Wednesday Whoops! Oversized Outdoor Errors

Wednesday Whoops! is another new series that I’ll never run out of content for. Check out these gems from my local area.

Blog Trio Outdoor Signage.png

Here are my thoughts on this trio of Oversized Outdoor Errors:

  • I get it… Sometimes letters blow away or get jostled around on these large marquee signs. But wouldn’t you want to make sure they look their best; especially when you are trying to attract management personnel?
  • Perhaps those little plastic punctuation symbols are just crazy expensive, so companies don’t buy the necessary apostrophes or question marks.
  • And YES, I do feel rather SPECIAL when I receive flowers, but changing the way the word is spelled to indicate voice inflection is just odd to me! ūüėČ

Check out my Hold Your Horses post for tips on how to avoid making simple writing mistakes. And YES these tips still apply to huge outdoor advertisements; case in point above!

Contact DAJ Consulting today to schedule a thorough review of your external and internal documentation for process improvements, organization, and clarity.

 

 

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Grammar Showdown: Lose vs. Loose

Grammar ShowdownI decided to use the Grammar Showdown blog category to educate and inform instead of poking fun of popular grammar errors. Trust me, even skilled writers make honest mistakes. This first Grammar Showdown post will feature:

Lose vs. Loose

I admit it…this one drives me absolutely bonkers. Especially having spent time on various fitness, weight training, and nutrition pages;¬†these two unrelated terms are¬†accidentally interchanged all too often.

So let’s set the record straight and help you find a fun way or two to remember the right application of both lose and loose.

Lose:  This verb is used to indicate a loss or deprivation of some kind. Common examples include:

  • Nothing to lose
  • Lose body fat
  • Lose an hour during Daylight Savings Time

Loose:  This adjective is best used to reference an item that is not tightly fit or secured. Common examples include:

  • Loose pocket change
  • A loose tooth
  • Set an animal¬†loose

Here are a few easy ways to help you remember the difference between these two terms.

In this graphic, the gal¬†on the left doesn’t¬†have many more ‘o’s to lose, while the gal on the right can fit more than one ‘o’ in those loose pants.

Loose vs Lose

What about these two well known phrases?

Loose Lips                                      Hang Loose

I hope this first Grammar Showdown post¬†has been¬†informative. What sorts of words do you struggle to use correctly?¬†Comment below and perhaps¬†I’ll feature your feedback in my next Grammar Showdown.

Hold Your Horses

‘Hold Your Horses’ is a phrase commonly used¬†to tell¬†someone to slow down. According to Wikipedia, the phrase can be traced back to ancient Greece¬†& was¬†used to convey literally holding horses still due to noise or to slow them down when going too fast.

The work crew that completed this job off 71st and Binford Blvd in Indianapolis needed to hold their horses a bit before painting this notice.

mhp

It is common to miss errors, even simple ones like this one. Especially when working on the same content for hours, days, or even weeks; we go numb to mistakes right in front of us. Even as a technical writer, I miss mistakes too. True Story.


Here are some tricks I use to avoid common writing mistakes. 

Most importantly, remove yourself from distractions; phones & noisy office spaces included. Plan to review a single piece of work in one setting.

  • Read the material slowly and out loud. Read every word as written.
  • Print out the material for review. Slide a ruler or notecard along each sentence as you read the material.
  • Take a break! Leave your computer, even¬†for 5 minute. Stretch your legs, drink a glass of water, or take your lunch break. Clearing your head¬†with another activity brings a fresh perspective when you return.
  • Ask a friend or coworker to review your work. Not only will they provide valuable insight, they will most likely catch errors that have been staring you in the face for days. If you are too good to ask for feedback; there are bigger problems at hand than spelling & grammar.

DAJ Consulting can offer more than just a fresh pair of eyes to catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Analyzing your content from a business perspective and testing readability can greatly improve your customer service.

Contact me to discuss how DAJ Consulting can create new or update existing documentation for maximum impact.

Just Do It

I’ve worked as a technical writer for more than 17 years. How am I just now at the point where I am creating my own business and becoming my own boss?¬† It’s time to just do it.

Oddly enough, I am one of the few individuals actually working in my college field of study. I am truly passionate about the written word. I live and breathe by¬†my pen. I simply cannot turn off the part of my brain that immediately notices spelling errors, grammar goofs, and poorly written copy. It drives my husband bananas…

But did you know that I didn’t always want to be a writer?

My first ambition was to be a Veterinarian. And if that dream wasn’t¬†grand enough, I also wanted to¬†work¬†with¬†whales and dolphins as a Marine Biologist. Dream Big right?

I applied to and was accepted at Purdue University and the game plan was set. I was going to first become a Veterinarian taking care of adorable little pups named Snowball and devious kitties named Precious. Then I would move to California and go to school for Marine Biology. From there, I’d travel the world working with the Jacque Cousteau Society and also manage a small Vet Practice in Indianapolis.

However, once I learned¬†the perquisites for entering Purdue’s Vet School, I was a little overwhelmed. Volunteer hours at the Vet clinic left no time for a part time job; and what about time to study?¬†And oh wait…how had I not considered that I¬†couldn’t bear the thought¬†of seeing the¬†insides of little Snowball and Precious? I only wanted to play with¬†and love on them.

Plot Twist.

That¬†first¬†year at Purdue defined my path. To this day I’m still thankful for a very patient and helpful guidance counselor. It took just one English Lit. class and I was hooked on the English language. Every job I’ve held since¬†graduation has provided me the opportunity to hone my skills as a technical writer;¬†creating meaningful documentation to meet a variety of needs.

From pharmaceuticals to insurance, financial institutions to hydraulic cylinders, social media software to learning management systems; I have worked with a wide variety of companies. I love making words matter for businesses that want to change the world.

I¬†do have a dog, two in fact. But neither of them are named¬†Snowball.¬†And I’m seriously allergic to cats.