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The Copy Corner: Is a person a who or a that?

This grammar “rule” has a lot of people on the fence. Some people think you should always use who when referring to a person, while others believe using that is just fine. The “rule” is that you use that to refer to an inanimate object, while you use who to refer to a person. I try to use who whenever possible, but sometimes that sounds better, although it is often simply your preference. Consider the following: My brother met the woman that he is going to marry. My brother met the woman whom he is going to marry. In this situation, I think that looks and sounds better, but if you’d rather use who or whom, go for it. Does it matter? It does matter if your field requires you to use a certain form. For example, the American Psychological Association requires the use of who for people (both proper nouns and common nouns) and the use of that for objects and “nonhuman animals.” The doctor who prescribed the medication was liable for malpractice. The rats that ran through the maze received cheese. You can choose whether to use who or that with common nouns, but in almost every case, Read more…

The Copy Corner: How do I know when to use which or that?

Let’s get into some true grammar nerd stuff this week: which vs. that. This can be tricky at first, but it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it. But first, let’s go over restrictive vs. nonrestrictive clauses. You’ll see why a little later. A nonrestrictive clause is a part of the sentence that you can get rid of because it’s not integral to its meaning, whereas you have to keep a restrictive clause because it is integral to the meaning. Restrictive Clause: I lost the ring that my husband gave me. Nonrestrictive Clause: My ring, which my husband gave me, fell off when I went on the roller coaster. The restrictive clause gives you information that you need to make sense of the sentence. Without the restrictive clause, you’d simply be saying, “I lost the ring,” which would make most people wonder, “What ring?” So in this case “that my husband gave me,” provides a key detail. The nonrestrictive clause gives you information that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence, which is why it is separated with commas. Even though the clause “which my husband gave me” adds information, it isn’t essential. The essential Read more…

The Copy Corner: How Many Exclamation Points is Too Many?

We’ve all been there — sitting in front of our computers typing out an email to a boss or professor wondering, “Did I use too many exclamation points? Should I even use an exclamation point here?” A lot comes down to stylistic preference, but I like to ask these questions when deciding whether I should use an exclamation point: What is the context? Is it good news? Am I trying to convey excitement or outrage? Is it necessary to convey the right emotion or tone? Will it be distracting? Punctuation serves an important role in communication, so consider your message and whether it’s worth using an exclamation point. Let’s look at a couple examples using two iconic television characters: Elaine Benes from Seinfeld and Dwight Schrute from The Office. Elaine & Dwight Misuse Exclamation Points In the season 5 episode of Seinfeld, “The Sniffing Accountant,” Elaine is bothered by her boyfriend’s failure to use an exclamation point in a note he jotted down about her friend having a baby. Elaine: Well, I mean if one of your close friends had a baby and I left you a message about it, I would use an exclamation point. Jake: Well, maybe I Read more…

The Copy Corner: What is a Dangling Modifier?

Chances are you’ve heard of a dangling or misplaced modifier, likely during high school English class. But if you’re like a lot of people, you’ve completely forgotten about them. And that’s okay. Here’s a brief overview: Essentially, a dangling modifier is a modifier that has an unclear or missing subject. And a misplaced modifier is one whose subject is unclear because of where the modifier is placed in relation to its intended subject. Now let’s get into the details… What is a modifier? A modifier simply gives the reader more information about its subject. Without a care in the world, John walked down the street. “Without a care in the world,” is describing John’s state of mind. Susan ate a plate of hot spaghetti. “Hot” is describing the temperature of the spaghetti. Problems arise when it is unclear what subject a modifier is modifying. Dangling Modifiers A dangling modifier has no apparent subject to modify. For example: Incorrect: Upon waking at 7 a.m., my head began to hurt. This example can be confusing because it sounds as if my head woke at 7 a.m. You can correct it by changing the sentence to read: Correct: My head began hurting when Read more…

What is The Difference Between Web Development and SEO?

It’s important to recognize the difference between hiring a web developer or designer and hiring an SEO for help with your website. In the video below we discuss and review the differences between web development and an SEO. I was compelled to write and video this post because of the questions and issues some of our prospects and clients were having when they came to us for a technical audit.  We realized the technical SEO issues their website was having after getting a new website design and web development project. It’s important to understand that SEO and Web Development are two different skill sets and at best scenario they should be going hand in hand just like content goes with SEO. A few tips when redesigning your website: Run your website through a technical SEO analysis Optimize images for search (this helps with site speed) Optimize for mobile Look for duplicate content Look for bad links Make sure name, address, phone are correct on all pages Do you need help with an SEO audit or content strategy? Contact us here for help.        

Eight Easy Peasy Blogging Strategies

Eight easy to start blogging strategies Blogging is still essential to SEO and you should be blogging as often as you can. However, blogging requires a plan of attack. Below are eight reasons why you should be blogging followed by eight easy peasy blogging strategies. 1.use the news You should sign up for local news alerts and then cite and give your opinion on a news piece that would interest your readers. Make sure you are using a credible news source and link back to the original article. This is a great strategy as it keeps your clients up-to-date and shows that you are too. You might not be able to get a post up that day, but do it as quickly as possible and make sure you explain how it might affect your readers. Benefits Good for SEO Linking to reputable source Affordable and quick 2. Curate your content Find the most popular content (blog, article, image, infographic, etc.) in your niche using a REDDIT or BuzzSumo and aggregate it together to create a new piece of content. Introduce your topic and use each article as a subheadline. Make sure you use an image for each and always give credit to the original article. Read more…

The Copy Corner: Grammar Controversies Recap

Every day, I come across grammar rules that draw a line in the sand between grammar traditionalists and modern grammarians. Today, we’ll review the usual suspects. When do you use an apostrophe? I won’t spend too much time on the basics, but I feel it’s important to provide a simple definition of an apostrophe. Apostrophes are used to indicate a common noun’s plural possession. The rule of thumb is, if the common noun doesn’t end in the letter –s, it’s singular and therefore, you would add an apostrophe after the word and before the letter –s to make it a possessive plural. If the common noun ends in the letter –s, then, you would add an apostrophe after the –s. Here’s what I mean… The truck’s tires The girls’ dresses If the noun is already plural, such as “girls,” just add an apostrophe; an ­–s is not needed. However, if it is a proper noun ending in –s, add another –s after the apostrophe. Jess’s hair looks great. Do not add an –s after the apostrophe if the next word begins with the letter –s. Jess’ skin looks great. The most common misuse I see is the greengrocer’s apostrophe, which Read more…

Stop! Don’t Create Another Blog Post

Don’t Start Another Blog Post Until You Read this. Just stop! If you are creating content only because someone told you to blog and post something on your website, then stop! Content should have a purpose and should have the same accountability as your intake department, your receptionist, or your website. You wouldn’t just slap a web page together and call it your own, would you? If you would, then stop reading. This post isn’t for you. This post is for the law firm or business that is passionate about their digital marketing strategy, or the law firm or business that is about to start a digital marketing strategy and doesn’t know where, how, or why to begin. You may be confused or overwhelmed with SEO, content, social media, inbound marketing, and more.   I want to help you get started. I want to give you the confidence and knowledge it takes to develop a strategy with basic SEO techniques, that will get you results. Yes, content alone can work for your legal website of you are free of technical SEO issues. However, you have to understand that anything organic takes time; it takes commitment just like any diet or Read more…

Thanks to Media Shower for Our Recent Feature!

I would like to thank Media Shower for inviting me to be a guest on their outstanding web content marketing blog. Check out my article on the benefits of ghostwriters, and let me know if you have any questions about our ghostwriting and content marketing services.

The Copy Corner: Guide to Using Punctuation

One thing I’ve noticed quite often is that there is quite a bit of confusion about when and how to use certain types of punctuation. The following clears up how and when to use commas, periods, semicolons, and colons, along with a few others. Commas To figure out if you need to use a comma, period, or semicolon, first consider the purpose of the punctuation. For example: When I drove to the store yesterday_ my car broke down. The purpose of the punctuation in this sentence is to link the first part of the sentence (dependent clause) with the second part (independent clause), so you would use a comma. When I drove to the store yesterday, my car broke down. You can’t use a period or semicolon because, “When I drove to the store yesterday,” is not a complete thought. Periods You use a period to finish a thought. For example: I drove to the store yesterday_ My car broke down_ You would use a period after both sentences because they are two distinct thoughts. I drove to the store yesterday. My car broke down. Semicolons You can also use a semicolon in the example above because the expressed are Read more…