This site will help you to improve your life through better communication. This means having the willingness to think a second time about how you communicate. It requires taking a careful look at the words and phrases that you use, becoming conscious about the origins of words, appreciating that so-called experts can be wrong, and developing an unquenchable desire to challenge — when it comes to the English language — at least some of what you learned in school, hear on TV or radio, read in print or on the Web, or see and read at work.
WARNING: This site could cause you to develop a temporary pain-in-the-butt reputation from a seemingly out-of-nowhere compulsion to mutter word-choice, spelling and grammatical corrections to friends and family. If this reputation develops, please continue to re-visit this site. Symptoms will abate as you learn that even the smartest people around you struggle to say what they mean. As your patience grows, you’ll become an expert at recognizing and eliminating sources of miscommunication in many situations.
Better communication is hard work. If you’re only seeking fast solutions, you should look elsewhere. Although this site has several quick hits about blunders with English, for example, it also will make you question your own understanding of the language. This site will challenge you to look at what other languages can teach you about English. This site could even turn you into an amateur linguist.
DISCLAIMER: This site is biased toward American English. No apologies. No refunds. However, punctuation is biased toward the British approach. Again, no apologies.
The goal of this site is to help you to shake up your confidence in your communication skills and then to re-build that confidence as you develop new-found understanding of better ways to communicate. Don’t be surprised, if you get a “two steps forward, one step backward” feeling as you continue to re-visit this site. This is the nature of the process — and what a beautiful process it is.
SIDE EFFECTS: This site could create a dependent effect. This effect is perfectly normal. Don’t fight it. Rinse and repeat. Other side effects could include better presentations, intolerance of TV news, raises, happier marriages, and being asked to edit the community newsletter. Reader discretion is advised.
Here are some of the topics that you’ll see covered by this site:
- Common English Blunders: See what they are and how to avoid them.
- Foreign Languages: Learn what they teach us about English.
- English Slang: Think a second time about popular phrases.
- Outsider’s Perspective: Develop a non-native speaker’s curiosity about English.
- Word Play: Enrich your vocabulary by playing with words.
- Names Mean Things: Marvel at the power of surnames.
- Devolution toward Simpler: Follow the development of a linguistic hypothesis.
Where to Start?
You could start to fill a book with this site’s content about better communication. But, no matter where you start, you’ll have to make only a few clicks to find something valuable for you. If you discover something that intrigues you but you can’t read it right away, please print it for later consumption.
Bookmark this site, so that you can return to it easily. Roll over the “BOOKMARK” button at the bottom of this and other pages for quick access to bookmarking within your browser or at sites such as Del.icio.us, Digg, or Google.
- Say What You Mean – A great place to start is with the article Say What You Mean. You’ll get an overview of this site and how it will help you to communicate better — by challenging you to drop your guard, think a second time, and develop a new clarity in your life. If you don’t have time to read this now, print it out for later reading.
- Better-Communication Blog – Browse Kirk’s better-communication blog for the latest observations and commentary. He adds new content frequently. Sometimes he’ll include videos of the good and the bad found on the Web. You can explore the better-communication blog archives, too. The blog even includes an RSS feed — free!
Who is Kirk Mahoney?
Dr. Kirk Mahoney has a uniquely diverse but deep background interconnected by a drive to improve communication, no matter its form. You can visit the About page to learn more about him.