Crisp Writing for a Competitive Advantage
Author, Grammar Expert, Writing Coach, and Social Media Smoothie Ellen Jovin Succumbs to an Interview with Tom Hagy
When and where: January 17, 2023 at 8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT on Zoom, register here!
As serious information professionals, regardless of our industry or role, we all write. Whether a business proposal, a blog post, or a marketing campaign, the words you let loose on the world say as much about you as your business attire, hairstyle, or choice of pet.
While you do not have to become a full-on grammar geek, word nerd, nitpicker of the nitty-gritty, or an overly zealous fussbudget, I submit that anyone’s prose would benefit from a routine oil-change. Ask yourself, who was president when you toiled under the watchful eye of a stern editor?
Ellen Jovin has traveled almost 30,000 miles answering grammar questions at her pop-up grammar advice stand, the “Grammar Table,” but all you have to do is sit and listen as Ellen delivers an entertaining selection of grammar, punctuation, and usage insights, valuable for professional writers or professionals who write.
When it comes to the rules there are many molehills people will die on. I will ask Ellen about the ever-controversial Oxford comma, appositive commas, the continuing tension between “which” and “that,” uses of the semicolon, the well-known case of “who” vs. “whom,” dangling participles, sentence complexity, and jargon.
Why does it all matter? Incorrect usage can muddy your message, unsparkle your sales copy, confuse customers and make you – and, by association, your company – look hackish and dim.
Relevant to all of us, I will ask Ellen about her tremendous success in leveraging social media (it’s how I came to know her) and how she quite literally turned customer insights into a valuable and lasting product: her new book titled, Rebel with a Clause: Tales and Tips from a Roving Grammarian. Rebel is 50% grammar guide, 45% travel log, 30% comforting, and 75% entertaining. (Maybe I need a math book.)
Best-selling authors have described Rebel as “a fresh and democratic take on language by a gifted teacher,” “an opportunity for reflection on clarity, style, and consistency,” “enlightening,” and “good fun.”
Rebel is one of several books Ellen has written about grammar and writing. What are her qualifications, you ask? Ellen holds a B.A. in German from Harvard College and an M.A. in comparative literature from UCLA. She and her husband, Brandt, run Syntaxis, a company that trains business professionals through workshops and individual sessions “to speak and write with authenticity, clarity, and strength.” Ellen has studied 25 languages — for fun.
Listen, laugh, and learn. Ellen and I welcome your participation. Send an email with your grammar stories and/or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tackle all we can. And by “we” I mean “her.”
We hope to see you on January 17!