Big Trouble with a Little Word

Using as in a causal sense—similarly to because, since, and for—is more often than not a misuse, a misguided attempt to elevate tone to a faux-academic level, and a good way to confuse the reader. As has so many other, more common uses (“It’s hot as hell outside today!”), and causal words like because are … Continue reading

Any Old World

Writers lacking confidence in their mastery of a subject too often use any as a hedge. They throw in the word to needlessly broaden nouns, as if to say, “If the word I’m using isn’t exactly correct, I am protecting myself by inserting any.” I would argue that this use of any doesn’t protect an … Continue reading

Meaning Matters

Write with exactness; write exactly what you mean to convey. As I’ve noted before, the rules of communication are more lax when you’re speaking. But your reader only has the words on the screen. There are no other signals to give added context. With that in mind, drive out all ambiguity from your writing. THINK … Continue reading

Numbers, Like Words, Matter

Writing with exactness is crucial when you’re working with numbers. As written on the screen, the phrase between $120 and $130 millon means just that: the lowest figure is $120 and the highest figure is $130 million. But if each figure is actually in the millions, you need to write between $120 million and $130 … Continue reading