Monday’s Mistake for March 1, 2021: The Dangers of Automated Email!

Monday’s Mistake for March 1, 2021: The Dangers of Automated Email!

Sadly, this is the first paragraph in an automated email I get once a week now that we have a registered puppy. I count three blatant mistakes plus several places where writing could be improved. What do you see? To be honest, it’s not the mistakes or poor writing that bug me about this. What bugs me is this is yet another example of the dangers of the set-it-and-forget-it mentality many marketers have with automated email. These emails are being sent out when triggered by an event, in this case, our puppy turning 16 weeks old...
3 Rules to Get Apostrophes Right Every Single Time (RIP Apostrophe Protection Society)

3 Rules to Get Apostrophes Right Every Single Time (RIP Apostrophe Protection Society)

Last week we went to Hamburg, New York for the Thanksgiving holidays. (It’s my husband’s hometown.) And it seems I can’t escape the absurd use of apostrophes even when on vacation because I had to stare at this sign while trying to enjoy my beer: We were at a cute neighborhood pub and I was drinking a tasty local brew called Frosty the IPA and eating Buffalo wings, of course, yet still. That sign annoyed me the whole time. Why do so many people get it wrong? Sadly, it seems the incorrect use of the apostrophe is the new normal. In...
On Long Country Drives, Rustic Wooden Signs, and Annoying Apostrophe Errors

On Long Country Drives, Rustic Wooden Signs, and Annoying Apostrophe Errors

I spent this past weekend with women I’ve been friends with for 40 years. It was long overdue and delightful, and I laughed until my stomach hurt. But my eyes also hurt because while driving through the countryside to get to the beachfront rental, I’d repeatedly see people’s last names on signs in front of their properties with an incorrect apostrophe. You’ve seen these signs, I’m sure. They are usually carved or painted wood, with a small “The” in the upper left corner above the family...
The Secret of Semicolons…or How to Use This Sexy Piece of Punctuation Correctly

The Secret of Semicolons…or How to Use This Sexy Piece of Punctuation Correctly

This week’s blog post is brought to you by one of my kids—because I just found out I didn’t teach her how to use semicolons. OK, maybe it was the school’s job when she was younger, but really, I work with words for a living. I teach business writing skills. I know my punctuation. And somehow I didn’t pass along this valuable information. Parenting fail! So I’m passing it along now, in a very public way. (Emma, are you paying attention?) I heart semicolons It’s too bad people misuse them. Semicolons are unique! They are perhaps...
Oh, Comma, You Little Trickster You, Leading Us Astray…

Oh, Comma, You Little Trickster You, Leading Us Astray…

Why do people struggle so with commas? It’s seems we either tend to over-do it or under-do it, and using commas correctly eludes us. Maybe that’s because the comma is so easy to use and so easy to leave out. It’s just a little bit of punctuation, lacking the hardness or a period after all, right? What harm can it do to guess? Well, in my opinion, it can do plenty of harm if it a) gets in the way of clarity, b) makes you look dumb, or c) both a and b. So let’s talk about at an easy way to know whether or not you need to use a comma...