Q: What would you say are the most overused words from the past year? I nominate “pivot.”

Yes, the word “pivot” – a word that was previously only used in osteopathic and Jazz dance applications – has been tossed around quite brutally, particularly on cable news channels. The Ninja agrees that as an indication of a swift, smooth, and (ideally) imperceptible change in narrative, it is woefully inadequate.

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Perhaps your high school English teacher told you about style guides, but maybe you didn’t even come across them until college when your English Composition instructor informed you, “You must use MLA style or fail this course.”

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I used to think I was a great writer.

Of course, that was back in eighth grade, before I had any serious education or formal training in the craft. Back then, all it took to be a great writer (in my mind, at least) was a great vocabulary and a desire to cram big words into small thoughts.

Ahh, it was a simpler time. You can imagine my surprise when I received feedback in my first serious writing class.

I saw red. Lots of red.

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If you’re like most professional writers, you avoid any math more complicated than balancing your checkbook. You might not even do that anymore, since you can just check your bank balance on your phone. A math-free life—how great is that?

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Here at Words by a Pro, we work with narratives. It’s our job to write stories surrounding brands. Orders often run along the lines of “informative but entertaining” or “professional but accessible.”

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Regardless of your political opinion, it’s safe to say 2017 has already been a year worth remembering. A controversial wave started rolling in last year, and the American people are surfing its surface around the web in all different directions.

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We’ve all had those insightful moments where a brilliant thought or idea rushes through our mind. It’s this time that we run to grab our pencil and paper and quickly jot down our fleeting thought. Did you ever feel like your brilliant idea became a complete flop once you put it into words? Sometimes it’s not our actual ideas that need tweaking, but rather the language we use to describe them.

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The Language Ninja explains the meanings of a newfangled millennial slang term.

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It’s a little tricky.

Many amateur writers use the word however incorrectly. The most common mistake—and we see it way too often—is using it as if it were a coordinating conjunction.

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Ahh, the music of language.

We’ve all heard the phrase before, but many of us haven’t given much thought to what it actually means. Is it how words sound? The “flow” of a sentence? Or something more?

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