Oxford’s word of the year is…the most boring word ever

By Samantha Enslen •

Well, the good folks at Oxford University Press have unveiled The New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2006. And it ain’t anything cute or even elegant. It’s carbon neutral. I am yawning just typing it. Head to Oxford if you want the definition. Their reasoning for choosing such a dud? Oxford’s Erin McKean, editor of the OAD, …

E-mail lessons from Abe Lincoln

By Samantha Enslen •

Tom Wheeler’s delightful book Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails explains how the President’s adept use of the telegraph helped him win the Civil War. In a new essay, Wheeler expounds on how reading Lincoln’s “t-mails” changed his own email style. To whit: When he used an electronic message Lincoln maximized its impact by using carefully chosen words. His August 1864 telegram to …

Writing Effective E-mails, by Lifehacker

By Samantha Enslen •

Lifehacker discusses how to improve your email habits and “wrangle spaghetti email messages from the clueless into more effective communication,” with tips on writing better subject lines, writing to get an actual response from your reader, and getting emails to your correct mailbox.

Land of Typos, part gross

By Samantha Enslen •

From an information technology proposal: We will bring the lesions learned over the past 10 years to ensure success on this effort. Talking about lessons learned in proposal text is enough of a cliche. But lesions learned? That’s just gross.

Land of Typos, part corporate jargon

By Samantha Enslen •

This isn’t exactly a typo, but more an example of the type of corporate writing that makes me want to vomit. We understand that as change accelerates beyond the fundamental ability of organizations to anticipate it, only one competitive differentiator can help companies stay ahead: innovation. By enabling this constant flow of technology and innovation and facilitating this exchange of …

Are you celebrating National Punctuation Day?

By Samantha Enslen •

Well, it’s hardly a national holiday … but perhaps a few people out there will be celebrating National Punctuation Day on September 24. Be sure to check out the photos of punctuation gaffes displayed on the event site.

Making typos to show that typos are wrong?

By Samantha Enslen •

RepMan writes about the latest absurd result of a public figure/head honcho neglecting to run copy past a proofreader or editor before releasing it to the masses. It seems a company called TextTrust–which hawks “the Internet’s highest quality web site spell checker”–sent out a press release full of–you guessed it–typos. The misspelled words included independent, accommodation, and definitely, which were …

Land of Typos, part ouch

By Samantha Enslen •

From a recently edited scientific manuscript: Expansion of the tested material occurred when the testes were held in an NaOH solution. Those poor, poor testes. Needless to say, the author intended to use the word tests. His use of testes instead represents one of the classic categories of typos that slip through spellchecker: the Accidentally Naughty Sentence.

Simplified Spelling for English?

By Samantha Enslen •

I’m a writer, an editor, and a voracious reader. The English language has been my passion since before I can remember; moreover, it’s now my bread and butter. I get paid to know the difference between principal and principle, and to know the three distinct meanings (and spellings) of pallet, pallette, and palate. But lately, as I’ve started teaching my …

Land of Typos, part uno

By Samantha Enslen •

“Most Danish motorways in the 1970’ies were constructed with cement-bound base layers.” Oh dearie. References to decades should generally be handled much more simply: the 1970s. Don’t you agree’ie?