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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 […]

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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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