Talking Chairs
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9 tips for better proofreading

Proofreading can be tough. It can seem like no matter how much you read and re-read your content, errors still get through. On the Web, these errors can be corrected easily enough, but in print, that’s another story. Next time you are tasked with proofreading a project, consider the following tips: 1. Avoid getting bored. Though proofing requires extreme focus and concentration, it can be boring. Try something that relieves your mind of the pressure, but enables you to stay focused. This could be chewing gum, tapping your foot, or listening to classical music. 2. Get...
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7 word-a-day resources to expand your vo...

I’ve often written of my love of words. I’ve explored words that are fun to pronounce, words that make writers swoon, made-up words andwords to describe people. There are also words to describe words and Janus words. For this week’s post, I went searching for new sources of words and found several “word-a-day” resources, apps, and websites. Here are some you might find worthwhile:   A Word A Day For 20 years, the wordsmith.org online service has been emailing a word a day to subscribers all over the world. The New York Times has called the service “the...
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Hyphens, dashes, and mass hysteria

My favorite exchange from the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters” comes when the team is trying to convince the mayor of New York to let them out of jail so they can re-capture the ghosts running amok in the city. Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster or biblical proportions… Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes.. Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave! Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! I sometimes like to apply those lines of dialogue to punctuation:...
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101 transitions to help connect your wri...

Transitions can make or break your writing. Good transition words connect sentences and paragraphs and turn disconnected writing into a unified whole. They help the reader (and writer) move from idea to idea. Transitions can also be tricky. Sometimes you need to use words other than “but,” “however” and “in addition,” yet it can be difficult to find that perfect connecting word. Consider the following phrases when you need some new transition ideas. above all accordingly admittedly after all afterward all things considered alternatively altogether an example...
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21 eye-grabbing headlines (for better or...

I don’t like to admit this, but I’m terrible at writing headlines. It’s the pressure. A headline not only has to summarize the article, it also has to grab the reader’s attention and lure him or her into the story. While recently reviewing articles on how to write better headlines, I stumbled upon several lists of funny, outlandish and ridiculous headlines. I found them particularly inspirational. Here are a few of my favorites: County to pay $250,000 to advertise lack of funds Volunteers search for old Civil War planes Meeting on open meetings is closed Ten...
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4 steps to help you conquer any editing ...

Professional editors are often made painfully aware that not all writers are created equal. Some of the content we are asked to edit may require a complete rewrite. Other pieces of writing may need only a single change. Because it can be tough to edit the work of writers with varying degrees of skill, I’ve created a process that helps me edit on different levels. Editing to improve the structure of an article or press release is different from editing for style and usage. Here’s a four-step method to help you “divide and conquer” any editing task. 1. Read...
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3 more examples of bad email manners

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on bad email manners. It described four egregiously rude email tactics and asked PR Daily readers to share their own examples. Here are some of those responses: The fake forward “Lately I’ve been receiving emails disguised as forwarded messages (from PR publications no less). It’s a weak attempt to make it look like someone is forwarding you information when in reality it’s still an e-blast.” The forward with no explanation “The email blunder/bad manners that drives me crazy is forwarded emails with no...
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What your writing style says about your ...

What does your writing style reveal about your personality? How about your client’s personality? Find out with IBM’s Watson Personality Insights Service. Input any text — a set of tweets, an email, a blog post, an article — and Watson will analyze the characteristics of the person who wrote it. Try it. Watson, the cognitive computer system that can help diagnose disease, generate recipes, and win at Jeopardy — is being put to use to “help businesses better understand their clients and improve customer satisfaction by anticipating customer needs and...