Stephen Wilbers

Columnist | Effective Writing
Stephen Wilbers teaches seminars in effective business writing. His column appears online every other Monday.

Recent content from Stephen Wilbers

The active voice is usually, but not always, the better choice

Which is better: the active voice or the passive voice?Compare “I let go of the Cessna’s strut and prayed my...

Updated: November 17, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: Lessons learned from writing 900 columns on effective writing

With this, my 900th column, I can’t help asking myself why I’ve stayed with it this long. If you’ve been...

Updated: November 03, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: Avoid overly formal language to make yourself approachable

“As per your request, attached please find …”If you asked me to identify the most clichéd sentence in on-the-job writing,...

Updated: October 20, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: When writing to a hostile reader, take an indirect approach

Before you touch that keyboard, ask yourself whether your reader is sympathetic or hostile to your message. And then apply...

Updated: October 06, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: Five somewhat easy ways to improve your vocabulary

Sometimes you can’t think of the word you need to express yourself precisely, as when you say, “His explanation is...

Updated: September 22, 2013, - 01:15 PM

Wilbers: Adapt level of formality to your reader, subject, occasion

How good are you at adapting your level of formality to your reader, subject, and occasion? For practice, divide the...

Updated: September 08, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: Here's how to help the next generation write as well as we do

I’m worried about my granddaughter. She’s 6 months old and hasn’t spoken, read or written her first word yet. I’m...

Updated: August 25, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: There's two things to watch for in writing: Subjects and verbs

If you want to avoid undermining your credibility, there’s two things to watch for in your writing: subjects and verbs.What...

Updated: August 11, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: One misunderstood word reveals the power of language

“I saw a Latino woman with a black man at the Y today,” I said to my wife, “and I...

Updated: July 28, 2013, - 02:02 PM

Wilbers: Unstack your noun stacks to animate your writing

I was enjoying a caffe latte at Turtle Bread Company in south Minneapolis when I heard a familiar voice.“Hi, Doc,”...

Updated: July 14, 2013, - 02:00 PM

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