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Why you should write with Pooh Bear on your shoulder

A colleague passed me the link to this short but sweet reminder of why we need to avoid jargon in our writing.

Why every editorial team needs Winnie the Pooh

I love this:

All organisations need wise Owls who understand the customary procedures, protocols and practice of their business. But they also need tenacious little bears who are not afraid to ask searching questions.

I’ll have to remember that.

TOOLS: TERMIUM Plus® is now free

TERMIUM Plus®, one of the largest terminology and linguistic data banks in the world, is now available free on the web! Everyone can now consult the Translation Bureau’s flagship product free of charge.

Why is this a good thing?

The data bank has almost four million terms in English, French and Spanish. Users can find translations for general and technical words and expressions in practically all fields of human endeavour: administration, informatics, environment, medicine, agriculture, industry, sports and the arts. TERMIUM Plus® records are created by language professionals who keep a close eye on trends in language: that makes it a reliable and useful tool for everyone.

But that isn’t all! The Writing Tools included in TERMIUM Plus® are available for free, public consultation. Among them, you will find Writing Tips, The Canadian Style and Word Tailoring. Each tool focuses on an aspect of English grammar, usage, punctuation, translation, and so much more.

Click here to check out TERMIUM Plus®!

My favorite part is access to The Canadian Style in a searchable format! (And yes, I am aware how incredibly geeky it is that I am excited about this.)

The Canadian Style gives concise answers to questions concerning written English in the Canadian context. It covers such topics as the decimal point, abbreviations, capital letters, punctuation marks, hyphenation, spelling, frequently misused or confused words and Canadian geographical names. It also includes useful advice for drafting letters, memos, reports, indexes and bibliographies.

In addition, The Canadian Style includes techniques for writing clearly and concisely, editing documents, and avoiding stereotyping in communications.
Note: The Canadian Style is available in English only.

Cliché fun

Wired.com recently posted a list of the top 5 annoying clichés overused in science writing. These gems appear in all kinds of science writing, including business plans. The comments section is particularly funny as readers weigh in with their predictions of other offending clichés.

I’m on the fence regarding the use of clichés in business plans. They easily convey the market paradigm shift that a silver bullet product delivers. This is especially pertinent when concisely shedding light on key concepts. By using all of the Rosetta stones available, potential partners and financiers will be engaged in a perfect storm that will advance the business case to the next level and allow the company to deliver their holy grail to market in 5 to 10 years.

Clichés add little concrete value and take up valuable space in a manuscript. However, sparing use of clichés can be useful in select circumstances. Author awareness of any predilection for certain turns of phrase helps ensure rational use in writing.

Want to see more clichés: http://www.westegg.com/cliche/

2009 Discovery stats posted

NSERC posted an analysis of the 2009 Discovery grant competition (including comparisons to the 2008 competition) on their Program News page.

This is the most detailed analysis I have ever seen from NSERC. The change in grant level scatter plots are particularly fascinating.

FYI – I had a bit of trouble getting the file because the release links directly to the pdf. Here is the URL directly to the pdf.

My reference bookshelf

Dictionaries
Canadian Oxford Dictionary 2nd Edition
Dorland’s Pocket Medical Dictionary 20th Edition

Style Guides
Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition
Editing Canadian English 2nd Edition
Scientific Style and Format 7th Edition

Other
Mosby’s Nursing Drug Reference 1995
A mishmash of miscellaneous writing guides
Assorted biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, microbiology, marketing, human behaviour, management and economics textbooks
Access to other web-based reference materials