Category Writing

Delay ≠ délai; délai ≠ delay

In keeping with a promise I made to share some common Gallicisms with you, here’s one I constantly see in French copy and English translations: délai = delay, and vice-versa. As I was consulting my Facebook news feed this morning, I read the following French message in form of a camera shot (underlining is mine): « Madame, […]

Impact

Like my Twitter colleague André Racicot, I thought it would be a great idea to comment on French words often used incorrectly or Gallicisms that constantly ooze into English texts. Today, I’d like to talk to you about a word that rubs my French-speaking colleagues the wrong way: impact. Below is a text excerpt written by […]

Editors, anyone?

The following excerpts read: « … à des milieux de travail différents, à des besoins différents, à des clientèles différentes… » « Je désire remercier X… pour son invitation à participer à ce projet… qui nous a permis de vivre une expérience… Nous exprimons une vive reconnaissance à X qui nous a permis de vous offrir cette […]

Media: Singular or Plural?

Within the space of a week, Peter Mansbridge, anchor of CBC’s The National, and co-anchor Wendy Mesley have accompanied media with singular verbs when presenting a panel or an upcoming story in future broadcasts. Last night was no exception. In preparation for a discussion about the way in which the media are covering the ongoing […]

“Do not put statements in the negative form.”

This was one of many writing techniques rules I learned a few years ago. Why should writers avoid putting statements in the negative form? According to KwizNet’s website,[1] putting statements in the affirmative form “tells or asks about what is.”[2] It is important to tell readers what they want or need to know, not what […]

Non-Restrictive and Restrictive Sentences

Of all punctuation marks in the English language (and all languages, for that matter), the comma is by far the most difficult to master—it’s also at the core of much debate. For instance, must we place a comma before the final and or or in a series of three items or more? Debates surrounding the serial or Oxford […]

Overused Words & Conciseness

During the summer, I have had several opportunities to read publications on a variety of topics: film archives, shyness, music—the list goes on. I also listened to several breaking news headlines on television. As I was reading and listening, I couldn’t help but ask myself why authors and spokespeople loved long-winded, overused words and structures […]