Stephen Wilbers

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

Recent content from Stephen Wilbers

Wilbers: You can't use the active voice until you get to the transitive

The last time I gave a presentation, we had so much fun discussing the active voice that no one wanted...

Updated: December 15, 2013, - 02:00 PM

Wilbers: Follow eight rules for numbers for consistency and precision

“There are three rules for writing a novel,” W. Somerset Maugham once wrote. “Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.”If I...

Updated: December 01, 2013, - 02:00 PM

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

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