EditNATION.com punctuation and grammar Quiz #6

Hang on to your hats, ladies and gents! Here are some hair raising, spine tingling, big-time punctuation and grammar mistakes, yanked—no, ripped—from the pages of the internet. Make me blush!

1) He relies on more than 16 years of public relations experience to provide strategic communications council that drives business impact.

2) We’ve helped hundred of tech companies build market awareness and establish their leadership across a range of sectors, including cloud computing, defense, IT security, mobile, healthcare, manufacturing and more.

3) If you live and breathe social media and the news, like working as a team member, enjoy multi-tasking as a core personality trait, take pride in every word you write, and have mastered the use of the semi-colon, we want to hear from you.

4) This person should have a strong media and blogger relations background in business-to-business and consumer technology public relations, including traditional and social media. They should have excellent writing skills, and clients communication and presentation skills are critical.

5) Steered by our Editorial Guidebook, we outline your strategy – define your target audiences, set the editorial direction set, and crystallize the calendar.

6) In his previous life, he honed his PR skills at the XYZGROUP, working with emerging growth and publicly-traded companies across enterprise technology and cleantech markets.

7) He has provided communications guidance to help clients navigate events of all sizes, including products launches, leadership changes, initial public offerings and acquisitions.

8) Whether working in high school for her brother’s company selling motor oil and antifreeze over the phone or organizing fundraisers and getting her brother in law’s band on local radio stations, she thrived at the art of persuasion.

9) A mother of two young children,  she’s extremely busy and can be found drinking a lot of coffee and listening to music.

10) With no background, training or experience he volunteered to spec and build the first Web site for the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

11) He supported several client’s social media efforts, including General Motors, Sokolove Law, the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum and Honeywell’s Nobel Initiative.

12) A 15+ year PR veteran, she has used her communication powers for good on behalf of NASA, as well as leading technology brands such as HP, QUALCOMM, Microsoft, etc. and top consumer companies like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Nabisco and P&G.

13) When not working, she keeps her plants alive (mostly); volunteers for a local animal shelter and refinishes furniture.

14) Meanwhile, our website design and interactive media bring your story to life through visual dialogue and user experience.

15) [these are stubs]

100% Employer Paid Long and Short-Term Disability

Paid volunteer time at your favorite non-profit every quarter

 

The “About Us” Page: Avoiding the Pitfalls, Part I

When I want to evaluate the overall “style” on a website, the best place to start is the “About Us” page, which typically includes biographical information about the principals: CEO, president, CFO, COO, founder, provost, and so on. The “About Us” page is a place to really shine, to present you and your company or organization in the very best light possible. If the content writer has hit the mark in that material, I’m fairly sanguine about the rest of the website. Alas, most of the time, the “About Us” page looks like it was written by an 11-year-old.

The main issue is continuity, and the first issue is what to say. Material has to be presented identically, bio after bio after bio. The same general outline should be followed for each person.

Here’s how to organize an effective biography. There are basically three required steps and an optional fourth and fifth.
1. Specify the person’s current title.
2. Tell where he or she came from, business-wise, with special emphasis on where that person was (professionally) before joining the company. This is the place to list the person’s accomplishments: the books, articles, speeches, and so on, that pre-date him or her taking this particular position.
3. Describe what he or she does at the company.                                                             And, optional:
4. Give a one-sentence description of two or three hobbies and interests.
5. Give a one-sentence description of that person’s family life.

If you have several biographies to write, vary the order of the information up a bit. For example, you could rotate with this order:
1. A description of current position and responsibilities.
2. Professional background.
3. Educational background.
4. Hobbies.
5. Family.

Once the material has been written, go back over it and look for typos. Take a look at this biographical material:

He runs Product Strategy and Corporate Development at XYZ, a marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA. At XYZ Brad is responsibile for strategic planning, pricing & packaging and corporate development. Additionally, Brad focuses on the design of XYZ’s business processes and operational metrics.
Prior to joining XYZ Brad was a consultant concentrating on operational innovation at PRM.
Brad holds an MBA from MIT Sloan where he is an occassional guest lecturer as part of the new enterprises curriculum. He also holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Amherst College.

When a biography has typos in it—and this one has two—people look stupid. Let’s face it: “two typos” and “Amherst” are words that should never be in the same sentence.

[Full disclosure: when I contacted this guy, the content was corrected. (But, you could ask, why were there two typos in it in the first place?)]

If you do “go there” with hobbies and personal information, please be careful what you say. If you have an aversion to hangnails (yes, I actually saw this on a bio), please don’t share that on your bio page. Sure, it’s absolutely hilarious, a real yuk-fest (not to mention yuck-fest), but do you really want people to think “there’s that idiot who hates hangnails!” every time they see your photo? Using trendy words, sounding like you are about 16—these are things to avoid in a professional, business-oriented, last-forever setting.

Once continuity of overall content has been established as far as the information that is displayed, it’s time to look at continuity within the material—academic degrees, lists of accomplishments, capitalization, punctuation—which I will talk about in Parts II and III.

 

 

EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz #5

From content writers who say they are “professionals” come these wonderful sentences.

I have to lead off this this gem:

“I keep reading about the importance of storytelling and addressing real human emotions, but I am having a hard time incorporating those principals writing about content marketing.  Any advice for me?”

Yeah, learn to spell.

*************************

What’s wrong with these sentences? I got this from one site….

1. Again, the Marketo folks totally grok their audience.

And that site led me to this site, which is what we call in the trade a “hot mess.”

2.  eToro use the CTA to provide readers with a $20 gift card for trading on their platform.

3.  Payoneer is a pre-paid cards company. They use the CTA button to encourage people to load money on their card.

4. With our company’s smart lead generation forms you can collect your readers information as they read through your content.

5. See the example below- this was one of our most successful newsletters with an open rate of almost 30% and Click-through rate of over 25%.

6. My website is designed as an online service comparison engine, providing online expert reviews, side-by side comparison tables and advanced comparison features.

7. By sharing interesting, stimulating content on this site , including content originally posted by yours truly on my site, my website posts gain exposure and every visitor who views any of my site’s pages on XYZ is counted by Google as a site visitor, thus bolstering traffic volume to my website, as well as brand awareness.

8. Here, Cloudyn posted one of their webpages to increase their blog’s exposure on facebook.

And then, more content from my absolutely favorite can’t-edit-its-way-out-of-a-paper-sack content company:

9. To sell something, you have to convince a buyer that they not only want your offering, they need it.

Answers will be along next week!

EditNATION.com blog: Words and Phrases Whose Time Has Come…And GONE

One of the things about being a thought leader is avoiding clichés. Here is a list of words and expressions that you might want to consider not using.
Thought leader
Align/misalign
To take something to “the next level”
To go up or down “a notch”
To “reach out”
To “go missing”
Meme
Awesome
“You guys”
Deep dive
Scale, scalability
Optimize
Rad
Best practices
Skill set
Tool box/tool set (toolset is worse)
Way better, way more
Hacks
Buzz
Robust
Brain dump
Leverage
Buy-in
Riff
Majorly (as an adverb)
Stakeholder
Drill down
Ahead of the curve
Crafting
Disruptive
Double down
Dude
Spend (as a noun)
Onboarding (as a verb)
Task (as a verb)
Impactful
Stoke, used in anything other than “I stoked the fire” context
Score, used in anything other than a sports context
Über
Rock, as in totally
Totally

EditNATION.com Quiz #1 Questions and Answers!

EditNATION.com Quiz #1
Questions and answers.
1. Evernote wasn’t exactly a globally-recognized brand at that point.
Rule: never hyphenate an –ly adverb.
2. One awesome way to keep your fan base happy and engaged is to give them gifts.
Rule: “Base” is singular, but “them” is a plural pronoun.
Rule: God is awesome, Nature is awesome, but giving gifts to your business’s fan base is absolutely not awesome.
3. Begin by completing the items under “Your Inbound Marketing Foundation”.
Rule: In American English, commas and periods always go inside quotation marks. There. Are. No. Exceptions.
4. The team lacked a background in marketing and had no formal strategy on how to connect with their users or visitors.
Rule: Team is a collective noun and takes a singular verb and pronoun.
Rule: Watch out that you don’t use two basically equivalent nouns in an and/or structure; in other words, “users” and “visitors” are so very similar that I’d suggest using one, but not both.
5. Throughout the research process, they evaluated three providers, but in the end, chose us due to comfortability during the trial period and ease of use.
Rule: Don’t make up words. “Comfortability” is not a word. Even if it were a word, I’d say that the concept is so similar to “ease of use” that one should be used but not both.
6. The school was founded as a nonprofit organization and graduated it’s first class in 1947.
Rule: The possessive of it is its, not it’s.

EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz #1

EditNATION.com Weekly Quiz #1
Questions and answers.
1. Evernote wasn’t exactly a globally-recognized brand at that point.

2. One awesome way to keep your fan base happy and engaged is to give them gifts.

3. Begin by completing the items under “Your Inbound Marketing Foundation”.

4. The team lacked a background in marketing and had no formal strategy on how to connect with their users or visitors.

5. Throughout the research process, they evaluated three providers, but in the end, chose us due to comfortability during the trial period and ease of use.

6. The school was founded as a nonprofit organization and graduated it’s first class in 1947.

EditNATION.com Quiz #4 Punctuation and Grammar Quiz

Punctuation and Grammar Quiz, Week 4.
Let’s test your editing chops! What’s wrong with the sentences below? Answers follow next week.
1. A great book can really create a strong platform, but one that is not crafted correctly can actually hurt a speakers creditability worse than if they had not written it all.
2. From CEO of Yahoo Marissa Myer’s bio:
She graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and a M.S. in Computer Science.
3. You can’t however re-convert a JPG/PNG file that has been converted from a PSD back to a PSD file – it loses it’s layers.
4. From Grammarly.com:
There’s also the fact that a misspelled word makes the author look uneducated and unknowledgeable, and so the reader dismisses the work as unworthy of their attention.
Quotation marks come in singles (‘___’) or doubles (“___”), and they always come in sets of two.
In fiction, quotation marks are quite common as they go around all dialogue; in non-fiction they should be judiciously used around quotes to prove a point or support a thesis.
You can use a dash whenever you need to wake your reader up and let them know that the focus is changing.
5. Eric accepted a position as an Assistant State Attorney in Sarasota and Manatee Counties after being admitted to the Florida bar in 2005.
6. Professional Editors can also help improve the clarity and organization of ideas, and can insure consistency of voice and style.
7. Content strategist so-and-so has suggested that a meaningful analysis of a user’s context requires not only an understanding of user goals, but also of their behaviors: What are they doing? How are they feeling? What are they capable of?
8. A highly-regarded researcher, she published numerous articles in scholarly journals.

EditNATION.com blog, January 13, 2015: The #2 Punctuation Mistake on My Hit Parade.

So, the most commonly made mistake in American English punctuation and grammar is using it’s for its and vice versa. It’s is not the possessive of it; rather, it’s is the contraction of it is or it has. Its is the possessive of it. Okay!
And now for the second most commonly made mistake in American English punctuation and grammar: In American English, commas and periods always go INSIDE quotation marks. There. Are. No. Exceptions.
The woods are full of people who don’t know this rule.
1) The beans are cooked in cast-iron at high heat, “pan-charred”, according to the Lee brothers, which renders them crunchy, toasty, and a little smoky.
2) His dislikes include hangnails, the phrase “YOLO”, really large malls, and Billy Corgan. [Please, never use the word “hangnails” in professional content.]
3) Can you command a technical conversation with the C-Suite? If your answer was, “yes”, let’s talk! [There are several things wrong with this sentence in addition to the comma being outside the quotation marks: it’s C-suite, not C-Suite, and there shouldn’t be a comma after was.]
4) Juliann combines an open and welcoming personality, contagious sense of humor and astute head for business that has propelled her to be consistently approached as an expert in personal and business branding and being the “CEO of YOU”. [Here’s another good example of multiple punctuation mistakes in a single sentence, from the website of an “expert.”]
5) Survival. The following sections shall survive the expiration or termination of this Agreement: ‘Revenue Share and Payment’, ‘Proprietary Rights’, ‘Confidentiality’, ‘Effects of Termination/Expiration’, ‘Indemnification’, ‘Disclaimers; Limitation of Liability’, ‘Non-Solicitation’ and ‘General’.
This last sentence, with its heightened importance because of all the scary legalese, is especially bad. Not only should quotation marks follow the commas in all items in this list (and follow the period after “General”) but double quotes (“”) should have been used, not single quotes (‘’). If you use double quotes and have to use quotes inside the double quotes, then you use single quotes, but you don’t come right out of the gate with single quotes.
Please tune back in for more punctuation and grammar information. This is interesting stuff!

EditNATION.com Quiz #3 Questions and Answers!

Week #3 Sentences and Answers.
1) Online Shopping is one of the more popular industries now a day.
A couple of things are wrong with this sentence.
First, “Online Shopping” is not a proper noun, and so should read “Online shopping,” with a capital “O” only because “online” starts the sentence.
Second, “now a day” is misspelled: it should be “nowadays.”
Corrected, the sentence reads:
Online Shopping is one of the more popular industries nowadays.
2) To remove the underline from all links on your website, you can edit the default anchor style in your CSS stylesheet so that the ‘text-decoration’ property has a value of ‘none’.
Two things. First, in American English, always start with double quotation marks for quotes. Second, quotation marks—single or double—are always (always) placed outside (outside) commas and periods. There are no exceptions.
3) He enjoys spending time with his wife Lace, their teenage daughters Kaitlin & Amy and their 3 dogs Buster, Bellatrix and Tank. His interests include his 100 gallon saltwater reef tank, disc golf, camping, fishing and rooting for The Florida Gators & New York Giants!
This passage is a hot mess, so awful it’s difficult to know where to start.
First off, an ampersand (&) is inappropriate for anything other than a business name, i.e., Johnson & Johnson; do not use an ampersand in “regular” writing.
Okay. First sentence. The names of the wife and daughters are parenthetical, and so should be enclosed with commas. You should use a dash (—) to separate the dogs’ names, and let’s add a serial comma. Also, you can’t change pronouns (from his to their) in mid-stream; it’s got to be “his” daughters, unless it’s rewritten, which is what I’m going to do. So:
He enjoys spending time with his wife, Lace, and their teenage daughters, Kaitlin and Amy, and their three dogs—Buster, Bellatrix, and Tank.
Second sentence. Let’s see: 100-gallon needs a hyphen; “The” isn’t capitalized; take out the ampersand; add a serial comma; and I’d go with a period, not an exclamation point, to conclude. Like so:
His interests include his 100-gallon saltwater reef tank, disc golf, camping, fishing, and rooting for the Florida Gators and New York Giants.
4) Personalize based on where a visitor is in their buying process, so your loyal customers experience a different website than first-time visitors.
“A visitor” is singular, “their” is plural. You just can’t do this, folks.
5) First lets talk about the reputation of an email sender. The most basic form of reputation is called a “sender score”.
Two things: “let’s” needs an apostrophe, and the quotation mark needs to be outside the period.
6) Display content in the visitors native language
If your company and product is global, it’s important to consider your audience and buyers from other countries. For example, if you are located in the United States and your entire site is in English, but you have strong interest in your product from visitors in Germany, consider creative a native version of your homepage and landing pages.
Two things: “visitors” needs an apostrophe (I’d go with “visitor’s”—singular possessive—but would have said “visitors’”—plural possessive—if the sentence had read “your visitors’”), and then there’s that misspelled word. Do you see it? Hint: starts with a “c.”
7) For example, if your contact list includes visitors first names you could easily change the headline within your page to something like: “Great to see you at the event, Mark. We’re glad you could join us”.
Again, visitors needs an apostrophe (visitors’), and the period goes inside the quotation mark.
8) Begin by completing the items under “Your Inbound Marketing Foundation”.
Start by naming your campaign, e.g. “Lead Generation for Small Business Owners – Jan 14”.
Three things: Well, in my opinion, four. First and last, put the periods inside the quotation marks, not outside. Put a comma after “e.g.”—always. (Ditto “i.e.”) And, I don’t like spaces before and after dashes, but that is a style issue.
9) “Everybody — salespeople, marketers, customer and prospects — have been impressed with the our website because we’re using the company’s COS.”
Two huge mistakes. “Everybody” is singular, and so the sentence should read “has,” not “have.” The rule is that parenthetical information, whether between commas, parentheses, or dashes, does not affect the subject. The subject is “everybody,” and “everybody” is singular. And then there’s the other nasty mistake that no one spotted before putting it on the company’s homepage. Do you see it? It is critical that you take a moment and read over your content before posting it.
10) Aside from being great people, their team are some of the smartest inbound marketers I know and are always putting the customer’s needs first.
Another huge mistake. “Team” is a collective noun, and is singular. The sentence should read “their team is,” and since that’s awkward, I would have written “their team is composed of some of the….”

EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz #3

Let’s test your editing chops.

What’s wrong with these sentences?

1) Online Shopping is one of the more popular industries now a day.

2) To remove the underline from all links on your website, you can edit the default anchor style in your CSS stylesheet so that the ‘text-decoration’ property has a value of ‘none’.

3) He enjoys spending time with his wife Lace, their teenage daughters Kaitlin & Amy and their 3 dogs Buster, Bellatrix and Tank. His interests include his 100 gallon saltwater reef tank, disc golf, camping, fishing and rooting for The Florida Gators & New York Giants!

4) Personalize based on where a visitor is in their buying process, so your loyal customers experience a different website than first-time visitors.

5) First lets talk about the reputation of an email sender. The most basic form of reputation is called a “sender score”.

6) Display content in the visitors native language
If your company and product is global, it’s important to consider your audience and buyers from other countries. For example, if you are located in the United States and your entire site is in English, but you have strong interest in your product from visitors in Germany, consider creative a native version of your homepage and landing pages.

7) For example, if your contact list includes visitors first names you could easily change the headline within your page to something like: “Great to see you at the event, Mark. We’re glad you could join us”.

8) Begin by completing the items under “Your Inbound Marketing Foundation”.
Start by naming your campaign, e.g. “Lead Generation for Small Business Owners – Jan 14”.

9) “Everybody — salespeople, marketers, customer and prospects — have been impressed with the our website because we’re using the company’s COS.”

10) Aside from being great people, their team are some of the smartest inbound marketers I know and are always putting the customer’s needs first.