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Words in Motion 
Writing in service to your voice

October 2009
Watch out for bland language

There are certain kinds of phrasing and word choice, especially in official statements, that can soak the life out of your writing. They tend to crop up in written statements, especially press releases, about staff.

First, here are some bland, multi-syllabic, and over-used words:
outstanding, invaluable, unfailing, dedication, incomparable, fortunate, leadership, expertise.

And here is some phrasing made bland by just those tired old words:
We are fortunate to have Susanna's fiscal expertise at this challenging time. We value her incomparable dedication to the needs of our clients.

In contrast, here's a heartfelt statement from an executive director:
We have the greatest staff an organization could ever wish to have. I have been at the hospital for almost 15 years and believe that this is the best group of caregivers that we've yet assembled.

I love this statement. It appeals with its loyalty and admiration. The tired old words and phrases are nowhere in sight--adjectives like greatest and best, and verbs like wish and believe, are short on syllables and long on simplicity.

So, watch out for the bland language, and look for ways to express the honest feeling which, after all, should be just beneath the surface.

jane signature
 From the fountain pen

Welcome back from summer! (I do realize that summer ended last fountain penmonth--but in September we sent our first-born off to college for the first time--not an insignificant project, as many of you will know.)

You may have launched your own new projects this fall, perhaps one or two that have been in planning for a while. If, on the other hand, you are in the midst of planning, you may want to request one or two free articles about business and communications planning at my website.

Like any well-designed fountain pen, WordDrive's job is to help you get your thoughts flowing and your words on paper (or screen).

Best wishes for the season--see you in November.
photo Jane Sherwin
In This Issue
Watch out for bland language
From the fountain pen
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