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Parsing the New York Times editorial board

Well, as it happens, I do have a punctuation suggestion! Well, a few, actually. Let's look at this sentence: A raid on a lawyer’s office doesn’t happen every day; it means that multiple government officials, and a federal judge, had reason to believe they’d find...

How do you make 9 mistakes in ONE sentence?

It's easy for BNI! Besides needing a comma, there are two mistakes made over and over and over and over again. The offending (and offensive) sentence: The process to become an Ambassador starts with exemplary leadership in their chapter, they are nominated by someone...

Just ask!

This morning I was tweaking an introduction, and I came across a place that made me pause: is the possessive of CBS written CBS' or CBS's? I liked the latter, simply because you do pronounce that last "s": C-B-S-ess. I went back and forth and then I had a brainwave:...

What's in a typo? A lot!

I was looking at a particular lot on an auction house's site, and came across these two sentences about the condition of the item: Thistle Brooch: Highest amethyst flower with an inclusion that appears as a chip, but it is internal. Not apparent significant chips or...

Shame on Authors!

It's pretty easy to run around and find major, jaw-dropping mistakes in the online content of people who are running around representing themselves as editors or publishers. In fact, it's not "pretty" easy, it's damn easy. But, here's the thing. All you authors, you...

And THIS is EXCELLENCE?

At some point in life, you come to a fork in the road: Do I want to go along with the crowd or do I not give a rip. My fork has been reached, and I've chosen the latter path. I'm sick and tired of sloppy writing. There. I've said it. I'm beyond sick and tired of...

No tolerance, with answers!

  1. After sharing this philosophy and system in the International Bestseller (7L) The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals, Michael with no plans for speaking, coaching, or training was instantly inundated with requests to teach the...

Don't let people like these publish your book!

I guess nothing should surprise me, but I admit that I was shocked tonight when I picked up a flyer from a local publishing company (and I use that phrase reluctantly) named Peppertree Press. The flyer contained at least 18 out-and-out punctuation/grammar mistakes,...

No tolerance.

I admit it. I have no tolerance for people who say that they are "professional" writers but who can't write their way out of a paper sack. These are all sentences from people who take your money to write for you—in the case of the marketing company whose sentences are...

Err on the side of simplicity.

There are a number of ways you can keep the look of your writing clean, and the most obvious, easy way is to eliminate unnecessary periods. There are two ways to eliminate periods. When telling time. It is easier to comprehend, faster to type, and cleaner to use AM/PM...

Boo to this "online reputation manager"

Same deal as the previous post about The Washington Post...same exact mistake. Xxx.com is a reputation management company that is dedicated to using proven strategies to improve their clients' reputation. They have recently launched their new website on Xxx.com. Since...

Kudos to The Washington Post

I was just reading the first couple of sentences in a Washington Post article by Ben Terris. The first sentence looked like this: For half a century, the out-of-power party has used their response to the State of the Union address to capitalize on the dregs of...

Is "Done better than perfect"?

Is “done” really better than “perfect”? I was at a conference for professional speakers last weekend. The presenter was an accomplished speaker with serious chops. The kind of man who you really admire, someone who is a real role model. For speakers, at any rate, he’s...

Open to suggestions!

Hi everyone! I was looking at this famous speaker's website, and on the page about his speaking, there's a typo. It's the all-to-common mistake, using everyday for every day. I've talked about this before, but I'm continuing to see so many mistakes! Everyday (one...

Helloooo, NSA!

Well, what a hot diggity thrill it is to have an article published in Speaker magazine. (Fellow grammar geeks, that's a lowercase "m" in "magazine": It's Speaker magazine, not Speaker Magazine, according to the magazine cover.) My name is Liz Coursen. I live in...

What editors read.

As it happens, most all of my pleasure reading has to do with the research I'm doing, am going to do, or want to do, so, not surprisingly, these titles are practical while being fun and challenging, if you know what I mean. Here's what is on my bedside table: Race and...

Damning with Faint Praise

Damning with Faint Praise: Positive (Not!) Prose Are any of these phrases on your website? Do any of the feedbacks or testimonials on your site contain any of these phrases? Do you use any when describing your services, your products...yourself? Most of the phrases...

Hello, Word Press???

Hey, before I'd comment on an SEO score, I'd make darn good and sure my sentences were correct! These are all run-on sentences, which is such a juvenile mistakes that it blows my mind. A friend of mine told me that the "sweet spot" for SEO writing is 8th grade; in...

Let's edit CNN! Its stuff is awful!

Wow, you'd think that with all the super smart people who work at CNN, you'd find correct copy. Don't bet the house. Here are just a couple of things from just one article: 1) His campaign staffers set up a politically-active nonprofit... Gosh, I thought everyone...

Edit THIS!

How many mistakes? I count three, which, in my opinion, is three too many for this published author. Attendance in our 12 week course gives you access to special pricing (up to 50% off) on noted live events. (Note: not all live events will hold the same discounts,...

The path to publication

The path to publication is generally fraught with pitfalls and perils. Wow, did I find that out when I was trying to get an article in Speaker magazine. I had pitched an article about how to create compelling copy in the summer, which was not due until the middle of...

#1 grammar mistake made by speakers

This is a gimme: Audience is a singular noun. Yes, I know that audience refers to a group of people, but it is one of many nouns called collective nouns, nouns that refer to more than one person but are considered singular nouns for purposes of pronoun and verb form....

Comma Common Sense, Quiz I

My first speaking gig of the year happened January 2, 2018, when I presented a 90-minute workshop to the Sarasota Fiction Writers, at Selby Library. "Comma Common Sense" featured two quizzes; here's the first one. There's no doubt that commas are advanced. No, you...

Cool sentence! Check this out!

This maybe related to exercises role in positively affecting the immune system. Look how correcting two seemingly minor mistakes—a space and an apostrophe—makes this sentence understandable: This may be related to exercise's role in positively affecting the immune...

Worst Sentence of the Month!

Wow! Jaw-droppingly horrible. A drama based on the elite crew of firemen from Prescott, Arizona who battled a wildfire in Yarnell, AZ Iin June 2013 that claimed the lives of 19 of their members. Crew is a singular noun, so you can't say "their" members. Comma after...

Why this dog won't hunt.

As I'm sure you know by now, I love finding mistakes on sites that belong to "internationally famous" and "global best-selling" authors. Here's a dandy sentence I just found: This talk goes behind the scenes of some of the most beloved companies in the world to offer...

A really bad sentence.

I'm writing two books right now—Comma Common Sense and Happy Hyphens (a tentative title)—and am collecting examples of how not to use commas and hyphens. Where could I go to collect examples faster than to the referral organization to which I belong and look at its...