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Sloppy Language? No Deal!

Added on by Karen Wilson.

I was looking for an e-signature provider and almost went with this one until I saw how sloppy they were with their language:

Sloppy language? No deal!
  • The only solution that gets contracts signed, tracked and filed in one easy step
  • Real-time visibility info contract signature status
  • Nothing to download, learn or install - itís easy as using email!
  • Completely secure and compliant with signature controls and audit history
  • Support for both e-signature and written signatures

A Very Dangerous Three Letter Word...

Added on by Karen Wilson.

I saw this heading on an international trade organization’s website:

Toyota to hold world’s biggest car recall for 16 years

I think they mean “in 16 years.” Either that or they’ve hired earthworms to do the processing. 

Is a Dictionary Dreary?

Added on by Karen Wilson.

It’s not if you ask David Skinner. In his book, The Story of Ain’t, he describes the heated controversy of revising Webster’s New International Dictionary with its 100,000 new words and definitions.

 Here’s a review in the Wall Street Journal by James Kelly, called “You Say Prescriptive, I say Proper.” It took Webster’s three editions, but they finally acknowledged the word ‘hot dog.’ Oscar Mayer may you rest in peace.

Loose vs. Lose and Other (Un)Common Mistakes

Added on by Karen Wilson.
Loose vs Lose

We’ve been receiving real life examples of language folly from readers around the world.  And since we like to share...

At a symposium for start-up businesses in San Diego: “Don’t loose focus on your brand.”

While traveling in Italy: “Due to general works in the village, no water or electricity 7:00 to 9:00. Thank you for your comprehension.”

On a website for a professional event planner in the United States: “As the story goes with “Cinderella”, I will change the pumpkin into a silver carriage and make sure your event has a “Happy Ending”

At a Korean international trade luncheon: “Korea is one of the largest exporters of contact lenzes.

Psssst….Let’s Discuss This Quietly

Added on by Karen Wilson.

When is it time for a business language makeover? The excerpts below are from the website of a well-respected natural cosmetics company from Europe. They sell great products – I have used them myself – but you’d never know by looking at their drab presentation and weak writing.

If I might quietly suggest that they quickly review their English language presence…..

“The International Esthetics Cosmetics & Spa Conference is quietly approaching... 4/30 - 5/5”

“As word of mouth spread quickly of the unmatched caliber of products created, [our company's] creations grew to be sought after all over Europe.”

“…[our company's founder] created products that proved to be visionary, foreshadowing todays emphasis on natural ingredients, sourced cruelty free.”

Motorcycle Madness

Added on by Karen Wilson.

Below is part of an owner's manual from a company that will sell about 51,000 bikes in North America this year. If their manufacturing is as good as this section of their manual, then 1,360 of those bikes will have defects.


Take the Mess Out of Your Message

Added on by Karen Wilson.

A message that is unclear, grammatically flawed, or out of sync with its audience creates confusion. Instead of learning more about your product or service or, better yet, buying what you have to sell, the customer is busy trying to figure out what you are trying to say.

If you want more customers, first clean up your mess(age). 

Why Proofreading isn’t Enough

Added on by Karen Wilson.

Business writing needs to be accurate. Spelling mistakes and poor use of grammar make us question the quality of a product or service. On the Internet, we click right on through until we find a website that “speaks well.” There is an easy fix to this – it’s called proofreading and editing. But is this enough?

Every business sector has its own language or use of jargon. Every business has its own branding and style of presentation. Expert use of industry-specific language establishes your company as trustworthy. You also need to stand out, to be unique in order to differentiate yourself from competitors. It used to be that a company’s representative did this – in person – through charisma and personality. Today, with business conducted globally, it needs to be done with powerful business language tailored to the client’s organization.