Our blog explores all aspects of writing and proofreading, and passes along effective business writing tips. Do you have questions or concerns about workplace writing? Then join our discussion!
Mordant means showing a sharp or critical quality, biting.
For example, “Keith refused to work with the intern because he did not like the intern’s mordant sense of humor.”
Verbose means wordy, using more words than necessary.
For example, “Keith’s response to a company inquiry of his excessive spending at a tradeshow was verbose, confusing, and misleading.”
Codify means to arrange laws or rules into a systematic code.
For example, “The CEO asked Keith to codify the many different HR policies that their company implemented over the past 10 years.”
Camaraderie means a spirit of friendly good-fellowship.
For example, “Keith felt his team’s camaraderie gave them a leg up against the competition.”
Cloister means to cut off or seclude from the world.
For example, “While Keith was protective of the two new interns from his alma mater, he did not want to cloister them either.”
Nocuous means harmful.
For example, “Unlike several of his colleagues, Keith felt the tweet about the company’s recent drop in the DOW was nocuous and replied with a scathing tweet of his own.”
Plain writing (aka, plain language and plain English) is simply another term for clear and concise writing, something writing instructors have been trying to instill in their students for literally centuries. Plain Writing has a number of definitions. One good one is: “A communication is in plain writing if its wording, structure, and design are so clear that the intended readers can readily find what they need, understand it, and use it.” But Albert Einstein—a plain writing master long before the term was coined—made a keen observation that applies to writing and just about every other human endeavor: “Any fool can make things bigger and more complex, but it takes a touch of genius to go in the other direction.”
Enigmatic means mysterious; relating to or resembling an enigma.
For example, “When asked about his role in the practical joke played on the HR manager, Keith simply gave an enigmatic smile and left the room.”
Put one space after each sentence when using proportionally-spaced fonts, which means just about every font found on a computer including the one on this webpage (notice that an i takes up less than half the character-space width of an m). Put two spaces after sentences when using mono-spaced fonts, such as Courier New and those found on a typewriter. With mono-spaced fonts, an i takes up the exact same character-space width as an m. Reading documents written with mono-spaced fonts becomes, well, monotonous, so someone long ago decided to put two spaces at the end of each sentence to make it more readable and to act as an “eye rest.” It’s hard for some people to make this change because they’ve been putting two spaces at the end of a sentence forever. But if you need final proof of this rule, open any book, newspaper or magazine: you’ll find only one space at the end of each sentence.
Luddite means someone opposed to change, especially technological change.
For example, “Keith mockingly referred to the new hire, who wrote his memos with a pen, refusing to type on a keyboard, as a Luddite.”