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10 Widely Used Latin Phrases


By Kevin Fleming

Whether you’re deciphering a cryptic state seal or trying to impress your Catholic in-laws, knowing some Latin has its advantages. But the operative word here is “some.” We’ll start you off with 10 phrases that have survived the hatchet men of time (in all their pretentious glory).

1. Caveat Emptor
(KAV-ee-OT emp-TOR): “Let the buyer beware”

Before money-back guarantees and 20-year warranties, caveat emptor was indispensable advice for the consumer. These days, it’d be more fitting to have it tattooed on the foreheads of used-car salesmen, infomercial actors, and prostitutes. For extra credit points, remember that caveat often makes solo appearances at cocktail parties as a fancy term for a warning or caution. Oh, and just so you know, caveat lector means “let the reader beware.” Read More…

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12 Useful Websites to Improve Your Writing


by Johnny Webber

1. Words-to-Use.com — A different kind of thesaurus.

2. OneLook.com — One quick dictionary search tool.

3. Vocabulary.com — The quickest, most intelligent way to improve your vocabulary.

4. ZenPen.io — A minimalist writing zone where you can block out all distractions.

5. 750words.com — Write three new pages every day.

6. Readability-Score.com — Get scored on your writing’s readability.

7. YouShouldWrite.com — Get a new writing prompt every time you visit.

8. WriterKata.com — Improve your writing with repetitive exercises.

9. IWL.me — A tool that analyzes your writing and tells you which famous authors you most write like.

10. HemingwayApp.com — Simplify your writing.

11. FakeNameGenerator.com — Generate fake names for your characters.

12. Storyline.io — Collaborate on a story with others by submitting a paragraph.



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LOL, OMG and ILY: 60 of the dominating abbreviations


Those using the abbreviations do so as a tactic for speed in text communication, a university professor on linguistics said, while others just choose to do so because they are a code that older people don’t quite understand.

WeAreSocial.com.au managing director Julian Ward said the various different shortcuts, which range from the the compassionate ILY (I Love You) to the more profain WTF (What the F***) are commonplace now and indicate the changing way people harness social media.

Using social listening tools, WeAreSocial.com.au monitored trending terms used by Australians on Twitter from April 1 to June 30.

The top ranking term was, LOL which was used a total of 1,242,935.

We can see a range of clever to practical acronyms as people look for speed and limited thumb work – plus of course it feels good to be in the know, especially on more subversive terms,’ Mr Ward said.

1. LOL: Laugh out loud

2. OMG: Oh my god
3. ILY: I love you

4. LMAO: Laughing my a** off

WTF: What the f***?
6. PPL: People

7. IDK: I don’t know?

8. TBH: To be honest

9. BTW: By the way

10. THX: Thanks

11. SMH: Shaking my head

12. FFS: For f***’s  sake

13. AMA: Ask me anything

14. FML: F*** my life

15. TBT: Throwback Thursday

16. JK: Just kidding

17. IMO: In my opinion

18. YOLO: You only live once

19. ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing

MCM: Mancrush Monday
21. IKR: I know right?

22. FYI: For your information

23. BRB: Be right back

24. GG: Good game

IDC: I don’t care
26. TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday

27. NSFW: Not safe for work

28. ICYMI: In case you missed it

29. STFU: Shut the f***  up

30. WCW: Womancrush Wednesday

31. IRL: In real life

What does it mean

32. BFF: Best friends forever
33. OOTD: Outfit of the day
34. FTW: For the win

35. Txt: Text

36. HMU: Hit me up

37. HBD: Happy birthday

38. TMI: Too much information

39. NM: Not much

40. GTFO: Get the f***  out

41. NVM: Nevermind

42. DGAF: Don’t give a f***

43. FBF: Flashback Friday

44. DTF: Down to f***

45. FOMO: Fear of missing out

46. SMFH: Shaking my f***ing head

47. OMW: On my way

48. POTD: Photo of the day

49. LMS: Like my status

50. GTG: Got to go

51. ROFLMAO: Rolling on floor laughing my a*** off

52. TTYL: Talk to you later

53. AFAIK: As far as I know

54. LMK: Let me know

55. PTFO: Passed the f*** out

56. SFW: Safe for work

57. HMB: Hit me back

58. TTYS: Talk to you soon

59. FBO: Facebook Official

60. TTYN: Talk to you never
*Provided by wearesocial.com.au


8 Ways to Say Congratulations!


congratulationsJoyful times go hand in hand with congratulations. When addressing graduates, newlyweds, or anyone with good news, a hearty “Congratulations!” is in order. Congratulants, people who congratulate, have been using this pluralized expression, which stems from the Latin gratus meaning “pleasing,” since the 17th century. The singular noun meaning “the act of congratulating” has been around since the late 16th century.


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Top 3 posts for book lovers (or where to find FREE BOOKS legally)

100 legal sites to download literature

From Classics and Science to rare books – a huge resource of online sites with legal and free books for download.

download free books

Read More…

173 foreign words and phrases in English language


Over the centuries the English language has assimilated words and phrases from a variety of other languages. In context, those listed here are often printed in italics.


ab initio

Latin from the beginning
a cappella Italian sung without instrumental accompaniment (literally ‘in chapel style’)
à deux French for or involving two people
ad hoc Latin made or done for a particular purpose (literally ‘to this’)
ad infinitum Latin endlessly; forever (literally ‘to infinity’)
ad interim Latin for the meantime
ad nauseam Latin to a tiresomely excessive degree (literally ‘to sickness’)
a fortiori Latin more conclusively (literally ‘from a stronger [argument]’)
agent provocateur French a person who tempts a suspected criminal to commit a crime so that they can be caught and convicted (literally ‘provocative agent’)
à huis clos French in private (literally ‘with closed doors’)
al dente Italian (of food) cooked so as to be still firm when bitten (literally ‘to the tooth’)
alfresco Italian in the open air (literally ‘in the fresh’)
amour propre French self-respect (literally ‘own love’)
annus mirabilis Latin a remarkable or auspicious year
a posteriori Latin based on reasoning from known facts or past events rather than on assumptions or predictions (literally ‘from what comes after’)
a priori Latin based on deduction rather than experience (literally ‘from what is before’)
au courant French well informed; up to date (literally ‘in the (regular) course’)
au fait French having a good or detailed knowledge (literally ‘to the point’)
au fond French basically; in essence (literally ‘at the bottom’)
au naturel French in the most simple or natural way


beau geste

French a noble and generous act (literally ‘fine gesture’)
beau idéal French the highest standard of excellence (literally ‘ideal beauty’)
beau monde French fashionable society (literally ‘fine world’)
beaux arts French the fine arts
bête noire French a person or thing one particularly dislikes (literally ‘black beast’)
belles-lettres French literary works written and read for their elegant style (literally ‘fine letters’)
billet-doux French a love letter (literally ‘sweet note’)
blitzkrieg German an intense, violent military campaign intended to bring about a swift victory (literally ‘lightning war’)
bona fide Latin genuine; real (literally ‘with good faith’)
bon mot French a clever or witty remark (literally ‘good word’)
bon vivant French a person with a sociable and luxurious lifestyle (literally ‘person living well’)
brasserie French an informal or inexpensive restaurant (literally ‘brewery’)


carpe diem

Latin make the most of the present time (literally ‘seize the day!’)
carte blanche French complete freedom to act as one wishes (literally ‘blank paper’)
cause célèbre French a controversial issue attracting much public attention (literally ‘famous case’)
caveat emptor Latin the buyer is responsible for checking the quality of goods before purchasing them (literally ‘let the buyer beware’)
c’est la guerre French used as an expression of resigned acceptance (literally ‘that’s war’)
chacun à son gout French everyone to their own taste
chef-d’œuvre French a masterpiece (literally ‘chief work’)
cherchez la femme French there is certain to be a woman at the bottom of a problem or mystery (literally ‘look for the woman’)
comme il faut French correct in behaviour or etiquette (literally ‘as is necessary’)
compos mentis Latin sane; in full control of one’s mind
cognoscenti Italian people who are well informed about something (literally ‘people who know’)
cordon sanitaire French a guarded line placed around an area infected by disease to prevent anyone from leaving (literally ‘sanitary line’)
Cosa Nostra Italian a US criminal organization related to the Mafia (literally ‘our thing’)
coup de foudre French love at first sight (literally ‘stroke of lightning’)
coup de grâce French a blow by which a mortally wounded person or thing is mercifully killed (literally ‘stroke of grace’)
coup de main French a sudden surprise attack (literally ‘stroke of hand’)
coup d’état French a sudden violent seizure of power (literally ‘blow of state’)
cri de cœur French a passionate appeal or protest (literally ‘cry from the heart’)
cui bono? Latin who stands to gain? (implying that whoever does may have been responsible for a crime; literally ‘to whom (is it) a benefit?’)


de facto

Latin in fact, whether by right or not
Dei gratia Latin by the grace of God
déjà vu French the sense of having experienced the present situation before (literally ‘already seen’)
de jure Latin rightful; by right (literally ‘of law’)
de nos jours French contemporary (literally ‘of our days’)
Deo gratias Latin thanks be to God
Deo volente Latin God willing
de profundis Latin expressing one’s deepest feelings (literally ‘from the depths’)
de rigueur French obligatory; required by etiquette or current fashion (literally ‘of strictness’)
dernier cri French the very latest fashion (literally ‘the last cry’)
de trop French not wanted; superfluous (literally ‘excessive’)
deus ex machina Latin an unexpected event that saves an apparently hopeless situation (literally ‘god from the machinery’)
dolce far niente Italian pleasant idleness (literally ‘sweet doing nothing’)
dolce vita Italian a life of pleasure and luxury (literally ‘sweet life’)
doppelgänger German an apparition or double of a living person (literally ‘double-goer’)
double entendre French a word or phrase with two possible interpretations (from obsolete French, ‘double understanding’)
dramatis personae Latin the characters in a play (literally ‘persons of the drama’)


embarras de richesse

French more options or resources than one knows what to do with (literally ‘embarrassment of riches’)
éminence grise French a person who has power or influence without holding an official position (literally ‘grey eminence’)
en famille French with one’s family; in an informal way (literally ‘in family’)
enfant terrible French a person whose behaviour is unconventional or controversial (literally ‘terrible child’)
en masse French all together (literally ‘in a mass’)
en passant French by the way (literally ‘in passing’)
entente cordiale French a friendly understanding between states
entre nous French between ourselves
esprit de corps French a feeling of pride and loyalty uniting the members of a group (literally ‘spirit of body’)
ex gratia Latin (of payment) given as a favour rather than because of any legal obligation (literally ‘from favour’)
ex officio Latin by virtue of one’s position or status (literally ‘out of duty’)


fait accompli

French a thing that has been done or decided and cannot now be altered (literally ‘accomplished fact’)
faute de mieux French for want of a better alternative
faux pas French an embarrassing blunder or indiscretion (literally ‘false step’)
femme fatale French a seductive woman (literally ‘disastrous woman’)
fête champêtre French an outdoor entertainment; a garden party (literally ‘rural festival’)
fin de siècle French relating to the end of a century
force majeure French superior strength
folie de grandeur French delusions of grandeur



French a small furnished holiday house in France
grande dame French a woman who is influential within a particular sphere (literally ‘grand lady’)


haute couture

French the designing and making of clothes by leading fashion houses (literally ‘high dressmaking’)
haute cuisine French high-quality cooking (literally ‘high cookery’)
haut monde French fashionable society (literally ‘high world’)
hors de combat French out of action due to injury or damage (literally ‘out of the fight’)


ideé fixe

French an obsession (literally ‘fixed idea’)
in absentia Latin while not present (literally ‘in absence’)
in camera Latin in private (literally ‘in the chamber’)
in extremis Latin in an extremely difficult situation; at the point of death
in loco parentis Latin in the place of a parent
in medias res Latin in or into the middle of things
in propria persona Latin: in his or her own person
in situ Latin in the original or appropriate position
inter alia Latin among other things
in toto Latin as a whole
ipso facto Latin by that very fact or act


je ne sais quoi

French a quality that is hard to describe (literally ‘I do not know what’)
jeu d’esprit French a light-hearted display of wit (literally ‘game of the mind’)
jeunesse dorée French wealthy, fashionable young people (literally ‘gilded youth’)
joie de vivre French exuberant enjoyment of life (literally ‘joy of living’)



German a hangover or a severe headache accompanying a hangover (literally ‘cats’ wailing’)



French a non-interventionist policy (literally ‘allow to do’)
locum tenens Latin a temporary deputy or stand-in (literally ‘one holding a place’)
locus classicus Latin the best known or most authoritative passage on a subject (literally ‘classical place’)


magnum opus

Latin the most important work of an artist, writer, etc. (literally ‘great work’)
manqué French having failed to become what one might have been (from manquer ‘to lack’)
mea culpa Latin an acknowledgement that something is one’s fault (literally ‘by my fault’)
memento mori Latin something kept as a reminder that death is inevitable (literally ‘remember (that you have) to die’)
ménage à trois French an arrangement in which a married couple and the lover of one of them live together (literally ‘household of three’)
modus operandi Latin a way of doing something (literally ‘way of operating’)
modus vivendi Latin an arrangement that allows conflicting parties to coexist peacefully (literally ‘way of living’)
mot juste French the most appropriate word or expression


ne plus ultra

Latin the best example of something (literally ‘not further beyond’)
nil desperandum Latin do not despair
noblesse oblige French privilege entails responsibility
nolens volens Latin whether one wants or likes something or not (literally ‘not willing, willing’)
non sequitur Latin a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous statement (literally ‘it does not follow’)
nouveau riche French people who have recently become rich and who display their wealth ostentatiously (literally ‘new rich’)


objet d’art

French a small decorative or artistic object
on dit French a piece of gossip (literally ‘they say’)



Italian worthy or eligible to be elected pope
par excellence French better or more than all others of the same kind (literally ‘by excellence’)
parti pris French a preconceived view; a bias (literally ‘side taken’)
per annum Latin for each year
per capita Latin for each person (literally ‘by heads’)
per se Latin by or in itself or themselves
persona non grata Latin a person who is not welcome somewhere
pièce de résistance French the most important or impressive item (literally ‘piece (i.e. means) of resistance’)
pied-à-terre French a small flat or house kept for occasional use (literally ‘foot to earth’)
pis aller French a last resort (literally ‘worse to go’)
plat du jour French a special dish prepared by a restaurant on a particular day (literally ‘dish of the day’)
plus ça change French used to express resigned acknowledgement of the fact that certain things never change (from plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose ‘the more it changes, the more it stays the same’)
pococurante Italian careless or nonchalant (literally ‘little caring’)
prima facie Latin accepted as so until proved otherwise (literally ‘at first face’)
primus inter pares Latin the senior or representative member of a group (literally ‘first among equals’)
pro rata Latin proportional; proportionally (literally ‘according to the rate’)
proxime accessit Latin the person who comes second in an examination or is runner-up for an award (literally ‘came very near’)


quid pro quo

Latin a favour or advantage given in return for something (literally ‘something for something’)


raison d’être

French the most important reason for someone or something’s existence (literally ‘reason for being’)
reductio ad absurdum Latin a method of disproving a premise by showing that its logical conclusion is absurd (literally ‘reduction to the absurd’)
roman-à-clef French a novel in which real people or events appear with invented names (literally ‘novel with a key’)



French the ability to stay calm in difficult circumstances (literally ‘cold blood’)
savoir faire French the ability to act appropriately in social situations (literally ‘know how to do’)
sine die Latin (of proceedings) adjourned indefinitely (literally ‘without a day’)
sine qua non Latin a thing that is absolutely essential (literally ‘without which not’)
soi-disant French self-styled; so-called (literally ‘self-saying’)
sotto voce Italian in a quiet voice (literally ‘under voice’)
sub judice Latin being considered by a court of law and therefore not to be publicly discussed elsewhere (literally ‘under a judge’)
sub rosa Latin happening or done in secret (literally ‘under the rose’)
sui generis Latin unique (literally ‘of its own kind’)


table d’hôte

French a restaurant meal offered at a fixed price, with few if any choices (literally ‘host’s table’)
tant mieux French so much the better
tant pis French so much the worse; too bad
terra firma Latin dry land; the ground (literally ‘firm land’)
terra incognita Latin unknown territory
tête-à-tête French a private conversation (literally ‘head-to-head’)
tour de force French a thing accomplished with great skill (literally ‘feat of strength’)
tout de suite French at once (literally ‘quite in sequence’)
unheimlich German uncanny or weird



German forbidden
via media Latin a compromise (literally ‘middle way’)
victor ludorum Latin the overall champion in a sports competition (literally ‘victor of the games’)
vis-à-vis French in relation to; as compared with (literally ‘face-to-face’)
vox populi Latin public opinion (literally ‘the voice of the people’)



German the characteristic spirit or mood of a particular historical period (literally ‘time spirit’)
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Top 100 Favorite British Slang Words and Phrases

british slang

1. Tosser – Idiot
2. Cock-up – Screw up
3. Bloody – Damn
4. Give You A Bell – Call you
5. Blimey! – My Goodness
6. Wanker – Idiot
7. Gutted – Devastated
8. Bespoke – Custom Made
9. Chuffed – Proud
10. Fancy – Like

11. Sod Off – Piss off
12. Lost the Plot – Gone Crazy
13. Fortnight – Two Weeks
14. Sorted – Arranged
15. Hoover – Vaccum
16. Kip – Sleep or nap
17. Bee’s Knees – Awesome
18. Know Your Onions – Knowledgeable
19. Dodgy – Suspicious
20. Wonky – Not right

21. Wicked – Cool!

22. Whinge – Whine
23. Tad – Little bit
24. Tenner – £10
25. Fiver – £5
26. Skive – Lazy or avoid doing something
27. Toff – Upper Class Person
28. Punter – Customer/Prostitute’s Client
29. Scouser – Someone from Liverpool
30. Quid – £

31. Taking the Piss – Screwing around

32. Pissed – Drunk
33. Loo – Toilet
34. Nicked – Stolen
35. Nutter – Crazy Person
36. Knackered – Tired
37. Gobsmacked – Amazed
38. Dog’s Bollocks – Awesome
39. Chap – Male or friend
40. Bugger – Jerk

41. Bog Roll – Toilet Paper
42. Bob’s Your Uncle – There you go!
43. Anti-Clockwise – We Say Counter Clockwise
44. C of E – Church of England
45. Pants – Panties
46. Throw a Spanner in the Works – Screw up
47. Zed – We say ZZZZZZZ
48. Absobloodylootely – YES!
49. Nosh – Food
50. One Off – One time only

51. Shambles – Mess
52. Arse-over-tit – Fall over
53. Brilliant! – Great!
54. Dog’s Dinner – Dressed Nicely
55. Up for it – Willing to have sex
56. On the Pull – Looking for sex
57. Made Redundant – Fired from a job
58. Easy Peasy – Easy
59. See a Man About a Dog – Do a deal or take a dump
60. Up the Duff – Pregnant

61. DIY – Do It Yourself /home improvements
62. Chat Up – Flirt
63. Fit – Hot
64. Arse – Ass
65. Strawberry Creams – Breasts
66. Shag – Screw
67. Gentleman Sausage – Penis
68. Twigs & Berries – Genitalia
69. Fanny – Vagina
70. Bollocks – Balls

71. Ponce – Poser
72. Don’t Get Your Knickers in a Twist – Don’t Get worked up
73. The Telly – Television
74. Bangers – Sausage
75. Chips – French Fries
76. Daft Cow – Idiot
77. Do – Party
78. Uni – College/University
79. Starkers – Naked
80. Smeg – From Red Dwarf

81. Bits ‘n Bobs – Various things
82. Anorak – A person weirdly interested in something
83. Shambles – bad shape/plan gone wrong
84. I’m Off to Bedfordshire – Going to bed
85. Her Majesty’s Pleasure – To be in prison
86. Horses for Courses – Won’t work for someone else
87. John Thomas – Penis
88. Plastered – Drunk
89. Meat and Two Veg – Genitalia
90. Knob Head – Idiot/Dickhead

91. Knob – Penis
92. Chav – White trash
93. It`s monkeys outside – it is very cold
94. Stag Night – Bachelor Party
95. Ace – Cool!
96. Plonker – Idiot
97. Dobber – Penis
98. BellEnd – Penis
99. Blighty – Britain
100. Rubbish – Garbage or ‘That’s crap!’


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How to Know What Belongs in Your Reports

How to write a report
Written by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, Syntax Training
Imagine that someone asks you for a report. If the person who asks is your manager, you may know what he or she wants in the document. But if the individual is from the executive team or another department or even a client company, you may not know what or how much to include. Here are tips that will help you recognize the best content.  

1. Imagine that instead of a report, the individual asked to interview you on the topic. What do you think he or she would ask? For example, imagine that you just returned from a trip to another country to visit a division of your company, a client’s office, or a factory. What would the other person ask you?
Here are some ideas:
  1. What was the purpose of your trip?
  2. Where did you go? 
  3. When did you travel? 
  4. Who traveled with you? 
  5. With whom did you meet there? At what facilities?
    (The questions above are the basics, which you can cover briefly.)
  6. What did you accomplish on the trip?
  7. What did you learn
  8. What do you recommend based on your trip? 
  9. Overall, how useful was the trip?
  10. Does anyone need to follow up on the trip? If so, who? How? 
You can use this question method to recognize what belongs in any report. Here are sample questions for an update: 
  1. What is this report about?
  2. What time period does this report cover?
  3. Are things on track?
  4. What has been accomplished since the last report?
  5. Have any important events taken place?
  6. Have there been any problems or obstacles? If so, how have they been managed?
  7. Is there anything I need to worry about?
  8. Where can I get more information
If you are writing a very important report, such as one to the president of your organization, you may want to have someone else review your list of questions to see whether you are on target before you write the report.  

When you feel you have a good list of questions, you are ready to write a draft. Just answer the questions. You can even use parts of the questions for headings, for example, “Purpose of the Trip” and “Trip Dates.” 

2. Recognize the purpose of the report. Will your director use the report to make a decision about financing a project? Will another team use your report to design software tests? Will your peers read the report to incorporate information into a proposal? Will the report go into a file to document a current situation? Write a sentence that states the purpose of the report, and use that statement to help you recognize what must be included (and what should be left out) to support that purpose. 

3. Consider your larger purpose for writing the report. Think beyond the fact that you are writing the report to satisfy someone’s request or a job requirement. What would you like the report to do for you or others? For example, for the trip report: 
  • Is your purpose to help build a better relationship with the overseas office? 
  • Is your purpose to illustrate the critical need for more involvement with the factory? 
  • Do you want to show the monetary value of the trip to get approval for travel in your 2015 budget?
  • Do you want to impress your new manager with the clarity of your thinking and writing
As you think about what to include, keep your larger purpose in mind so that you can be sure your report supports that goal. 

4. Ask for a sample report if you are unsure what your reader wants. Especially if you are new in a job or have never written the kind of report requested, ask whether sample reports are available. Review those samples and notice what works for you as a reader. Pay special attention to the kind of information that is included and its relevance. 

5. Recognize that your readers have asked for a report–not a book. They want the essential information–not all the details. To restrain yourself from including too much, try these approaches: 
  • Leave out any information that does not answer a reader’s question. For instance, if your reader would not ask what hotel you stayed at or whether you had any great meals, do not include those details. 
  • Avoid using chronological order to report. Chronological order may cause you to include irrelevant details just because they happened.
  • Use headings, preferably descriptive headings such as “Recommendation: Send a Team to the 2015 Conference” and “Budget Required: $85,000.” Headings will stop you from including information that does not belong in that section.  
  • Summarize. For example, in a report on a client meeting, do not include he said-I said details. Instead, report agreements and outcomes. In a financial or technical report, do not include raw data in the body of the report. If it’s essential, put it in an appendix. 
  • Include links to more information and offers to provide more. For instance, in a report on a conference, link to the conference program or offer to provide certain conference handouts. 
  • Use fewer examples. One or two powerful examples can achieve your goal. Additional examples provide length–not strength. 
  • Use tables and charts rather than sentences to capture numerical information. Graphical illustrations help you leave out extraneous information. Be sure to label each graphic so its relevance is clear to you and your reader. 
When you succeed with a report, keep it in an electronic folder of model reports. Its success will give you confidence, and its strengths will inspire you the next time someone asks for a report. 
Business Writing With Heart won two Silver Benjamin Franklin Awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association last month. You can order the paperback book from Syntax Training or your favorite bookseller, and you can get the e-book and paperback from Amazon and  Barnes & Noble
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200 Words Instead of ‘Said’

synonyms said

1. Exclaimed
2. Replied
3. Queried
4. Questioned
5. Murmured Read More…

5 editor’s secrets to help you write like a pro



Professional writers get work because they hit their deadlines, they stay on their message, and they don’t throw too many tantrums. Some pros have a great writing voice or a superb style, but as often as not, that gets in the way. When you know that the best word is “prescient,” it’s hard to swallow when an account manager tells you the client won’t know what it means.

Professional writers rely on editors to fix their clunks. Like good gardeners, sensitive editors don’t hack away—we prune and gently shape. When we’ve done a great job, the page looks just like it did before, only better. It’s the page the writer intended to write.

Editing, like writing, takes time to learn. But here are five fixes I make with nearly every project. Learn to make them yourself and you’ll take your writing to a more professional, marketable, and persuasive level.

1. Sentences can only do one thing at a time.

Have you ever heard a four-year-old run out of breath before she can finish her thought? I edit a lot of sentences that work the same way. You need a noun, you need a verb, you might need an object. Give some serious thought to stopping right there.

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