Write with TASTE Blog

The ‘basis’ of concise writing

27 August 2009

I recently copyedited a 20-plus page document that for the most part was very well written – well organised, complete and with very few grammar mistakes.


The biggest problem?  It was littered with the wordy phrase ‘on a … basis’ – for example, ‘on a weekly basis’, ‘on a daily basis’ and so on. 


Perhaps the writer thought this phrase made the document sound very business-like.

You’re not a corporate word machine

20 August 2009

Every business has its own culture – it’s own practices and style, its own ‘personality’.

One part of a company’s culture is their writing style.  Many companies produce their own writing style guide.  These include guidelines they want staff to follow when writing workplace documents, including things like spelling (British or American English), open or closed punctuation, date and number forms, abbreviations and so on.

Good writing sparkles

13 August 2009


Good writing sparkles like a well-cut diamond.


The logo of the UK’s Plain English Campaign looks like a diamond.  The Campaign awards a ‘Crystal Mark’ seal of approval to organisations that demonstrate a commitment to communicate clearly with the public.


Like a diamond, the Crystal Mark has many ‘facets’ that represent the standards of plain English, including the use of

Are your verbs tired?

6 August 2009 

Verbs convey strength – action – movement.  Or at least they should.

Frequently, though, we weaken verbs.  We change a strong verb into its noun form and combine it with a weaker verb, like this:  Please make application for reimbursement to the Finance Department.

Why not say, ‘Please apply for reimbursement to the Finance Department’

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