain clarity in your writing. This is particularly helpful in business communication, approach your reader assuming they’re pressed for time. They need information, not prose or poetry.
Are there other “filler phrases” that make writing sound pompous? Share them in the comments section below or send them along and I’ll add them to the list.
If you’d like help honing your writing skills, feel free to contact me.
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This article was originally published on September 22nd, 2016, and has been updated.