This edition of The Friday Five - Business Writing Headlines presents:
- The World's Most Expensive Typos
- The "R" Word: Really, Really Overused
- Jerry Seinfeld Riffs that "Really" is Really, Really OK
- Apple Shows Us How Not to Write an Apology
- "Boom" is New "It Word." What Does it Mean?
A New York City Department of Education bookkeeping error resulted in double spending in the city’s transportation fund. This misspelling turned out to be a word that contained an extra letter and was not readable by the accounting software in use. It was revealed by City Comptroller William Thompson during an audit in June, that this mistake resulted in $2.8 million being spent in what was only supposed to be $1.4 million earmarked for transportation. The city had to make up the difference.
Business Writing Style
2. The "R" Word: Really, Really Overused (NY Times)
Big business, too, has been infested. The pilot of Showtime’s “House of Lies” last winter wasn’t four minutes old when Don Cheadle’s character, a high-priced consultant, spat a “Really?” at his father after Dad had criticized his child-rearing skills.
The military too. Last week’s premiere of ABC’s “Last Resort” had barely begun before a high-ranking officer threw a “Really?” at two subordinates who were goofing around. No wonder the whole submarine is now in the middle of a nuclear crisis.
And, yes, the plague has reached the highest levels of government. In the season finale of the HBO comedy “Veep” in June, what did Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Selina, the vice president of the United States, say to a staff member who had prematurely sent out a news release about his own promotion? “Really?” John C. Calhoun and who knows how many other oratorically inclined former vice presidents turned over in their graves.
3. Jerry Seinfeld Riffs that "Really" is Really, Really OK (NY Times)
Your Critic’s Notebook column about the overuse of the term “Really?” was so deeply vacuous that I couldn’t help but feel that you have stepped into my area of expertise.
Really, Neil? Really? You’re upset about too many people saying, “Really?”? I mean, really.
4. Apple Shows Us How Not to Write an Apology (Good Copy Bad Copy)
Today we have an example of how not to write an apology – from a company whose advertising and marketing writing is usually great.
I’ll concede that, being the world’s largest company (by market capitalization), Apple clearly feels secure enough to actually make an apology. Many other companies, one senses, still believe apologizing is a demonstration of weakness. Still, this mealy mouthed not-quite mea culpa falls short of Apple’s usual writing standards.
I found this comment particularly insightful, and funny:
That Apple apology is the corporate equivalent of: “I’m the smartest, funniest, hottest person you know. By the way, I’m sorry I cheated on you.”
Should you ever have to write an apology, this article will provide better apology models.
5. "Boom" is New "It Word." What Does it Mean? (InternetSlang)
Boom means, "Great, amazing."
It's already overused. I recommend you don't join the bandwagon bantering this term everywhere now.
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