Lordy, don’t you love it when…

Man, I just love it when I get an invite to connect through LinkedIn and (since my mamma didn’t raise no dummy) I go to that person’s profile and find that this invite is a thinly veiled come-on to buy something. It’s just too fun when that happens, and it puts me in such a really fine frame of mind!

In this case, the guy is an “author” and a “speaker” and a book coach, and he’d be happy to sit down with me, remotely, of course, and speak to me for an hour for the small sum of $500.

Only $500! Wow, what a stupendous bargain! Why not, say, four hours? Cheap at that price! What an incredibly exciting opportunity!

So, there I was, just about to pick up the phone and plead with this guy to please, please, please, allow me to pay him for his undoubtedly superior services when, suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, I saw this sentence:

Well, now you can schedule time with Bryan and I to help you to find the solution(s) you need to take that next step in your business.

I read it. I read it again. Oh, no! Just when I thought I’d found my grammar guru and was prepared to worship at his feet, there’s this stinky sentence! Dang, there went his credibility, circling the drain.

Friends, if you want to charge $500 an hour, first spend a lot less and hire an editor.

For the many people who might not know this rule, let me explain. This is that horrible “me” versus “I” thing, which can assuredly trip you up when you’re speaking, but should never confuse you when you’re writing. Okay, ready?

Well, now you can schedule time with Bryan and I to help you to find the solution(s) you need to take that next step in your business.

Me or I? Take out the “Bryan and” part, and what do you have?

Well, now you can schedule time with I to help you to find the solution(s) you need to take that next step in your business.

Doesn’t that make your ears bleed? Ouch! That can’t be right, and it’s not. It’s Bryan and me, Bryan and me.

Too many people think that “I” sounds better, so all this means is that this guy is a bit on the pretentious side. Or maybe he’s a good guy. I don’t know. What I do know, my friends, is that he ain’t no author!

Funny Franchisors, Part II

I met some very nice people at the Franchise Expo, sincere people who are sincerely committed to their concept and sincerely convinced that it’ll make them (and you!) a million bucks or more.

A lot of these sincere people have very snazzy, big-bucks websites (as opposed to modest editors whose modest websites look like tattered refugees from the ’90s), with lots of splash, flash, and color.

So why, my friends, should anyone have to read stuff like this on an otherwise lovely website:

At our franchise, we take frozen acai berries, strawberries, bananas and a splash of soy to create a our perfected smoothie like puree that centers every acai bowl.

This is the sentence that came up #1 with a bullet when you Google this company on your phone, and my phone had plenty of space so I could read the mistake. It was the first thing I knew about this company. The fact that this mistake has been up on the internet and stood uncorrected since August of 2018 was the first thing I knew about this company. Not good.

Shoot, let’s break some more rules while we’re at it!

Pitaya, is a super fruit native to origins of Central and South America and Southeast Asia. Also known as “dragon fruit”, pitaya is rich in vitamins and is known for its vibrant pink hue.

Back after back after back sentences featuring basic American English mistakes. That first sentence has two mistakes! It’s like wearing a pretty dress but not taking a shower: you look good from a distance, but, up close…phew!

A whole can of worms is opened when you have mistakes like these on your website. Is your fruit fresh? Is the fruit washed? Are your employees washing their hands?

When a company has obvious mistakes on its website—and especially in its kick-off sentence—I doubt the sincerity of its management.

Truly sincere people put the best of themselves out there.

Truly sincere people pay attention to details.

Truly sincere people are trustworthy.

The Number One Rule of Good Writing

As an editor, people ask me all the time about the number one rule of good writing. That’s easy. It’s so easy, in fact, that it’s the very same rule for the millions of striving attorneys as it is for the lonely (but optimistic!) Zamboni repair service. No, it’s not about knowing that it’s is not the possessive of it, though “its versus it’s” is the number one punctuation mistake people make. And it’s not forgetting that a singular noun requires a singular pronoun, though that’s the number one grammar mistake people make. It’s not about the fact that compliment is the number one misspelled word in every Multiple Listing Service from sea to shining sea (no offense, all you realtors). And no, good writing is not about using earthshakingly grandiose words.

Nope, the number one rule of good writing is simple: Review your work. Take the minute or so you need to double-check what you are emailing, printing, or publishing. Take the minute or so you need to double-check what is being emailed, printed, or published on your behalf. Does what is written make sense? Any words MIA? Are you really sure of the spelling of that name? Did you run the writing through spell-check? Are all your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed? Hmm?

Just those few seconds can save your bacon.

We are in such a rush nowadays that too often we don’t stop, go back, take a breath, and just read. How hard is that? Answer: not hard at all.

Because if there’s one rule in life, my friends, it’s this: You never know when you’ll need to know how to spell Zamboni.

Funny Franchisors

Welllll, when I say “funny,” I really mean the opposite. There was nothing funny about the writing I observed at this weekend’s Franchise Expo in Ft. Lauderdale. I suppose it was a good thing, since it proves my point—as if I needed any proof!—that business people can’t write. But it’s sad—so sad—because these are supposed to be some of our best and brightest. If that’s the case, we are doomed.

Just look at this!

I am the principal author of the IFA’s Statement of Guiding Principals. 

Do you really think that the IFA has a “Statement of Guiding Principals”? It might have a “Statement of Guiding Principles,” but “principals”? I doubt it very much.

Maybe you’re like, chill, Liz, it’s just a typo. But why? Why is there such an icky, stinky, obvious typo in biographical information about a supposed industry leader? Answer me that.


LinkedIn “Learning” stinks!

LinkedIn “Learning” stinks. LinkedIn “Learning,” at least as far as American English goes, is jaw-droppingly horrible. I think I already said that—somewhere, sometime, and if I didn’t, I meant to!—but I continue to get emails from LinkedIn, and those emails continue to have nails-on-the-chalkboard mistakes.

Like this gem:

Have you ever pored over a beautifully-written article and wished you could write with the same kind of flair?

If you write with the “same flair” as this supposed instructor, you’re writing with something other than “flair” because everybody knows that you never, under any circumstances, hyphenate an -ly adverb.

My most recent post is about an online education provider called Schoox. Schoox is out of Texas by way of Greece. In Greece, people use British English, which ain’t what we use in Texas. Or Florida. Or California. Or New York. Or anyplace in the States. The Schoox voice-overs are by British English speakers, which means that the word “schedule” is pronounced “shedule” every other word in a podcast on behalf of BNI, which, last time I looked, is an American company.

It’s a sin and a shame that major providers of so-called online education can’t write their way out of a paper sack, even when these providers are supposed to be providing education about…wait for it…writing! LinkedIn is a company that should be watching out for its users and ensuring that all its online learning is, at a minimum, correct, yet much of LinkedIn’s online English writing material is full of mistakes, typos, and out-and-out sloppy writing.