Airline pilots who hate the shutdown must be more direct

Continued">

The head of the Air Line Pilots Association sent a letter to President Trump warning of the government shutdown’s impact on safety. It’s sobering, especially when you strip out the passive, military-jargon-laden language and clarify what they’re really saying. The ALPA is a union that represents 61,000 pilots including those flying for Delta and American. … Continued

Antipodes Pride’s pusillanimous, passive, pointless police press release

Continued">

The Auckland, New Zealand police and Auckland Pride, an LGBTQ support organization, were unable to come to an agreement about police marching in the Pride parade. They did, however, produce one of the most oblique, passive, and ultimately pointless media releases ever posted. This is what happens when you’re not sure what to say, but … Continued

An editor’s notebook: Analyzing and untangling sentences

Continued">

One of the editor’s primary jobs is to make sentences say what they mean. When the prose gets in the way of the ideas, fix the prose. A focus on the subjects and verbs in sentences can help make prose clearer and reduce the cognitive load on the reader. These examples come from a book … Continued

Fixing the passive Presidential Alert

Continued">

Like several hundred million other Americans, I received a lump of passive voice in the form of a Presidential Alert yesterday. This was a huge time waster. So I fixed it. I was out at a farmers’ market when all of our phones and radios started hooting and whining. People got annoyed and kept shopping. … Continued

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the war against improper commas

Continued">

According to CNN, Mike Pompeo wants all State Department staff to stop using commas improperly. This obviously warrants all of our attention. The article, snarkily titled “Pompeo cracks down, on improper use, of commas at State Department,” reveals that Pompeo is an admirer of the Chicago Manual of Style and the Oxford Comma, also known … Continued

When to break my writing rules

Continued">

My most popular post ever included ten writing tips and the psychology behind them. On social media, I see people reading these tips with no context and objecting. “Passive voice is perfectly fine,” they say, or, “You wouldn’t get very far if you only used short sentences.” You want to break my rules? I’m here … Continued