Communicating the message
- Who, why,when, where and how
- Communication and Churches
- Copy-editing and line-editing
- Language references
Who, why, when, where and how
Effective communication takes into account who the intended recipients are, why the communication is relevant to them, when, where, and how they are expected, or should be able, to access it.
Communications and Churches
CPO provide print and design services for UK churches. The toolkit has links and resources to help churches to improve their communications. The toolkit and its associated blog support four church communication Reach Out print booklets by Laura Treneer, Innovation Director for CPO.
- Church from the inside: welcome, news-sheets, magazines and stories, BRF, 2017
- Church from the outside: displays, noticeboards, invitations and PR, BRF, 2017
- Church online: social media, BRF, 2017
- Church online: websites, BRF, 2017
- Using Social Media for Evangelism
Ben Elliott, Head of Innovation at CPO, has published a video about church communications design.
Nicola David, Publicity and the Local Church
Published by Grove Books in 2007 and available as a PDF or in print.
This is a separate area but bear in mind …
- Colour has a psychological effect as well as aesthetic appeal. See the brief but interesting article The Importance of Colour in Marketing on the instantprint website.
- Design should reflect each of who, why, when, where and how.
Language level is key in all communications. The EU has defined the Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages [Wikipedia article] and recommends government communications should use level B1. This is a useful aim for otherbodies and for SEO (search engine optimisation), discussed in this textmetrics blog article.
- CoSchedule's headline analyser.
- Copywriting for Designers, tips from the experts for designers to become better copywriters, by Jess Eddy on Medium.
- Copywriting suggestions from Kopywriting Kourse Lite
- Don't Hit PUblish is one of the tools from Growth Tools. It aims to assess the effectiveness of email or blog marketing or list-generation material before publication.
- Neville Medhora’s marketing swipe file.
- Sincerely yours: Eight tips for writing like you mean it from Intercom. No silver bullets but useful reminders of good practice.
- Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary.
- The wonderful world of words video series from the BBC.
Copy-editing and line-editing
- Cliché Finder
- Grammarly online grammar-checking service. A limited service is provided for registered users; a paid premium plan extends this.
- Hemingway App evaluates prose for sentence length, use of passive voice, use of adverbs, and hard sentences. Useful for line-editing. Allows real-time editing of the text. No charge for online use. Also available, for a fee, as a desktop program for Windows and MAC PCs.
- readable.io readability services [referral link] with a variety of measures of the readability of a website page or a document. There are limited free services and paid services giving access to additional services and allowing greater volumes.
- Typely.com offers a free online proofreading tool. Useful for line-editing.
- Elevate App on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store is a chargeable subscription after a 14-day trial. It offers tests and training on writing, reading, speaking, listening and arithmetic skills that test both speed and accuracy.
- Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders gives an opportunity to develop an eye for on-screen differences between scanned images and text created by OCR.
- PDF stamps can be used to add BSI proof-correction marks (BS 5261C:2005) to PDF documents.
- Louise Harnby has symbols available in several colours that are added individually as custom stamps.
- Faircopy provides a small program that adds a set of symbols.
- Publishing Training Centre (PTC) provides classroom and distance learning on topics related to the UK publishing industry. Online training was delivered at www.ptclearning.org.uk but is now on the main PTC site.
- Society for Editors and Proofreaders is a professional organisation based in the UK for proofreaders, proof-editors and copy-editors: people who strive to make text accurate. In addition to other services it provides training courses, delivered in classes and by distance learning. Online training is delivered at www.sfeptraining.org.uk.
These references are from my own experience as a native English speaker. I use books in print, or as an e-book (e.g. Amazon Kindle), or online from a website, or as an Android App. The availability options I give for the books below are ones I use, have used, or am aware of. They may be available in other formats that would be better for you.
- Dictionary. A reliable dictionary is indispensable. The usual recommendation for British English
- Shorter Oxford English Dictionary available in print or as an Android app.
- Collins English Dictionary in print or as an e-book, Android app, or at Collins’s website.
- Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
- The Chambers’ Dictionary is the ultimate word game dictionary for British English. Available in print or as an Android app.
- Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage is available in print or as part of an Oxford Dictionaries Premium Subscription [on this page].
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary has US English spelling and usage. Available in print or as an Android app. On the internet, an abbreviated Merriam-Webster is available at no cost; the full dictionary, including the Collegiate some other features, is published as the Unabridged Merriam-Webster by subscription..
- Desk reference. First, the essential:
- New Oxford Dictionary for Writers & Editors (NODWE}, available in print or as part of an Oxford Dictionaries Premium Subscription [link to elsewhere on this page]. I use both.
- The Associated Press Style Guide, uses American English but I use it to check the correct title for US corporations and organisations, e.g. Apple Inc.: the alternative is to check at the organisation’s website. Available in print or by website subscription or on Amazon Kindle, including on Kindle Unlimited.
- Butcher’s Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers by Judith Butcher, published by Cambridge University Press is useful, possibly essential, but expensive. Available in print or as a DRM-encumbered e-book either direct from the publisher or as an ebook on Amazon Kindle. I use the latter and a print copy.
- Fowler’s Modern English Usage, available in print. The latest edition is by Jeremy Butterfield, published in 2015. The pocket, or concise, edition of 2016 is available as part of an Oxford Dictionaries Premium Subscription [on this page] or on Amazon Kindle.
- New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide, available in print or on Amazon Kindle. Also available as part of an Oxford Dictionaries Premium Subscription [link to elsewhere on this page]. I use all three.
- New Oxford Spelling Dictionary
- Penguin Guide to Punctuation, R L Trask, published 1997.
- Punctuation by R L Trask, hosted at Sussex University.
- These are often available as part of a word-processing program; as an app, e.g. Android apps are available for Chambers’s Thesaurus, Collins’s Thesaurus and the Oxford Concise Thesaurus; or online, e.g. at Collins’s website or as part of an Oxford Dictionaries Premium Subscription [on this page].
- An Introduction to English Grammar, by Gerald Nelson and Sidney Greenbaum, fourth edition 2015. Useful for the independent learner as it is supported by a website that provides additional exercises and examples together with answers to the many exercises in the book.
- Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips articles and podcasts add to the books and audiobooks.
- Internet Grammar of English, iGE, from UCL is also available as an Android app.
- OWL: the Purdue Online Writing Lab provides resources to support many types of writing, including use of APA, MLA and Chicago styles.
- Oxford A–Z of Grammar and Punctuation by John Seely, revised second edition 2013. There is an Android app available but the version I have uses the 2004 edition, according to its credits.
- Rediscover Grammar by David Crystal, 2004, is valuable for its pragmatic and semantic approach.
- We need the singular ‘they’ – and it won’t seem wrong for long by Stephanie Golden, published on Aeon in February 2018, gives an overview. The article references the Guidelines for Equal Treatment of the Sexes in McGraw-Hill Book Company Publications from 1974.
- Reading level calculators by Dave Child on readable.io.
- The five lost letters of the English language. An article by Dave Child on readable.io explaining how thorn, wynn, eth, ash and ethel influence current English spelling and usage.
- Specialist resources
- Avoiding sexism. There are two somewhat dated reference books that have material of some value still. The more comprehensive American, The Nonsexist Word Finder: A dictionary of gender-free usage by Rosalie Maggio, published in 1988. Appendix A is particularly useful with discussions of,for example, avoiding the generic use of his and man. More recent, and published in the UK is The A–Z on Non-sexist Language by Margaret Doyle, published in 1995.
Dictionaries Premium Subscription can give access to a wide range of dictionaries and language references
via a web browser. An annual personal subscription is available but many people will have access to all or a
subset of the books through a library service. For example, my local authority library card gives me free
access to dictionary, synonym and grammar sections and also to
- New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide.
- Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage, US based.
- New Oxford Dictionary for Writers & Editors, an alphabetical list of words that often need to be checked for spelling, capitalisation, hyphenation or punctuation. It includes English words, foreign words, proper names. abbreviations, cultural terms, proper names and proprietary names. Based on the Oxford English Corpus. Produced as a small-format hardback handbook.
- Pocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage.
- Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Subscription. Again, I have free online access to the OED using my local authority library card.
- Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries Subscription. This has options for a number of resources. Of these, I subscribe to Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. The online service includes topic diagnostic tests at three levels.
- Oxford Reference Subscription.
Many people will have access to this through Athena or other library service. In September 2017, my local
authority library card gives me free access to 226 books including
- Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE). In September 2017 the online version was 2015, the print version 2010,
- Oxford Dictionary of Quotations,
Linux software tools
In addition to the usual dictionaries, spell checkers, and tools that are part of programs such as word processors:
- Artha is a free collaborative thesaurus. Artha will list alternative meanings of a word and, for each meaning, appropriate synonyms and antonyms. It recognises some jargon, and can indicate related words, parts of speech and homonyms.
- diction is a command line grammar checker that highlights, and can give suggestions about, words or phrases that are frequently misused or overused.
- UK Independent Press Standards Organisation Editorss’ Code of Practice only applies to newspapers that are members of the Regulatory Funding Company but is a useful starting point for any publisher.