How quotes can make your written content crisper

Using direct quotes from relevant people can help boost the credibility factor of your articles and blog posts. But they are easy to get wrong. Here’s how to avoid that…

How quotes can make your written content crisper

Do you know how to use quotes that will enhance your blog posts and other content?

Proof-reading my son’s coursework for his Masters degree in marketing management recently, I suddenly had a thought about the principle of referencing in academic writing and how it can apply – in a far less turgid degree – to blogging and other content. [Read more…]

Dog lovers’ famous quotes

dogs,quotes,Suzan St Maur,,how to write better

My dear old Spaniel/Collie cross when she was nearly 16 and still fit as a fiddle

If you love dogs, you’ll love this small collection of famous quotes about them. It seems (hu)man’s best friend has captured the hearts of many well known people, and in the main for all the right reasons. Enjoy.

“If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise” —Unknown

“Some days you’re the dog; some days you’re the lamp post.” — Unknown

“Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot about puppies.” – Gene Hill [Read more…]

Wise words to make you smile

medium_207172256Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Give him religion and he’ll starve to death while praying for a fish.
~ Timothy Jones [Read more…]

Don’t use these quotes in your business writing…

Here are some golden oldie quotes that make you sorry these people were depriving some village of an idiot. If only celebs’ quotes were more intelligent nowadays….

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: “I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.”
–Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

Don't use these quotes in your business writing...

“That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it” — A congressional candidate in Texas.

“Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff”
— Mariah Carey

“Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”
— Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign.

“I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body.”
–Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

“Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.”
— Former Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC.

“We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees,”
— Jason Kidd upon his drafting to the Dallas Mavericks.

“That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it”
— A congressional candidate in Texas.

Check out more than 370 further hilarious jokes, articles and poems in our humour category, right here on HTWB

“Half this game is ninety percent mental.”
— Former Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark Danny

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
— Al Gore, Former US VP

“If you let that sort of thing go on, your bread and butter will be cut right out from under your feet,”
— Former British foreign minister, Ernest Bevin.

“We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?”
— Lee Iacocca

“The word “genius” isn’t applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”
— Joe Theisman, former NFL football quarterback & sports analyst

“We don’t necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people.”
— Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor.

“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”
— Bill Clinton, Former US President

“We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”
— Al Gore, Former US VP

“Traditionally, most of Australia’s imports come from overseas.”
Keppel Enderbery

“Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.”
— Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

“We apologize for the error in last week’s paper in which we stated that Mr. Arnold Dogbody was a defective in the police force. We meant, of course, that Mr. Dogbody is a detective in the police farce.”
— Correction notice in the Ely Standard, a British newspaper

“If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there’ll be a record.”
— Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

More laughs – and useful ones, too:

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours


photo credit: theSuperStar via photopin cc

When insults had class (and no 4-letter words)

Whatever happened to those good old days when some clever words could be shrivel someone’s ego in seconds without a single ****ing this or ****that … and without hoping they would scratch themselves to shreds with the fleas from a camel’s nether regions? Ah, we miss so much in our modern times… as my good friend Ellie reminded me when she shared these gems…

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”
“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

“He had delusions of adequacy.”
– Walter Kerr

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”
– Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”
-Clarence Darrow

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
– William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.”
– Moses Hadas

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
– Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..”
– Oscar Wilde

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…. if you have one.”
– George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second…. if there is one.”
–  Winston Churchill, in response.

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.”
– Stephen Bishop

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
– John Bright

“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”
– Irvin S. Cobb

“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.”
– Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.”
– Paul Keating

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.
– Charles, Count Talleyrand

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.”
– Forrest Tucker

“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?”
– Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
– Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go..”
– Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts.. . for support rather than illumination. ”
– Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”
– Billy Wilder

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”
– Groucho Marx

Clever chuckles – and useful help:

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours

Pinterest: boost your pinterpix with some great pinterwords

With all the fuss going on about the exponential growth of Pinterest and how to do everything with it short of performing micro-surgery or splitting the atom, I’ve been quietly observing and thinking about how to write for it. Yes, I know it’s visually based but words matter here as much as they do everywhere.

A picture is worth a thousand words – PLUS…

My take on creating really good Pins is to enhance your images with some great captions and hooks. With these you can add some extra spice and intrigue into your images and encourage readers to look into the stories further … especially useful if you’re using Pinterest with an eye on business.

Remember that you’re limited to a total of 500 characters. That’s somewhere around 80 – 90 words, but your Pinterest screen will cut you off when you go over the limit so you’ll know when to stop anyway.

Add your own hook to media headlines to flag up the main issue

My hooks are in capital letters. Media headlines are in italics.

BE WARNED: “Painful womb condition endometriosis linked to higher risk of ovarian cancer.”

SHEER INSPIRATION: “In diary extracts raw with emotion, Shane Spall reveals how her film star husband overcame ‘terminal’ cancer and is now fulfilling a vow he made to her on his deathbed”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WHALING? (THIS BREAKS MY HEART) “Japan has ended its whaling season with less than a third of its annual target, said the country’s Fisheries Agency.” The whaling ships headed home from the Antarctic Ocean this week with 266 minke whales and one fin whale, falling short of its quota of about 900. The agency blamed “sabotage” by anti-whaling activists for the shortfall.”

I OFTEN WONDERED WHY I FIND MYSELF HUMMING A SONG: “Earworms: Why songs get stuck in our heads”

Use an intriguing mini-headline and catchy and/or useful caption for your own Pins

HERE’S A BIG MAC FOR PEOPLE WITH A SWEET TOOTH … brilliant birthday cake by my clever cousin in Ottawa … especially love the fries with ketchup! She makes fab cakes and other desserts to order… (pic of one of my cousin’s amazing cakes…)

ONE OF MY TENANTS: Gypsy Vanner – Anglo Arabian cross (Mom’s in the background.) Now 6 months old and “practising how to be a stallion” … what a handsome little chap he was as a newborn, here! (pic of baby horse)

NO-NO: when grooming horses’ feet, stand to one side facing their rear end. If horsey, here, raises his/her right hind leg in a hurry that fetlock will go smack into the rider’s face. Ouch… (pic of someone grooming horse’s feet the wrong way)

EVER HEARD OF THE “CANADIAN HORSE?” This is “Charbon,” a stallion I met (but declined a ride on – was too chicken…) who typifies this vigorous breed. More than 100K of these horses were exported to the USA during its Civil War, and the breed is said to have influenced even the mighty US Morgan horse. Was threatened with extinction in the 20th century but now is flourishing again in Canada and beyond.

Use your own sense of humor to enhance already amusing images

WHAT NEXT – COSMETIC BOTOX FOR BEARS? “Brown bear exfoliates using rock as a tool”

YOU PUT BUBBLE BATH IN? I HATE BUBBLE BATH … grrrr  (pic of tiger underwater with bubbles, snarling ferociously)

IS THIS A MEXICAN HAIRLESS PUPPY WITH A BAD CASE OF MANGE? OH, SORRY … Chanel is making eyebrow art a thing… (pic of model with jewel-studded eyebrows)

JUST GO AWAY. I’VE GOT A HANGOVER. (pic of one of my dogs in my bed…)

WHY MY CONTAINER CORN WAS A BIT STUNTED LAST SUMMER (pic of one of my cats asleep in a plant pot)

Infographics: pictures or tortures?

Increasingly I’m seeing infographics on Pinterest and although they are an interesting phenomenon in themselves (I’ll be doing a post about how to write for those soon, so watch this space) I wonder just how many Pinterfolks click through to the final, final image to read all those lovely bits of tiny text spread around in a cute diagrammatic format.

Especially when there are clearer, more viewable images about other stuff on their Pinterest home pages which don’t require a powerful magnifying glass to view.

Much as I’m longing to spout an opinion on infographics here, I will zip my lip and shut up. For now.

Using images that may be subject to copyright restrictions

I know that this isn’t about writing but as everyone is chewing on this one right now, here is my take on it. I have asked many, many people – several of whom are experts in this or that – what the b*lls-out reality is here.

I have received widely varying responses but one comes through loud and clear – wait until a case is brought and a judge makes a ruling.

In the meantime, what do I do about an image I put up on Pinterest but didn’t photograph myself (where an attribution is possible?) I thank the copyright owner for the kind loan of the image and include a link to his/her/their website. Probably counts for diddly squat in a court of law but at least it’s honesty on my part and hopefully may enhance business traffic through to the copyright owners.

Some useful Pinterest resources

Here are some blog posts and other resources you may find helpful if you’re just starting out on Pinterest, and even if you’re an existing user these links might be handy for you too.

Pinterest? But what about my writing?

This may be of Pinterest to you

Pinterest: measuring your pinfluence

5 industries that should be on Pinterest right now

Sourcing great images for Pinterest

5 ways brands can use Pinterest to boost consumer engagement

Why I’m not putting all my eggs in the Pinterest basket just yet

Pinterest being taken over by marketers? Don’t make me laugh

Can Pinterest become a small business’s new best friend?

What is your experience of Pinterest so far? Would love to know and share your thoughts. (And if you want to follow me on Pinterest, click here. Especially if you enjoy a good chuckle…)

Now, let’s pin up your  writing!

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand