Over the past year, we’ve been running a series called 60-second fix in our monthly e-bulletin. Now it’s time to find out whether you’ve been paying attention. Challenge your colleagues to a quick round …
How did you get on? Full marks, we hope! Feel free to show off in the comments field below. Also, let us know if you have a quandary you’d like us to do a 60-second fix for in future.
And if you got any wrong and want to revisit the articles, here’s a handy index:
How much attention do you pay to trademarks? Mistakenly use one to refer to a generic product, and you can land yourself with a letter from the company concerned’s trademark lawyers, and the need to write embarrassing apologies, writes Cathy Relf.
While it’s OK to tweak trademarks slightly to bring them into line with standard English (for example More Than, rather than MORE TH>N), it’s not OK to use a trademarked name to describe a product not made by that company.
In some cases, the horse has already bolted â€“ ‘Hoover’ is now almost synonymous with ‘vacuum cleaner’, for example, regardless of the brand. But use ‘Thermos’ to describe a vacuum flask not made by Thermos and you’re on dodgy ground.
Take our quiz to see how trademark-aware you are. For each item, decide whether it’s a current trademark, a lapsed trademark or a red herring. To make it more difficult, we’ve written them all with an initial capital.
After you submit your answers, you’ll get an explanation of each one.
As a new year begins, you canâ€™t help but look back on the one just passed: its gains and losses, its highs and lows, the memorable moments and those best forgotten.
So why not do the same for the words and terms that entered our lives â€“ or at least the dictionaries â€“ in 2011?* You can make your own mind up about which of those categories these words fall into, but â€“ more to the point â€“ can you pick the correct definition for each from the choices below?
Let us know how you got on. Have you used any of the terms? (We’ve already heard from a keen cricketer about an alternative meaning for one of them.) If not, will you be adding any of them to your vocabulary? And which ones (if any) are you hoping to forget long before the year is out?
* Words taken from 2011 entries in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Concise Oxford English Dictionary and Collins English Dictionary
And if that’s put you in a quizzing mood, why not pit yourself against our fiendish spelling test?
Once you have your score, why not leave us a message in the comments section below to let us know how you got on? And if you have any spelling tips you’d like to share, such as mnemonics, we’d love to hear them.
Join over 13,000 subscribers and get business-writing news and tips straight to your inbox. Fill in your email address below and we'll send you our 60-page book The Write Stuff â€“ six steps to written excellence too.
Emphasis is the UK's leading business-writing training company, offering specialist business-writing training and consultancy services to private and public sector organisations all over the world.
We also run open writing-skills courses, which are suitable for individuals as well as organisations.