How good's your grammar? PDF Print E-mail

Think you know the English language inside out? Try my fun grammar quiz to find out if you're a grammatical genius or a linguistic loser.

Click here for the answers - no cheating now! And if you disagree with any of them, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I'm always up for a tussle on my specialist subject!

1. The apostrophe – spot the errors.

a)    Barrys going to the Drayton’s for lunch.
b)    The clown went to six childrens’ parties.
c)    “Its intolerable!” shouted Bryan.
d)    The dog raised its paw and woofed.

2. Why would some people disapprove of the below language?

a)    To boldly go
b)    It started badly. But it was all right in the end.
c)    He bought lettuces, leeks, potatoes, and cauliflower.
d)    Johnsons are a big dry cleaning company

3. Which word in red is the correct one to use (in the UK)?

a)    I do 10 hours of piano practice / practise every day.
b)    “You’re / Your kidding!” she shouted.
c)    The man came to read the gas metre / meter.
d)    The medicine had a strong effect / affect.

4. Spot where the capital letter is used incorrectly.

a)    I wrote to the Bank Manager about it.
b)    “I am the Health & Safety Manager,” he said.
c)    It was a harsh Winter.
d)    Mr Jones was Very Cross indeed.

5. Which word sounds right, but looks wrong?

a)    The girl had a fear of speaking allowed.
b)    The team took off there smelly socks.
c)    He gave his ascent readily.
d)    George talked about Debussy in his French aural test.

6. Choose the correct spelling.

a)    Accomodation / acommodation / accommodation
b)    Achieve / acheive
c)    Necessary / necesary / necsesary
d)    Liason / liaison 

Added: May 2012 by Faye Stenson
How not to write a CV PDF Print E-mail

One of my favourite copywriting jobs is drafting or editing CVs and personal profiles. It's always a pleasure to use my writing skills to showcase other people's experiences and abilities. And it's even better when my clients come back to me with the good news that they've secured their dream job or a valuable tender for their business.

But CV-writing can be a tricky business. The examples below show just how wrong it can go when over-eager jobseekers are left to their own devices.

When CV-writing goes wrong (researched online)

•    Please explain any breaks in your employment career: 15 minute coffee break while working at a home improvement store.
•    It's best for employers that I not work with people.
•    Here are my qualifications for you to overlook.
•    If this resume doesn't blow your hat off, then please return it in the enclosed envelope.
•    My fortune cookie said, "Your next interview will result in a job." And I like your company in particular.
•    Reason for leaving last job: The owner gave new meaning to the word paranoia. I prefer to elaborate privately.
•    Previous experience: Self-employed - a fiasco.
•    I am a rabid typist.
•    Excellent memory; strong math aptitude; excellent memory; effective management skills; and very good at math.
•    Personal Goal: To hand-build a classic cottage from the ground up using my father-in-law.
•    Personal achievements: Successfully played "Chop Sticks" on a toy piano with my big toes.

Don't look a prat on your CV

Ask me to write it for you. The same goes for your personal or business profile. These documents are important and they need to be clear, well-written and completely unambiguous in meaning. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you'd like to discuss further, or ask to see my CV-writing portfolio.

Added: May 2012 by Faye Stenson


Amusing newspaper headlines...or are they? PDF Print E-mail

Whilst researching my 60 seconds pitch for a networking event a couple of years ago, I came across these excellent examples of 'How not to write a newspaper headline'. They're classic examples of how your readers could receive a completely different message from the one you intended to give, if you don't pay attention to what you're writing.

Best newspaper headlines of 1998

1.    Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
2.    Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
3.    Something Went Wrong in Jet crash, Experts Say
4.    Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
5.    Drunks Get Nine Months in Violin Case
6.    Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
7.    Clinton Wins Budget; More Lies Ahead
8.    Miners Refuse to Work After Death
9.    Stolen Painting Found By Tree
10.    If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
11.    Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
12.    Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Space
13.    Typhoon Rips through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
14.    Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

You have been warned...!

OK, so these examples are no more than amusing newspaper headlines, destined to be wrapped round the next day's fish and chips. But making a similar mistake in a brochure, leaflet or newsletter that you've spent a fortune having printed isn't quite so funny. From making you and your business look silly to offending your audience, these are errors that could cost you dear.

So stay safe. Hire a professional copywriter to draft or edit your company's key communications. Contact me today for a quote.

Added: May 2012 by Faye Stenson

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