Tag: Editing

Every couple of weeks Facebook gets hijacked by a semi-convincing scam.

Today, it’s a particularly enticing one. “Qantas Airline” is offering– well, it’s hard to be sure.

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Depending on how you interpret the vague text, it might be a free first-class flight aboard the flying kangaroo, or perhaps a year’s worth of free first-class flights.

As this popped up in my Facebook feed today, fuelled by the ‘shares’ of friends understandably enticed by a seemingly good prospect, some common warning signs pointed to a scam.

Here are the giveaways:

  • The name of the poster. “Qantas Airline” rings alarm bells.  “Qantas Airlines” would be more convincing, but still suspicious. A quick search reveals the airline goes by the simplified “Qantas” moniker on Facebook, just as many corporate accounts do. For example, the bank prefers “ANZ Australia” rather than the long-winded: “Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited”.
  •  Liberal use of exclamation marks. These are rarely used (or required) in professional communications. As author F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” Such a hefty scattering is a good indication of amateurs at work.
  • Unnecessary capitalisation of letters. There’s no reason for “million”, “share” and “free” to use capital letters. This is generally the easiest way to identify a scam. Corporates generally run their marketing content past a subeditor to ensure it’s mistake-free before it’s sent out for public consumption.
  • Misplaced apostrophes in “step’s”, “winner’s” and “inbox’d”. Missing hyphens and accidental double-spacing in the post also smack of shoddiness.
  • The low-res image of a ticket accompanying the post was clearly not taken by a professional.
  • “Winners will be inboxed.” If Qantas really did run such a huge promotion, the airline would want to squeeze every possible drop of promotions out of it. A simple inbox message to announce the winner? Highly unlikely.

There you have it. A few easy ways to identify if you’re being taken for a ride.

Thoughts/sledges welcome below.

I came across this gem on social media today. The mystery editor missed a few mistakes (bedroom is one word, built-in needs to be hyphenated, for example) but their efforts have drawn attention to the declining standard of advertising signage around Melbourne.

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Here’s a more minor, but increasingly common one: unnecessary use of capital letters.

This example’s courtesy of ANZ (coincidentally, one of my clients). There’s no need for ‘bank’ to be capitalised in this instance (or many others, unless it refers to the name of a company).


Then there’s my local fish and chip shop, which boasts about its owners being from long line of “fisherman”. Not just written in chalk on a sandwich board, mind you. The typo is emblazoned on numerous beautifully-designed, glass-framed advertising signs displayed at the shop, and throughout a nearby shopping centre.

These are minor issues – but they’re also simple to fix. The best communications stand out for the message they convey, rather than the way they’re written.

NEVER underestimate the importance of a single letter. In this case, an ‘s’.

A 124-year-old family business went kaput within two months because of a typo on a government register. Really, you can’t make up this stuff.

Welsh engineers Taylor & Sons, which was established in 1875, got a shock in February 2009 when Companies House, the UK government’s registrar of companies, recorded the company as having gone bust.

It hadn’t. Read more.

You’ve got a great new campaign. Looks super professional too — except for that typo.

There are three of these signs within 50 metres of my house, and seeing them drives me crazy. We’ve been to Hunky Dory five or six times and the food is always fantastic — except when they get the order wrong, which has happened three times.

Lack of attention to detail all round, perhaps.




This article first appeared at prdaily.com. It is excellent and I heartily endorse it.

By Shanna Mallon

As Mark Twain famously wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” His point? Strong writing is lean writing.

When you want to make your writing more powerful, cut out words you don’t need—such as the 10 included in this post:

1. Just: The word “just” is a filler word that weakens your writing. Removing it rarely affects meaning, but rather, the deletion tightens a sentence.

2. Really: Using the word “really” is an example of writing the way you talk. It’s a verbal emphasis that doesn’t translate perfectly into text. In conversation, people use the word frequently, but in written content it’s unnecessary. Think about the difference between saying a rock is “hard” and “really hard,” for example. What does the word add? Better to cut it out to make your message stronger.

3. Very: Everything that applies to “really” applies to “very.” It’s a weak word. Cut it.

4. Perhaps/maybe: Do you want your audience to think you’re uncertain about what you’re saying? When you use words like “maybe” and “perhaps,” uncertainty is exactly what you’re communicating.

5. Quite: When someone uses “quite,” he or she either means “a bit” or “completely” or “almost.” Sometimes the word adds meaning; sometimes it’s fluff. Learn to tell the difference—but, when in doubt, cut it out.

6. Amazing: The meaning of “amazing” is causing great wonder or surprise—but some writers use the word so often that the meaning gets lost. How can something be amazing if everything is? Ditch this diluted word.

7. Literally: When something is true in a literal sense, you don’t have to add the word “literally.” The only reason it makes sense to use the word is when it clarifies meaning (i.e., to explain you aren’t joking when it seems you are).

8. Stuff: Unless you are aiming at informality, don’t use the word “stuff.” It’s casual, it’s generic, and it usually stands in for something better.

9. Things: Writers use the word “things” to avoid using a clearer, more specific word that would communicate more meaning. Be specific. Don’t tell us about the “10 things,” tell us about the “10 books” or “10 strategies.” Specificity makes for better writing.

10. Got: Think of all the ways we use the vague word “got” in conversation: “I’ve got to go,” “I got a ball,” or “I got up this morning.” Though it’s fine for conversation, in writing, “got” misses valuable opportunities. Rather than writing a lazy word, look for clearer, more descriptive language: “I promised I’d leave by 9,” “I picked up a ball,” or “I woke up today,” for example.

Whether you’ve been writing for a few days or for many years, you’ll benefit from evaluating the words you use. Cut the filler to make your writing stronger.

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, headquartered in Chicago providing specialised SEO, web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter.

By Alexandra Samuel

Content marketing is getting a lot of attention as companies strive to capture customer attention in an era in which TV ads get skipped, direct mail goes unopened, and even online ads get blocked.

But creating the kind of excellent original content that attracts, engages and retains an audience requires a mix of competencies that go well beyond what you find on a typical marketing team.

At the top of that list of missing competencies is professional editing, as Alexandra Samuel explains at Harvard Business Review’s blog network.

What type of editing do I need?

Proofreading: A final check for typos and small errors.

Copyediting / substantive editing: A detailed look at every aspect of the text. From spelling and grammar to overall consistency and logic, with rewriting, where necessary.

It’s a subeditor’s job to identify and correct:

  • Typos and spelling mistakes
  • Incorrect punctuation
  • Problems with sentence and paragraph structure
  • Issues with clarity, logic or flow
  • Inconsistences with tenses, names and general statements
  • Use of jargon
  • Repetition and redundancies

What I can do for you:

Business editing

  • Annual reports
  • Business cases
  • Website text
  • Press releases
  • Proposals / pitches
  • Newsletters / email campaigns
  • Speeches
  • Legal documents
  • Technical documents

Academic editing

  • Theses
  • Research papers
  • Assignments

General editing

  • Resumes
  • Job application letters
  • Foreign-language (ESL) documents


  • I can prepare detailed background notes for projects of every size.

Article paraphrasing/condensing

  • Need to turn a 20,000-word report into a shorter summary? I can isolate and condense the key points to make it easier to digest.

Contact Jaclyn

Need my help on a project? Call me on 0438 921 019, or drop me a line below.


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