Thursday, 14 July 2011 18:41

Writing Skills: Hedge Words

There is a lot of research on the persuasiveness, or otherwise, of so-called "hedge words" — words that qualify a statement or make you sound equivocal (such as "possibly" and "probably"). Most research I have read recommends eliminating hedge words, where you can. More nuanced research suggests that qualified statements can be more persuasive than unqualified statements, depending on your audience. For example, if your reader knows and is interested in your subject, then qualified statements may persuade them more than unqualified statements; however, for people who do not know your subject or who are uninterested or who are too busy to really pay attention, then hedge words can deplete the strength and meaning of your message. Here is a list of hedge words to think carefully about.

Published in Writing
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:05

Writing Skills: Write Positively

If you're like me, then you prefer to read what did happen rather than what did not happen. To improve your writing, try turning negative words and phrases into "positive" words and phrases. Here is a list that might help you.

Published in Writing
Sunday, 10 July 2011 00:19

Writing Skills: Avoid Circumlocutions

Circumlocution is using lots of words to describe something simple. Writing well involves avoiding circumlocutions as much as you can.  Here are a few circumlocutions and some plain English alternatives.

Published in Writing

As I'm sure you know, in English there are many words that sound similar, and are even spelled similarly, but have quite different meanings. In this article we look at some such words, starting with A, and explain the differences between them.

Published in Writing
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 03:57

Common English Errors: Spaces

There are a bunch of words that are combinations of two words, that are easily confused, and have quite different meanings depending on whether there's a space involved or not.

Published in Writing
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 23:16

Improving Your Vocabulary: The Nun Study

What's the point in improving your English language skills, when it comes down to it? People can understand what you're saying pretty well, you get your message across, you get by ... what's the big deal?

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