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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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distract

Don’t distract with a misplaced capital

Do you find the use of capital letters bewildering or frustrating?

girl and megaphone distracting a boy trying to read

Distractions made it hard to read – and poor grammar can be a distraction

Some people struggle with the questions ‘does this word need a capital letter?’ and others use so many unnecessary capital letters that just frustrate readers – excess capital letters actually make text harder to read (and more time-consuming to write, too!)

Poor capitalisation distracts

Some competition terms I recently read confused me because of a poor capital letter use. By adding a capital letter mid-sentence, I thought it was missing a full stop and a new sentence had started  – but reading it as a new sentence didn’t make sense.

 Entry is open to all Client bookings made with…

What do you think – did the capital C for client distract you?

In my mind, if you have to reread a sentence to understand it, the writing has failed. Good writing is easy to read and lets the reader focus on the message, not the words. {Obviously it’s different if you reread it because you can’t understand a difficult concept!}

Presumably, lack of clarity in something like competition terms or a contract has potential legal implications.

 

 * Photo courtesy of 123RF

Keep ideas flowing

Have you ever read something and found a jump in ideas that distracts you?

I find it really annoying when the ideas don’t flow in a piece of writing – the change of topics or tense or perception may not seem major but if it makes me have to reread something to understand what happened, I tend to lose interest in the whole thing.

I came across the following example of this on a website where it is promoting cheap ‘reports’ to help small business people; the errors give me the impression of low quality pdfs rather than informative reports – what do you think from their description?

Too often I visit the site of a business mum to find there is only a contact form! The main reason I visit the site is to see where they are located as, where possible, I prefer supporting local business mums. There are a lot of different reasons for the lack of contact details.

This weeks *** report will look at five different contact methods you may want to put on you site as well as options for phone numbers, fax numbers, postal address and email address.

Buttons showing contact icons such as mail, email, mobile and twitter

A range of contact options are available

Yes, there are various reasons for not including contact details but how is that relevant when you are telling me how annoyed you were at not seeing any contact details! It also has no relevance to the next paragraph so makes the whole thing very disjointed.

I suspect they are attempting to not offend people without contact details rather than standing strong with their own argument. However, it has backfired with poor writing and an indication of weakness that detracts from their ‘expert’ stand in the report.

Here’s an alternative version that won’t offend, sound weak or be hard to read*:

Too often I visit the site of a business mum to find there is only a contact form! I understand they may have their own reason for not including contact details, but the main reason I visit the site is to see where they are located as, where possible, I prefer supporting local business mums.

This weeks *** report will look at five different contact methods you may want to put on your site, as well as some low-risk options for showing phone numbers, fax numbers, postal address and email address.

Having said poor flow of ideas is distracting, my next blog post will include some tips on how to maintain the flow…

*My changes are in blue to improve the flow plus some necessary improvements to the second paragraph so it makes sense. I didn’t totally rewrite it as I would for myself or a client!