Speak their language

If you were going to write something for an audience in Marseille, and you wanted them to respond enthusiastically, you’d have your work translated into French. That’s a no-brainer, right? If your audience were in Sao Paulo, you’d get it translated into Portuguese. If they were in Bangkok, you’d want it presented in Thai. Those … More Speak their language

Copyright 2016

If you write it, you own it. Nobody else is allowed to make a copy of it unless you sell that right or give it away. That’s copyright in a nutshell: the right to copy your work. (That means works are copyrighted, not “copywritten.”) In the United States, you automatically have a copyright on your own … More Copyright 2016

Go-to words

Anyone who has listened to Donald Trump knows that he can barely get through a sentence without including a superlative. He likes to describe things as the greatest, the best, the most. He doesn’t just think big. He thinks huge. Or, if you prefer, “yuge!” Hilary Clinton has her own go-to words, though they may … More Go-to words

Only the few

Often I run across the phrase “one of the only” and grind my teeth a bit. It’s a phrase that almost, but not quite, gets it right. If there’s just one of something, you can say it’s “the only.” If there’s a very small number of something, you can say it’s “one of the few.” … More Only the few

Tool Time

One of the many bafflements of my college years was the discovery that the English faculty had little interest in teaching students how to write well. Sure, they would present the basics in a remedial composition class for freshmen who hadn’t learned what they were supposed to in high school. Beyond that, though, the writing … More Tool Time

Easy on the eyes

The printed page and the computer screen are visual media. To engage the reader, you need to do more than spell everything right and make some sort of sense. You also need to make your writing look inviting. At a high level, that’s traditionally the job of a page designer: deciding which typeface to use, how … More Easy on the eyes