Why this dog won’t hunt.

As I’m sure you know by now, I love finding mistakes on sites that belong to “internationally famous” and “global best-selling” authors. Here’s a dandy sentence I just found:

This talk goes behind the scenes of some of the most beloved companies in the world to offer a blueprint for any brand or leader to find their voice, craft a better story, and share it with the world.

Why is this incorrect? Yes, I know it’s mushy, but why is it incorrect? Well, it’s the old bugaboo of international best-selling authors: the infamous noun-pronoun mistake, but this time there’s a little twist. To what does the plural pronoun refer? Well, at first blush it’s “companies,” since that’s the only plural noun within spitting distance.

But, not so fast. “Their” really is referring back to “any brand or leader.” Ooops! It’s the “or” that presents the problem. When two nouns are separated by “and,” they create a plural “unit,” in the sense that there are two nouns, which require a plural pronoun. But! When two nouns are separated by “or,” the verb and the pronoun agree in amount with the noun closest to them, and, in this case, the noun is “leader.” Singular!

But this is extra tricky, because you really can’t say “his or her voice” when you have “brand” in the mix. The work-around here is “…every brand and every leader.” One noun plus one noun equals two nouns: plural pronoun. You could also, I think, write “all brands and all leaders” and be correct.

As it stands now, unfortunately, that dog won’t hunt.

A really bad sentence.

I’m writing two books right now—Comma Common Sense and Happy Hyphens (a tentative title)—and am collecting examples of how not to use commas and hyphens. Where could I go to collect examples faster than to the referral organization to which I belong and look at its members who do “website development” and “content marketing”?

You know me: I never publish names and identifying information. (Well, 99.9% of the time I don’t!)

Here’s a really nasty sentence from a “web developer,” and this sentence is in the part of the site where the content writing prowess of “the team” is being extolled.

Our staff have been featured in some of the largest publications in the world, and we pride ourselves on education and learning more everyday.

What do you see? I see two things that are absolutely wrong. Absolutely. Wrong. How the heck did this get by “the team”?

Got me.

The new trite: an update on “uppity” nonstarters.

I’ve noticed an uptick in “up” words that are, well, they are stupid. We’ve already discussed the inanity of “up-skill.” Who thought up that gem?

Just now, however, on a deplorably messy site, I found another “uppity” nonstarter: up-level. Perhaps it’s not as stupid as “up-skill” (you’d have to get up pretty early in the morning to one-up “up-skill”!), but trust me folks, these words don’t make you look like a “thought leader”; no, using stupid words make you look…stupid. It’s just that simple.

If you were curious, here’s how to use “up-level” in a sentence. You’ll notice that sometimes the person uses a hyphen, and sometimes not, probably depending on how she’s feeling at the moment. Myself, I’m fed up!

Why not both up-level your brand with this program and save $$.

The Total Package WILL Help You
Up Level Your Personal Brand

For XYZ, it’s about up leveling the whole experience, starting with one’s personal brand.

This package is perfect for the successful professional who is ready to brand their persona, build a new brand, or simply up-level the fine details of their image and show up in a bigger way.

She is a ‘cut to the chase’ kind of woman who doesn’t like to waste time, so in this book she has made it simple and clear how to up level your personal brand.

(And someone should tell her about quotation marks.)

Jaw-dropping doesn’t begin to describe…

You know, I’m beyond “over” smug people who are “authors.”

You watch someone swank around saying, “I’m a published author,” or “I’m a bestselling author,” and then you pick up his or her book and the book is littered with mistakes!

Or you visit some “coaching” site, a site that is simply stuffed with “global thought leaders,” where (of course) everybody is a best-selling author, and then you see this:

Thursday, August 31, 2017 — PUBLISH YOUR BOOK. Yes, you really CAN tell a book by it’s cover. Learn when to call in the expert book designers, illustrators and photographers, and why DIY is not always in your best interest. Cathy@DavisCreative.com

I mean, what the F*CK? How can this happen? On a website with “international” and “federation” in its title.  I’m just not getting it. A keynoter at a conference has hundreds of mistakes in his book. A workshop presenter at the same conference has hundreds of mistakes in her book. A gal who sits near you at lunch passes you an 87-page manuscript that SHE SAYS has been edited and the 87-page manuscript has THREE HUNDRED AND NINE mistakes in it.

I was applying to present a program in New Zealand, and the organizers wanted the program to be along the lines of “How to Write a Book and Why You Should.” My first draft was titled “Everyone Can Write a Book, But Not Everybody Should.” Humph, maybe not. Then I tried this: “Not Everyone Should be an Author, and That’s OK.” Better.

Introduction: Got something to say? That’s great, because so does everyone else. The commitment of authorship is considerable, because writing a book isn’t easy. Writing a book can take months, if not years. Most books nowadays are poorly edited, unoriginal crap. Most claims to “best-seller” status are bull. Do you feel you should be an author? Do you have what it takes to write an important, worthwhile book with a clear, original, and valuable message? Do you really feel you have something to say, or are you just feeling peer pressure? Let’s find out!

I finally decided that if the point was to get invited to New Zealand, I’d have to be much, much, much more chirpy. So, here’s what I finally came up with:

The EXPLOSIVE Power of the Published Speaker

La, dee, da, everybody’s a friggin’ author, but nobody can write.