People who have ‘writer’ in their job title are usually quite happy to start sentences with ‘and’ and ‘but’. Often that’s because they’ve read the wonderful 1926 classic, Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Fowler says it’s perfectly fine. Fowler wrote his book to help civil servants and other writers of dull official documents express themselves like…

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Manchester City football club fired their manager Roberto Mancini after what they consider to be a disappointing season. The directors then made a statement about it. And their language was quite interesting. In a stuffy, impersonal announcement they said: ‘The club has failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception…

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I got two letters from my bank last week. Looking at them side-by-side showed just how much of a problem an inconsistent tone of voice can be for big business. One of them was a current account statement. It did its job well enough. It was reasonably well designed and in seconds I knew how…

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One of the things we’re always pointing out in our writing workshops is the importance of knowing the outcome of what you’re writing. Instead of thinking about what you want to say, start with the impact you want to have. Your first questions should be ‘What do I want my reader to do when they…

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