20 phrases writers will never utter

From a cavalier attitude about the serial comma to embracing jargon and annual reports, you won’t catch these phrases coming from wordsmiths’ mouths.

Whether it’s because we write for a living or because we write in a corporate environment, corporate communicators have idiosyncrasies.

We balance arbitrary demands of clients and executives with necessity to craft clear and concise messages.

We argue that lazy corporate verbs such should be banned from our company publications, and correct grammar in the books that we read out loud to our kids.

We also catch typos everywhere—even when we’re not looking for them.

In deference to every eccentric writer out there, here are 20 phrases no writer would ever say:

1. “The hyphen is my favorite punctuation mark.”

2. “Using ‘utilize’ instead of ‘use’ does make you sound smarter.”

3. ” ‘Let’s Learn Medicare!’ is a great title for your presentation.”

4. “You’ve convinced me: ‘PowerPoint’ is a verb.”

5. “Your opening paragraph should be 14 sentences.”

6. “Capitalizing your job title can make you seem more important.”

7. “No one really uses style guides any more.”

8. ” ‘Moist’ is one of my favorite words.”

9. “I don’t have an opinion about the serial comma.”

10. “You’re right; there aren’t any clear rules for capitalization.”

11. “The annual report is my favorite project.”

12. “We don’t need to define acronyms we include in our stories. Our readers know what we mean.”

13. “I asked the IT department to increase the size of my email inbox, and they said yes.”

14. “Make sure you mention that our new product is ‘state of the art’ in the press release.”

15. ” ‘Irregardless?’ Sure, that’s a word.”

16. “It’s two spaces after a period, not one.”

17. “It doesn’t matter if you use ‘shut down’ or ‘shutdown.’ It means the same thing.”

18. “I use ‘impact’ as a verb all the time.”

19. “I really don’t need to buy any more books.”

20. “I think I’ll skip happy hour this week.”

How many of these apply to you, PR Daily readers? What would add to the list?

Laura Hale Brockway is a regular contributor to PR Daily . Read more of her posts on writing, editing and corporate life at impertinentremarks.com.

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