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: Pay uncommon care to the use of the humble comma

I realize it might not seem fair for a columnist appearing in the Star Tribune to pick on the Wall Street Journal, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Updated: July 22, 2012, - 06:50 PM

Wilbers: Expressions with double meanings might offend

For the benefit of people working in English as a second language, I asked you for examples of English phrases that might take on unintended, inappropriate or even offensive meanings if slightly altered or used out of context, and you really came through for me.

Updated: July 08, 2012, - 06:56 PM

Closings convey relationship and level of formality

Wei Li writes: "There's a question confuses me for quite a long time. When I write to my group people, by the end of the letter, I need to close the letter by regards, best regards, kind regards, warm regards, best wishes, your sincere ,your truely. I'll appreciated if you can tell me the differences between all these phases."

Updated: June 24, 2012, - 02:30 PM

Cellphone tower will scar BWCA

Phone tower ruling undermines and undervalues true wilderness experience.

Updated: June 19, 2012, - 08:21 PM

Wilbers: From history came a capital idea for the use of uppercase

Sometime around 780 Charlemagne was having lunch with his buddy Alcuin. Also known as Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus, Alcuin was a poet, monk and scholar whom Charlemagne had invited to serve in his court so that they could toss out the old (the classical civilization of the Greeks and Romans) and bring in the new (a medieval European civilization).

Updated: June 10, 2012, - 07:46 PM

Wilbers: On misplaced modifiers and that other kind of expletives

Clive writes: "I just received a local e-mail newsletter regarding a recent tragic yacht race accident. Thank goodness they finally found the captain's body, but now I'm a bit worried about the poor fishermen."

Updated: May 27, 2012, - 07:18 PM

Wilbers: If editing only on screen, you're missing the big picture

Dear editors: My apologies for submitting this column late. I know you prefer to receive my column a week earlier than I'm sending this one. Please forgive my delay. I've been frantically busy -- editing.

Updated: May 13, 2012, - 07:13 PM

Trip to China clarifies the value of mastering a language

On my flight home from China, I was reading a series of articles about energy in the inflight magazine Wings of China when I came across this sentence:

Updated: April 27, 2012, - 12:20 PM

Wilbers: Eloquence trumps banality in careful word selection

We're known by our words. We stand by them, or we hide behind them. We choose them carefully, or we spit them out as if they have no more value than the plastic bags that litter our landscape.

Updated: April 15, 2012, - 11:15 PM

For the right stuff, don't write to impress; write to connect

Kelsey writes, "I'm a high school senior who has a history of struggling with writing, devoting hours upon hours to the shortest of pieces. ... As my school's valedictorian, I have the honor and burden of delivering a speech at graduation.

Updated: April 01, 2012, - 05:39 PM

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