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France bans the word ‘hashtag’

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Sacré bleu! France has added hashtag to its list of banned English words, writes Cathy Relf. The Académie française, the state body appointed to protect the French language, has announced that the English word is to be eschewed in favour of the French mot-dièse. Mot-dièse has attracted some criticism, partly because it can’t actually be […]

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OK, ok, okay. How do you write OK?

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This morning, we received the following question from Tim, one of our e-bulletin readers: ‘Is it okay to write “OK” as “ok”? Or should the abbreviated form always be in upper case?’ Little did he know the amount of discussion his question would generate in the office, writes Cathy Relf. The simple answer to Tim’s […]

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60-second fix: stationary and stationery

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If you already know the difference between stationery and stationary, you’ll probably have felt the urge to indulge yourself in the kind of graffiti pictured, writes Cathy Relf. (No? Just me?) If you don’t already know the difference, it’s this: stationery refers to writing materials, while stationary means ‘not moving’. The most frequent mistake people […]

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Four tips for effective tweeting

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If you were nervous about using Twitter in a professional capacity already, the past month’s headlines about 10,000 tweeters having potentially libelled Conservative peer Lord McAlpine probably won’t have helped your confidence. But tweeting doesn’t have to be the minefield it’s often presented as. Just remember to treat it with the same respect that you […]

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How to proofread a document

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Proofreading isn’t easy. You’re constantly fighting with your eyes and brain, both of which want to tell you that everything on the page is just fine. But to proofread well, you need to repress the urge to skip, skim and hope for the best; it’s time to knuckle down and process every word, writes Cathy […]

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How to graduate to business

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You’ve spent the past three or four years writing essays and reports, and now you’re in your first professional job and ready to start writing for business. But does your degree have you covered? Well, yes and no, writes Cathy Relf. The good news is that because you’ve developed good analytical and organisational skills, you’ll […]

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