Company

Author Archive | Peter Riches

Email tone detector: helpful tool or cultural imperialism?

I’m always interested to see how automation and artificial intelligence are being deployed to help people write more clearly. The latest innovation to catch my eye is a ‘tone detector’ from the popular writing assistant software developer Grammarly. At the time of writing, the beta version of the tone detector is available as part of […]

Continue Reading

Four writing styles and when to use them

If you were to read the instructions for operating a nuclear reactor, you would expect it to be written very differently to a novel about a nuclear accident, or a newspaper editorial about the merits (or otherwise) of nuclear power. Broadly speaking, there are four different styles of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative. The […]

Continue Reading

Where words go when they die

The current online version of the Macquarie Dictionary lists 138,000 words and 210,000 different definitions. According to an online survey of 2 million (admittedly self-selected) people, the average adult has a vocabulary of 20,000–35,000 words. Which begs the question, what happens with the rest? Some words are part of industry jargon or have a technical […]

Continue Reading

A Style manual for the digital age

Whenever I find myself editing a document, there are two resources I keep close at hand – a dictionary and the Australian Government Style manual. Unlike the dictionary, which I can access online (depending on the version required), the Style manual has always been a physical publication. Hopefully that is soon to change. The Commonwealth […]

Continue Reading

Sans Forgetica: the font to remember

Why would anyone design a font that is deliberately difficult to read? The answer is simple: to help people retain the information they are reading. A team of designers and behavioural scientists at RMIT University has created a new font for the specific purpose of aiding memory retention. It may seem counterintuitive, but by employing […]

Continue Reading

Editing with artificial intelligence

Futurists predict that many of the jobs we do today will cease to exist when human labour is replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). Is the occupation of professional editor likely to be one of them? Much of what is written about AI or automation in the workplace is negative – particularly when it is accompanied […]

Continue Reading

Is writing a dying art?

Whenever he conducts a business writing workshop, our trainer asks participants what proportion of their workday is spent writing (e.g. emails, reports and presentations). The answer is usually somewhere between 50 and 75 per cent. He then asks how many participants have been provided with formal training in writing as part of their work. Sometimes […]

Continue Reading