You’ve discovered a typo in your cover letter; now what do you do?

… after you stop hyperventilating, of course. Here’s an e-mail I received today from Heather B: Leslie, Recently a friend shared her chagrin at discovering that the closure in an email she sent with her resume to a prospective employer contained an obvious typo. The closure! What would you have advised her to do? Nothing? […]


Editor surveys staff to see whether they understand their own jargon

If you’re a web writer, an editor, or a plain language advocate, you’ve probably encountered this frustrating situation frequently. You’re editing a web page or document, and it’s loaded with jargon. You flag the terms you know readers won’t understand and ask the authors to provide plain language substitutes. “Why simplify?” the subject matter experts […]


Thirteen Overused and Abused Expressions I’d Like to Outlaw

I recently came across an article about 115 forbidden words and expressions compiled by Randy Michaels, CEO of the Tribune Co.  The company owns the Chicago radio station WGN, and Michaels forbid radio anchors and reporters from using these words.  Among forbidden words and expressions are some that make me cringe as well. 5 a.m. in […]


For Double the Value, Cut Your Web Content In Half

Sometimes the best solution to a problem is the simplest one. Overweight? Eat less.  Low on funds? Sell the flowery china you inherited from your great aunt. Flabby, non-engaging web content?  Cut it in half. Sometimes the best thing you can do to your web content is just make it shorter by half. My experiment: […]