A language question: practise or practice?

Published on by in Blog, Language.

Dear Tiffany…

Dear Tiffany,

I would appreciate it if you could settle a dispute I am having with my colleagues, over the use of ‘practice’ as a noun and ‘practise’ as a verb.

To give you two examples: “With maintaining a routine of daily practice…” and: “ I would recommend regular practice…”

I am saying that both of these are correct, because ‘practice’ is being used as a noun. However, my colleagues do not agree, saying it should be ‘practise’, as this is something that should be done, and is therefore a verb. Which is the correct form?

– Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

You are...

Why does he talk like that? Seven language ‘lessons’ from The Donald

Published on by in Blog, Language.

©actionsports via 123RF

Donald Trump, the uninvited guest at the 2016 election, has taken everything we thought we knew about running in a presidential campaign and turned it on its head. But for me as a copywriter, one of the most interesting things about The Donald isn’t his fluffy hair, his tiny fingers or his orange visage – it’s the way he speaks*.

If you listen and watch closely, you’ll hear and see explosive noun phrases, self-interruptions, departures from the theme, flashes of memory, odd side remarks; in a nutshell, the disordered language of a person with...

Why you need rock-solid copy more than paid search

Published on by in Blog, Freelancing, Language.

A couple of years ago, I wrote crap.

Truth. My professional life was largely dominated by creating web copy that I really, really disliked, but that got the job done really, really well. It was peppered with synonyms, keywords, and cautious-but-very-deliberate repetition.

It wasn’t link-bait, but it wasn’t beautiful.

If I’m honest, the crap copy was fun to create, because I was writing puzzles – using my right brain to generate original content that relied on my left brain to be strategic enough to rank highly. But I was aware that, in the grand scheme, it sucked.

Then Google...

Editing for non-editors: an intro

Published on by in Blog, Language.

Yes. We. Can.

What is editing?

Editing is actually NOT about fixing mistakes. That’s proof-reading. Editing is about adding clarity, by improving sense, meaning, flow and fullness. In a nutshell:

  • It’s correcting and refining text for readability.
  • It’s bringing conformity to a text, for a specific purpose.
  • It’s revising text to improve quality.
  • It’s about making the writer’s words more valuable and credible.

I call this ‘Level 2’. You’ll see why in a bit. At this level, the three most common issues I see are:

  1. Waffle
  2. Repetition
  3. Missing or confused logic

What is proofing?

I call this ‘Level 1’.

Mark Twain knew how hard it is to proof-read...