Author: piers

Imagine you're round at someone's house. They look up at the corner of the room and announce: 'We provide a range of teas, including ordinary black tea, green tea and peppermint tea. Anyone who would like a cup of tea should let me know.' Were they...

'Avoid "be" verbs' is one of those pieces of copywriting advice that's impossible to follow (this sentence failed to). It's a bit like 'avoid passives'. In the passage in his essay 'Politics and the English Language' where George Orwell instructs writers to avoid passives, he employs several...

A leading international corporation knows it will face increasing competition in future. It wants to find ways to make its workforce more loyal, and begins work on an internal initiative which offers a series of promises to its team. Here's how the initiative is explained...

This seems so basic it's not worth doing. But it really is worth doing. So you've finished writing something, you've tweaked and polished it, you believe it's ready to go out into the world on its own. Now stop. Take a moment to read it aloud....

Let's look at a real worked example of editing and cutting back a piece of corporate hot air. This is exactly the kind of work I'm often asked to do – taking some writing that's been written internally and reworking it into something that communicates...

This is President Trump's official inauguration portrait, on sale at the United States Library of Congress. Isn't it magnificent? And it has a beautiful little typo in it – particularly beautiful because it's surrounded by high flown, grandiose language. In its own subversive little way, this typo is...

Here's a quote about the power of language to end the year on. You and I belong to a species with a remarkable ability: we can shape events in each other’s brains with exquisite precision.   It's by Steven Pinker, linguist, cognitive scientist, and marvellously clear communicator of the...

Remember Smile, the online bank? If you're of a certain age you probably will. At one time they were pioneers. But Smile went quiet maybe 10 years ago, apparently dying of neglect. Now a new Smile website has just launched. I'm proud to have been involved...