E-mail lessons from Abe Lincoln

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

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

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

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?

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?

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

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?

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

“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?

Billionaire Novelist Seeks Editor (she just doesn’t know it)

Matthew Baldwin at Defective Yeti has apparently been reading my mind. He recently wrote about his dismay that J.K. Rowling’s fourth and fifth books in the Harry Potter series, The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix, appeared to have received little to no editing. As Baldwin puts it, the two books: … were released at the height …