Business jargon bits – do you know what these “A” words mean?

Ever wonder why we talk about “a month of Sundays?” Or “at the drop of a hat?” Here’s a selection of English jargon beginning with “A” that you’ll often see in business writing or hear in meetings, talks and presentations.

HTWB jargon 01

Let’s start at the beginning…

101: a special number used to show that whatever it’s linked to is introductory – like, for an example an introductory course or lesson in something. There are various versions of the number’s origins, but according to Daniel Engber, columnist on, “in the late 1920s. The Oxford English Dictionary finds the first use of “101” as an introductory course number in a 1929 University of Buffalo course catalog. Colleges and universities began to switch to a three-digit course-numbering system around this time.” As with so many such examples, after a while the term filtered through into general slang and business jargon and is now used commonly to describe the basic, introductory elements of almost anything from sports to cooking. [Read more…]

Hope you’re having a happy day, USA

A short poem to commemorate Independence Day in the USA, in this, probably the most tumultuous year the US has experienced in political terms, for some time.

Poem about Independence ~Day 2017

Thank you, USA, our friend … Please guard your freedom preciously

Happy Day, USA

July the fourth comes once a year
You celebrate your freedom won
Your rise to power with no fear
Your mightiness to kingdom come.

A nation in its greatness now
The power there, to rule the world [Read more…]

Why you need to think first and write later – especially for business

“If you don’t know what you think, you can’t write it down,” said my longtime colleague and book co-author John Butman some years ago.

Yet how many of us take on a business writing exercise – email, blog post, even web page – without thoroughly thinking through the key issues needed to make that piece of writing work properly … before we write anything down?

Most of us fall victim to it. Even I do, and I’ve been a professional business writer since Madison Avenue was a dirt track with an Algonquian name.

Think before you write, especially for business

Think before you write. And think about the right things, so you write what works for your business.

It’s all part of our tendency not to engage brain before putting fingers into gear. Here is one classic symptom, with a suggestion on how to treat it… [Read more…]

Canada Day 2017: why I’m a bad Canadian, in (funny) verse

A very happy Canada Day to all of you who would appreciate it! Here is my confession to being a lousy Canadian … well most of the time, anyway…

Canadian flag(But have a great day anyway, eh?)


I’m a Canuck born and bred
From Kingston in Ontario
Torn from there by parents, led
to England’s supposed glorio.

Yes, the lure of fish and chips
Has made me think I’m British
(But since then the best fish nips
I’ve eaten were Quebecish!**) [Read more…]

How not to spam bloggers, by I. M. A. Spammerdick

If you have a blog, or a website with a blog, you may well get approached by kind souls offering to do anything from enhancing your content to transforming your life if only you include their totally unsuitable material within your blog content.

how not to spam a blogger

Do you ever stop to read the spam you receive? It certainly can open your eyes…

I have to admit it, though. I read a lot of my spam.

Why such a saddo? It’s because even though it’s spam I can learn from it. (And get some laughs from it.) Here are some of the more outrageous examples… [Read more…]

The latest Daily Fail whoopsies: your SundaySmile

Another bumper crop of how the UK’s Daily Fail caption writers thumb their noses at syntax and logic – enjoy.

Funny caption mistakes from the Daily Fail

“Sitting atop of a stallion, the Little Mix star posed up a storm as her beau snapped away on her camera.” (Trust me, no stallion would put up with that bullsh*t.)

Some recent pearls of p*ss-poor writing…

[Read more…]