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Saturday, July 28, 2012

50 Inspirational Quotes About Play That will Jump Start Creativity

Some examples to inspire you ... to read more of the linked article:
1. The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. Carl Jung
17. There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago. J. Robert Oppenheimer
29. And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. Kahlil Gibran
40. If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society. Jean Piaget
47. What we play is life. Louis Armstrong
This article is featured in today's (July 28) Garbl's Creativity Connections -- available at the Creativity tab above and by free email subscription.

6 Reasons Why Grammar Still Matters in the Digital Age | Andrew Hindes, PR News

Noting that many people these days are writing in "cryptic half-sentences with hashtags, LOLs, smiley faces" and other thoughts that can fit 140-character tweets and 160-character text messages, Hindes asks:
Do grammar and punctuation still matter when it comes to writing press materials? In other words, do PR professionals really need to worry about whether the period goes inside or outside the quotation marks when crafting an e-mail pitch?
His answer, at least for now: "a resounding yes." And he explains why the basic rules of usage, punctuation and style still matter:

Credibility: Press materials with grammatical errors indicate ignorance or carelessness on the part of the writer ....

Professionalism: Similarly, sloppily written materials can create a negative impression ....

Respect: Underpaid and overworked journalists may resent receiving a document filled with errors ....

Clarity: Grammar and punctuation errors can result in ambiguities or misunderstandings.

Convenience: Harried journalists often opt to copy whole sentences or even paragraphs of PR materials verbatim. If your grammatical gaffe slips through, it makes them look bad.

Posterity: Press materials distributed across the Internet live on forever—along with any mistakes they contain.

This article is featured in today's Garbl's Style: Write Choices -- available the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The one thing every home page needs | Katya's Non-Profit Marketing Blog

I like this suggestion, at least for nonprofit agencies and organizations, if not for all organizations that consider people an essential resource, customer, client, supporter ...

More than one person would be fine, as long as they each have the potential to evoke emotion in the website visitor.

I guess I should acknowledge that none of my website pages meet this suggestion (except for, ahem, a couple with my photo on them). I must do something about that!

Paring It Down to Just the Basics | Stuart Elliott,

“Simply,” “simple” and “simplicity” — along with like-minded thoughts that include “easy,” “honest” and “clear” — have become marketing buzzwords in response to three related trends: how busy life today seems, the growing complexity of technology and the increasingly complicated economic picture.
Oh so very true! And this article provides examples how various companies are marketing their products and services by promoting simplicity:
That has encouraged advertisers to woo consumers with promises to provide solutions that are meant as simple but not simplistic.
I like the trend, but I think the article is reporting only part of the picture.

First, while companies like Apple have certainly developed simple-to-use products, I wonder if some companies are latching on to marketing the  simplicity of their products without making much effort to actually enhance their simplicity. That's unfortunate (for customers), at best, and misleading, even dishonest, at worst.

I haven't researched that question. Just raising it as something customers -- and communicators -- should monitor.

And speaking of communicators, simplicity also includes simplifying communications. My impression is that more and more companies, agencies and organizations are trying to simplify the materials they produce (like instruction manuals). It certainly benefits customers when information about products and services is written in clear, concise (or plain) language. And there's still a long way to go.

And speaking of plain language, see Garbl's Plain English Writing  Guide. It describes in seven steps on how learn to improve your writing skills by using these plain-English techniques:
  • Focusing on your reader and purpose
  • Organizing your ideas
  • Writing clear, effective paragraphs
  • Writing clear, simple sentences
  • Using suitable words
  • Creating an enticing design
  • Testing for clarity.

Words Can Wound: How The Media Describe The Mentally Ill And Disabled - Kaiser Health News

Leading with reference to the controversy raised after an NPR reporter referred to a man as a "nutcase," the authors ask the question:
[S]hould the media in general be more careful about the language used to describe mental illness and disability?
They quote Bob Carolla, director of media relations for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, who said poor choices of words tend to reinforce ingrained cultural stereotypes:
There’s a distancing for people with mental illness, usually with the perception of, "Oh, if they have a mental illness, they must be violent." And that’s such a low percentage that we would be talking about.
Similarly, Ron Honberg, national director for policy and legal affairs at National Alliance on Mental Illness, said:
It impacts negatively on people’s ability to get jobs, to find housing, to have social relationships. It’s as big a barrier to recovery probably as the symptoms themselves.
The writers note that the language used by mental health professionals to describe mental illness and disability has improved over the years, according to advocates. "Mild," "moderate," "severe" and "profound" have replaced "moron," "imbecile" and "idiot" as the terms describing mental deficiency.
And they note how the Associated Press Stylebook, the "bible" of editorial style used many journalists, has changed:
According to David Minthorn, deputy standards editor of the Associated Press and one of three AP Stylebook editors, the stylebook through the 2000s listed “mentally retarded” as the preferred term for “people with significantly sub-average intellectual functioning.” It had a disclaimer to not use retard as a noun.
But in 2008, AP substituted "mentally disabled" as the preferred term., after discussing language usage with medical professionals. I recall discussing that suggestion at work with diversity and civil rights specialists. Their preference, as inserted into the organization style manual:
[I]nstead of using broad terms like a person with a mental [or cognitive] disability or a person with a physical [or mobility] disability, consider using a useful phrase that describes the effect of the disability, if appropriate: He has a disability that makes it easy for him to become lost.
Of course, as the AP Stylebook also says:
[D]o not describe an individual as disabled or handicapped unless it is clearly pertinent to a story.
For more information on this topic, see the Avoiding Bias section in Garbl's Style and Usage Links.

Why Thinking of Others Improves Our Creativity | David Burkus, The Creativity Post

Synopsis: Research indicates we're better at solving problems and being creative when we're thinking of others instead of ourselves.

Referring to that research, Burkus writes:
This isn’t just the creative power of altruism. The results strengthen the theory that when we think of the situations we are in, we tend to think more concretely and can struggle to generate new ideas, whereas when we think about the situations others are in, especially situations distant from our own reality, we tend to widen our perspective and generate ideas that are a little more abstract – more like the creative ideas we might need.
He describes another research exercise that involved taking a real situation and making it more abstract, thus freeing the mind to generate more abstract solutions.

Referring to the research studies, Burks writes:
Both are powerful reminders that if we want to make better and more creative decisions, it helps to broaden our perspective and get beyond our own problems.
This article is featured in today's (July 27) Garbl's Creativity Connections -- available at the Creativity tab above and by free email subscription.

3 tips for leading with clarity | Liz Guthridge, Connect Consulting Group

While noting a couple of new related books on the topic of clarity in leadership, Guthridge provides her own useful tips for clarity in writing and other forms of communications:
When striving for clarity, keep in mind these three C’s—call to action, context and consistency—that I encourage my clients to adopt. ... These three C’s help you put yourself in your customers’ shoes. When you are customer-centric, you generally can deliver clearer messages that resonate better.
Guthridge goes on to describe her three C's, summarized below:

1. Call to action. Before you decide what to share, consider what you want people—such as employees—to do. That will help you articulate not just interesting, but also useful information—information that’s actionable. ...

2. Context. Put your points into context of your goals and the day-to-day events and actions that support them. And continue to give concrete examples that show the connections. ...

3. Consistency. Make sure your words and actions are in sync and aligned with the points you’re making. Consistency also needs to extend across the organization ....
This article is featured in today's (July 26) Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs -- available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

For more information on clear, concise writing, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. In seven steps, it explains how you can  improve your writing skills by using plain-English techniques:
  • Focusing on your reader and purpose
  • Organizing your ideas
  • Writing clear, effective paragraphs
  • Writing clear, simple sentences
  • Using suitable words
  • Creating an enticing design
  • Testing for clarity.

Keep calm, and say it plainly | Malie Lalor, OxfordWords blog

Citing Sir Ernest Gowers in The Complete Plain Words, Martin Cutts in the excellent Oxford Guide to Plain English and George Orwell in “Politics and the English Language,” Lalor asks these questions and explains these rules:
  • What is plain English, and why should you use it?
  • When should you use plain English?
  • Some rules for writing plain English.
Answering her first question, Lalor writes:
Simply put, plain language is language that’s easy for the reader to understand.
She quotes, summarizes and comments on writing rules in Orwell's lengthy but fine essay. And she concludes with this good advice:
For me, the golden rule is: think about your readers, and don’t make them work too hard. When you follow that rule, you will find yourself striving to get your meaning across effectively, and doing the hard work of writing plainly yourself, rather than risk confusing your readers.
I recommend Lalor's references, especially the Cutts book on plain language. For more related information, check out the free Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide.

This article and others are featured at today's (July 27) Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs -- available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

5 Tips to Help Your Marketing Messages Sing | Andrea K. Hammer,

If you feel using plain language (aka plain English) in your writing would be boring, uninteresting or ineffective, you are mistaken.

In fact, using plain language is likely to increase the number of people who read your documents, get your message(s), and respond to them in the way you're hoping.

The reason: Materials that follow plain-language writing principles are aimed at meeting the needs of your readers (as well as your needs):
  • They make clear right from the start the purpose of the document -- so you readers will know upfront what they'll get out of reading it.
  • Plain-language documents are written (and designed) to make reading them easier and faster to do -- always important these days when people are so busy. 
  • And they're written to make sure your messages and information are provided in clear, concise language that your readers will understand. 
Certainly, following those principles won't lead to boring, uninteresting and ineffective communications!

Andrea Hammer, author of the article at this link, gets it. She even writes that following these principles "will help your marketing messages sing." That's right, marketing -- when you're trying to sell stuff!

Hammer writes:
Drawing on my business-writing experience, here are some guidelines for effective marketing descriptions to build your reputation and business.
Here's a summary of her five tips:
1. Clarify thoughts. ... Can you describe your product or service clearly and succinctly? ...
2. Energize descriptions. ... [T]try to avoid overused descriptions like "hot" and "best," which have lost their meaning. Instead, rely on verbs full of energy, such as "sparkle," "zip" and "zoom." ...
3. Create snapshots. Clear words and messages have the ability to paint word pictures. Vivid images leave impressions in customers' minds, giving them a sense of your business and the people behind your operation. ...
4. Simplify sentences. ... Complexity and clutter make processing information difficult, so don't pack multiple ideas into sentences. Make your thoughts easy to digest by using words that readers recognize ....
5. Refine drafts. ... Slash every word that is confusing or unnecessary. Simplify and polish every word to help the essence of your company, identity and message rise to the top.
For more advice on this topic, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It can help you improve your writing skills by using plain-English techniques:

Garbl’s Creativity Connections

If you're needing some creative inspiration, check out Garbl's Creativity Connections. My daily online "paper" features blog articles, tweets, photos and videos about creativity -- a favorite subject and pursuit of mine. The software selects the items automatically from my preferences in Google+ and Twitter. I'll likely be as surprised -- and inspired, I hope -- as you by some of its posts.

It's available at the Creativity tab above and by free email subscription.

Today's (July 26) headlines include:
  • How to Train Your Creative Mind
  • 3 Steps to Fuel Your Creativity and Purpose with Exercise
  • 6 Must-Read eBooks To Spark Creativity
  • What Daily Meditation Can Do for Your Creativity
  • Why Boredom Is Good for Your Creativity
  • Creative Passion: The Antonym of Apathy
  • Jack Daniel’s Rewards Creativity.
For more information on this topic, check out Garbl's Creativity Resources Online. It's an annotated directory of websites that provide advice for increasing creativity and innovation in your writing, in your personal life, on the job, in school, in the arts and elsewhere.

Guidelines to communicating clearly -- Camille Tuutti, Federal Computer Week

Following up on a recent report card on how well U.S. government agencies are complying with a federal plain-language law, Tuutti interviewed the board chair of the Center for Plain Language. That nonprofit organization gave 12 government agencies two grades, for how well they followed the requirements of the law and how well they followed the “spirit” of the law.

Annetta Cheek, who also was plain language coordinator at the Federal Aviation Administration, answered the following questions; I've included some responses:
Who's the worst offender of complex language? Government? Industry? Academia?

How can managers best implement the Plain Writing Act?

What are some challenges of the act when it comes to adoption in federal agencies?

What are some good examples of plain writing?

How about complex writing?

Why do people use complex writing?
  • They think it’s a requirement of their organization.
  • They are just updating old models, not creating new documents, and the old models are awful.
  • They think it makes them look knowledgeable.
  • They can’t write any other way. Writing clearly is much harder work than writing in your usual bureaucratic manner.
  • They are not thinking of the intended reader. Instead, they are thinking about their manager, the lawyer that has to approve the document, the technical person at the next desk.
What are some guidelines to simple, concise writing?
There are lots, but if I had to pick just a few, I’d say:
  • Strongly prefer active voice
  • Keep your sentences reasonably short
  • Keep subject, verb and object together – don’t stick other stuff in between
  • Omit anything your reader doesn’t really need
  • Use pronouns
  • See the Federal Plain Language guidelines for lots more
 This article is highlighted in today's (July 26) Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs -- available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

For more related information, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing  Guide.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Pet Peeves: From the D Entries in Garbl's Editorial Style Manual

Here's the fourth in my alphabetical series of pet peeves -- from entries in the D section of Garbl's Editorial Style Manual. My style manual covers editorial issues like  abbreviations, addresses, capitalization, English grammar, Internet terminology, numbers, plurals, possessives, punctuation, spelling and word usage. It focuses on U.S. standards for spelling, punctuation, definitions, usage, style and grammar. 

Earlier blogs: 
dangling modifiers Avoid modifiers that do not refer clearly and logically to some word in the sentence. Dangling:Holding the paper to the light above the table, it cast an image on the wallHolding does not refer to the subject of the sentence, it. As written, the sentence suggests that it (the paper) was holding itself (as well as casting its image)--an extraordinary feat! To eliminate the dangling participle, the first words following that introductory phrase should be the name or description of the person (or thing) holding the paper: Holding the paper to the light above the table, Benjamin made it cast an image on the wall. The participle is no longer dangling; it's held in place by Benjamin--or, the subject of the sentence.

Another way to fix dangling participles is to put the original subject of the sentence in the introductory participle phrase, then refer to the object of the action as the replacement subject of the sentence. Thus: As Benjamin held the paper to the light above the table, it cast an image on the wall. The pronoun it could still be confusing to some readers, however: Is it the paper or the light? If that's a problem, replace it with the paper. Here's another way to rewrite the sentence: As Benjamin held it to the light above the table, the paper cast an image on the wall.

data Normally a plural noun, it takes plural verbs and pronouns when writing about individual items: The data have been analyzed thoroughly. Data may take singular verbs when the group or quantity is considered a unit: The data is accurate. Stick with the plural verb after data if you're not sure which one to use.

Also, use data to refer to evidence, measurements, records and statistics from which conclusions can be inferred, not as a simple synonym for facts, knowledge, reports or information. If suitable, consider using simpler information or facts.

daylight saving time Not savings. No hyphen. Always lowercase. FYI, daylight saving time starts at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November, except in areas that exempt themselves.

decades Use numerals to show decades of history. Use an apostrophe to show numerals are left out. Show plural by adding the letter s (no apostrophe): the '50s, the 1990s, the mid-1930s.

decimate Commonly misused. Remember that the Romans used this word centuries ago to mean killing only one in every 10 of their enemies. They didn't use it to mean killing all their enemies. To decimate now means "to destroy a large part of something or to kill many people." Don't use it to mean simply destroy or annihilate, demolish or wipe out, all of which imply doing away with something completely. And don't use decimate to mean something less significant, such as break, damage, defeat, hamper, kill or reduce. Use one of the stronger or weaker alternative words if that's what you mean. See demolish, destroy.

demolish, destroy Both mean"to do away with something completely." Totally demolished and totally destroyed are redundant. See decimate.

demonstrate Overstated. Simplify. Use form of prove, show, describe or explain. But if you want to join with other people to protest or support something in public, go ahead and demonstrate. You have a right to be a demonstrator and take part in demonstrations!

different from, different than Different from is almost always the correct choice--particularly before nouns and pronouns: My car is different from hers. Dogs are different from catsDifferent than is usually wrong. But either phrase can be used before a clause (a group of words with both a subject and a verb): How different things appear in Houston than they appear in Boston. How different things appear in Houston from how they appear in Boston.

differ from, differ with When you mean two items are unlike, use differ from. One thing differs from another. When people disagree or are in conflict, they differ with one another. Stan insisted that his left eye differed from his right. His wife, however, differed with him.

disabled People with disabilities have the same rights as other people, including the right to privacy. Treat them as you would treat other people. If in doubt about mentioning a person's disability, ask him or her. A person who is blind, for example, may prefer to be called blind instead of partially sighted or visually impaired.

Avoid mentioning a disability when it is not pertinent. When necessary to mention a disability, put the person first, not the disability: The man who is blind. The child who is paralyzed. The woman with a mental illness. Also, instead of using broad terms like a person with a mental [or cognitivedisability or a person with a physical [or mobilitydisability, consider using a useful phrase that describes the effect of the disability, if appropriate: She has a disability that makes it easy for her to become lost. Don't say the paraplegic, the schizophrenic, the arthritic, the brain-damaged person.

Disability and disabled are preferred to handicap, handicapped, impairment and impaired. Avoid impersonal phrasing such as the handicapped or the disabled. Instead, say people with disabilities, using person-first language. Avoid condescending euphemisms when writing about people with disabilities; for example, handicapable, physically challenged and special.

doubt that, doubt whether, doubt if Sometimes confused. Use doubt that when expressing disbelief or skepticism or when making a negative statement (using no or not): He doubts that the Easter Bunny exists. I don't doubt that you mean what you say. There's no doubt that she will make the deadline. Use doubt whether when expressing indecision or uncertainty: She doubts whether he'll find his car keys. He doubted whether he could make the best choice. Choose one of those two phrases instead of the vague conditional doubt if.

due to the fact that Incorrect, overstated and wordy. Simplify. Try replacing with because.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nominalizations Are Zombie Nouns - Helen Sword,

In this article, Sword provides a clear explanation of why you should strive for the elimination of nominalizations in your writing.


In other words, Sword explains clearly why you should eliminate nominalizations from your writing. 

OK, I left in nominalizations (even though my spelling checker highlights it as a misspelled word). 

But isn't the second version simpler and clearer to you? It's a third shorter than the first version in the number of words. 

Now for that nominalization word. If its meaning isn't clear already, here's how Sword describes it:
Take an adjective (implacable) or a verb (calibrate) or even another noun (crony) and add a suffix like ity, tion or ism. You’ve created a new noun: implacability, calibration,cronyism. ... 
Nouns formed from other parts of speech are called nominalizations. ... I call them “zombie nouns” because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings. ...
At their best, nominalizations help us express complex ideas: perception, intelligence, epistemology. At their worst, they impede clear communication.
And even those complex ideas are better explained if you use simpler words to explain them:
[T]he more abstract your subject matter, the more your readers will appreciate stories, anecdotes, examples and other handholds to help them stay on track.
This article is featured in today's (July 24) Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs -- available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

For more similar advice, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It describes how you can improve your writing skills by using plain-English techniques:

Monday, July 23, 2012

100 words that kill your proposal -- Bob Lohfeld, Boasting Technology

This article is published at a technology website and emphasizes proposal writing. But its advice is worthwhile reading and following in all types of documents.

Lohfield writes:
These inappropriate words and phrases can weaken a proposal, annoy evaluators, and even undermine the bidder’s credibility.
To help you write better proposals, we have compiled a list of the most frequently used words that should be avoided when writing proposals. ...
Our list doesn’t cover every word that should be avoided, and there are certainly exceptions to the usage rules, but our list does provide guidance and suggests alternative words that will strengthen your proposal.
Lohfield's list is available as a Word document at his company website.  Here are the word categories, with some advice and examples:

Crutch words -- used when writers don't understand what to say
  • We understand ...
  • Leverage our experience ...
Boasting words -- these exaggerate or overstate facts, causing loss of
  • state-of-the art
  • best of breed/class
Vague, useless words -- these provide little value to the reader:
  • dedicated to
  • comprehensive
Weak words -- these weaken the biggers' argument and cause doubt in the minds of evaluators
  • We sill strive, try or attempt
  • We are committed
Phrases with hidden verbs -- replace with action verbs
  • came to an agreement
  • held a meeting
Redundant words -- simply to write concisely
  • actual experience 
  • on a monthly basis
Unnecessary qualifiers -- avoid these or if used, substantiate your assertion
  • best
  • exactly
Needlessly long words -- replace with short, simple words
  • ascertain
  • enumerate
Slang words --- use in every day speaking, but not in proposals
  • hit the ground running
  • well-seasoned managers
Legal words -- if used, make sure you intend to comply with the legal definition
  • ensure 
  • guarantee
For much more similar advice, check out Garbl's Concise Writing Guide. This free guide provides alternatives to overstated, pompous words; wordy, bureaucratic phrases; and verbose, sometimes amusing redundant phrases:
You'll also find related advice in the Using Suitable Words section of Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide.

88 Links That Are Like Crack for Photographers | Toad Hollow Photography, Light Stalking

I haven't -- yet! -- visited all these links, but the headline and lead paragraph sure captured my interest. The lead paragraph:
Back from a brief hiatus, the Toad has been busy hopping around the internet looking for the best tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone. This weeks list contains some of the very best images, tips and tricks from some of the most talented artists. ...
As noted in that paragraph, the links are grouped into Tutorials, Great Photography and Interesting Blogs.

10 Pinterest Best Practices for Nonprofits | Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

I've been testing Pinterest and thinking about how nonprofit organizations and agencies can use it to reach and help their particular and potential clients, customers, members, employees, and donors.

This article provides useful ideas! It's directed at nonprofits, but other organizations and companies could benefit by following its advice.

The author writes:
[E]ven if your nonprofit is not quite ready to take the leap into pinning, at the very least you should sign up to reserve your first choice of usernames, such as ... 
To summarize the article, here are headings for each of the writer's tips:
  1. Pin your own website and blog content, but only if it pulls up a good photo!
  2. Add quality descriptions to your Pins.
  3. Add website links to your Pin’s descriptions.
  4. Add #hashtags to your Pin’s descriptions.
  5. Add your logo or avatar to your images.
  6. Embed inspirational quotes onto your images.
  7. Add a price banner to your pins that are goods being sold or fundraising campaigns.
  8. Space your Pinning throughout the day.
  9. Monitor your Pinterest referral traffic.
  10. Make your Board Descriptions SEO-friendly.
This article is featured in today's (July 23) Garbl's Good Cause Communications -- available at the Nonprofit Communications tab above and by free, daily email subscription.

I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why | Kyle Wiens, Harvard Business Review

If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.
That's how Kyle Wiens begins his blog. He writes that everyone who applies for a position in his two companies must take a writing test -- salespeople, our operations staff, and our programmers:
Extenuating circumstances aside (dyslexia, English language learners, etc.), if job hopefuls can't distinguish between "to" and "too," their applications go into the bin.
Wiens notes that people at his companies write for a living. But he contends that use of correct grammar is relevant for all companies; that it makes good business sense:
Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can't tell the difference between their, there, and they're.
He also maintains that use of grammar reflects on a person's other abilities and willingness to prevent or fix mistakes:
I've found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling parts. ...
Applicants who don't think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important) things also aren't important. ...
And so he gives a "grammar litmus test" to all job seekers:
All applicants say they're detail-oriented; I just make my employees prove it.
I'm posting this article because I think Wiens makes sense. 
This article is featured today (July 23) in Garbl's Style: Write Choices -- available at the Editorial Style tab above and daily, free email subscription.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yes, Mitt, the rules apply to you as well | Opinion | Paul Krugman

Mitt Romney's success does not entitle him to deferential treatment, writes Paul Krugman

What a quotable column by distinguished economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman!
Not only do many of the superrich feel deeply aggrieved at the notion that anyone in their class might face criticism, they also insist that their perception that Obama doesn't like them is at the root of our economic problems. Businesses aren't investing, they say, because business leaders don't feel valued. Romney repeated this line, too, arguing that because the president attacks success "we have less success."
This, too, is crazy (and it's disturbing that Romney appears to share this delusional view about what ails our economy). ...
Because the rich are different from you and me, many of them are incredibly self-centered. They don't even see how funny it is — how ridiculous they look — when they attribute the weakness of a $15 trillion economy to their own hurt feelings. After all, who's going to tell them? They're safely ensconced in a bubble of deference and flattery.
Unless, that is, they run for public office. ...
Clearly, Romney believed that he could run for president while remaining safe inside the plutocratic bubble and is both shocked and angry at the discovery that the rules that apply to others also apply to people like him. ...
OK, let's take a deep breath. ... There are plenty of very rich Americans who have a sense of perspective, who take pride in their achievements without believing that their success entitles them to live by different rules.
But Mitt Romney, it seems, isn't one of those people. ...
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