Never use an exclamation point! (And other rhetorical no-nos)

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If you want to sound like an immature, unprofessional idiot, fill your prose with exclamation points, emojis, superlatives, adverbs, and profanity. Today I’ll explain why people use these rhetorical techniques and how they undermine your meaning. There are no absolute rules about business writing. You are welcome to use any of the elements I describe here. … Continued

Venerable Tribune Publishing, now “tronc,” spews techno-drivel

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Yesterday, Tribune Publishing, purveyor of news since 1847, changed its name to “tronc” (short for “Tribune Online Content.”) It’s now a “content curation and monetization company” — a company that makes money from content, what we used to call a media company. Today, I deconstruct the rest of its attempt to use techno-drivel to misdirect our attention from its … Continued

How to fight vacuous superlatives (ask Dr. Wobs)

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In today’s “Ask Dr. Wobs” question, I address what’s wrong with meaningless-but-true superlatives and how to talk people out of them. Dear Dr. Wobs: My boss wants to promote in a news release that one of our products is the fastest-growing product in its category in our industry. I really think it’s empty corporate speak … Continued