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Is English becoming toxic?

Despite a global push for the use of plain English to boost reader understanding and accessibility, recent language trends and buzzwords suggest that English is actually becoming less accessible for the average user. The desire to be avant-garde, politically correct (i.e. inclusive and inoffensive) or earnestly non-committal (particularly popular in the political arena) is seeing […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Where do Christmas cards come from?

Ever wondered where the tradition of sending Christmas cards originated? I did, so I undertook a little research (okay, I googled it and did some reading on Wikipedia). Here’s what I learnt … The general consensus is the first commercial Christmas cards were created by the Englishman Henry Cole. In 1843, Henry (later Sir Henry) […]

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