- LETTING YOUR COMPUTER AUTO-HYPHENATE, BECAUSE IT WILL …
- hyphenate proper nouns, e.g. the names of cities or people
- have more than two consecutive end-of-line hyphens
- hyphenate the last word of a paragraph
- divide a word so as to mislead, e.g. the-rapist; read-just; ex-tractor
- hyphenate a short word and put just one or two characters on the next line.
These are all no-nos. They’ll undermine your credibility.
2. STILL WRITING WORDS LIKE MANKIND
Careful writers now use many synonyms for words that once included both men and women.
Instead of mankind, they use the more inclusive humanity, humankind, humans, human beings etc. Instead of chairman, they simply use chair.
These days, not using more inclusive words makes you appear like someone who’d sign their letters Your obedient servant. Too old-fashioned to be credible! Or misogynistic.
3. USING ADDRESS WHEN THERE ARE 80 MORE SPECIFIC WORDS
There are two valid uses for address: the words you’d put on an envelope before posting a letter, and speech/speak.
Politicians love this weasel-word. Using it lets them “forget” about the need to deal with, tackle, solve, attend to, deliver, etc.
Careful writers write clearly and specifically.
4. NOT USING THE SPELL CHECKER
We all know the spell-checker on the computer isn’t foolproof.
But it’s right there, it’s easy and you don’t have to download anything.
And it will significantly reduce the number of typos in your document.
5. USING BABY WORDS
Hands up all those who cringe when grown-up people insist on writing tummy for stomach, or crutch for crotch? Or drinking champers or bubbly? Or describing food as yummy or yucky?
Readers are busy people. They’ll use any excuse to stop reading.
Hey, YOU wouldn’t dream of committing these crimes, would you?