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Best Practice

Choose your words carefully (it's not what you think)

New words are being created all the time, either through the invention of new items/products, advances in technology, industry terminology, an abbreviation of an existing word, or someone's desire use a noun as a verb (etc.), or blend two words together to make a third (sniveling rivalry or guesstimate, for example) to make a sentence more colorful. Dictionary publishers are adding these words as quickly as they can, but many times they are not referenceable for spelling and usage guidelines. So make your best guess.

Sometimes they are referenceable, but you have a choice. Take the word sync or synch – an abbreviated form of synchronize. Both are widely used. Both are in the dictionary. But one is preferred: in most dictionaries, "sync" is listed as the first spelling and "synch" as a variation – so "sync" is the one to use. Select words in your presentations carefully. Words that begin as a type of slang (as did "sync") often wind up as a legitimate word that has a proper usage and spelling. Make sure you check them out so you don't splash them across your slide(s) incorrectly in front of the millions of people in our audience.

The same with bending a word or phrase from one part of speech to another: before you make up a word, gauge the "blue chipiness" of doing so. If the term adds to your meaning and creates a vivid mental image, go for it. If it makes the sentence seem contrived, draws attention away from the point of the message, or creates a questionable tone, forget it. By the way, don't use "blue chipiness."