The premise of Background Briefing: Fibre to the premises is unlikely

I enjoyed the Background Briefing report this morning on the history and status of the NBN (ABC Radio National) But, no matter how many times I shouted at the radio, the presenter and his various interviewees (including people in senior positions at NBN Co) continued to discuss issues around connecting fibre/copper to the 'premise' So, at the risk of being irritating with my repetition, here's the relevant definition: Premise: a previous statement from which another is inferred; an...

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Finding the right training venue: Flexibility is the key

I spend a lot of my time working in training and function venues Over the years, I’ve developed an extensive list of my likes and dislikes For me, flexibility is the key priority I like to be able to set up the room in a way that suits my needs Sometimes, I like to change the room as the day progresses My venue-preference list looks something like this: Rectangular table that can be arranged in either a U-shape or in groups (rectangular tables are better than round troubles when...

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Simplifying ASKO’s complex instructions

This week I've had the great joy of learning to use new kitchen appliances (I’ve waited a long time for this new kitchen) Mixed with the pleasure of having appliances that are new and clean comes the challenge of re-learning things that are almost automatic I've spent a week referring to manuals as I try to understand the simplest things At the moment, I can't imagine that I'll ever remember how to set the timer or choose the right cooking program Instruction manuals have a bad reputation:...

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Sentences need to make internal sense

Writing sentences that make internal sense - with content that connects across a sentence's various parts - is an easily missed editing task Here's a sentence written by my son's school this week:'If successful in the preliminary round, the state final will be held at Griffith University on Saturday 14 November'The problem in this sentence relates to content agreement: it's about two different things And while I understand what the author means, I have to work to get there What they've...

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Is PR really dead?

I’ve recently been reading a book called ‘Trust me, PR is dead’ by Robert Phillips, which I bought on the basis of its title at the Hay Festival earlier this year (and if you think that perhaps I included that phrase simply to gloat about being at Hay, you’d be right) Phillips is a former CEO of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) division of Edelman, one of the world’s largest PR agencies He ‘saw the light’, realised that PR was dying, resigned from Edelman, and...

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Short messages for fast times

I’ve recently finished Roy Peter Clark’s book ‘How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times’ It’s full of practical advice on ways to write compelling messages with few words Clark provides tools and practical exercises to help writers develop their short writing skills He encourages us to examine how successful short writing works, name and practise its strategies, then adapt the strategies for our own purpose and voice I appreciated the way that Clark recognises the history of...

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‘ise’ or ‘ice’? The difficulties of spelling ‘practice’

Many Australians struggle to spell 'practice' and 'practise', and often just guess and hope for the best  ('licence' and 'license' fall into the same category)Being told that 'practice' is a noun while 'practise' is a verb isn't very helpful, as many Australians don't have a working understanding of nouns and verbs Our confusion is compounded by the American spelling and our increasing exposure to US-produced publications Historically, school wasn't much help (my school...

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Pesky danglers: Multiple meanings

I've got a thing for sentence danglers They're good for a little laugh and help to keep me focused on the multiple meanings that can lurk within sentencesHere's one I found today, of the pronoun variety, thanks to TransLink:I'm pleased that, if I register my 'go card', my card's balance will be safe - even if that balance is lost or stolen But why would my balance be stolen, and not the cardYes, I know that they're referring to my 'go card' being lost or stolen, and I know that most...

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The premise behind my business premises

Here's a word problem that I'm suddenly noticing a lot: 'premise' being used instead of 'premises' as in 'everything handmade on premise' in the example belowThe usual pattern of English would suggest that 'premises' (as in place of business) is plural, and its singular should be 'premise' But that's not the caseMy trusty Oxford Dictionary makes it clear'Premises'  is a house or building, together with its land and outbuildings, occupied by a business or considered in an official context...

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