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January 21, 2007


Kristin Johnson

Working with global teams, I often face the question of accent vs. no accent. Thanks for providing some direction!

Carlo Odello

I do not agree on these directions as they sound to me a bit too english-oriented. Infact it is not the same to write "caffe" or "caffè", it is definitely a mistake in my language, I mean in Italian. We do not change English words although they are difficult to us. An so we accepted "computer" trying to pronuonce in an English way. Accents are part of a language and ignoring them is just a way of make life easier but poorer.

Dan Santow

Carlo, I appreciate your thoughtful comment, and I agree that my advice is clearly English-oriented, but that’s also the language in which, and about which, I write. To be honest, I can’t comment on the rules and traditions that surround writing in English by those in non-English-speaking countries. But as for English written by those of us in the U.S., the UK, and Canada, I stand by my own advice.

Lee Antonio

Dan, can future Word Wise entries address when, why and how to best use (or not) these three often misused terms/words:
- compliment vs complement
- matching pronouns correctly with nouns/verbs
- how infrequently we should use "myself"?? THANKS

Holy Prepuce

For résumé in particular I think it makes sense to retain the accent marks; in this way the eye can quickly diffentiate between the noun résumé and the verb [to] resume.

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Why "Word Wise"?

  • When I started to e-mail out a weekly writing tip to my Chicago colleagues at Edelman in 2002, little did I know how quickly how many people outside my office would start to request it. But word spread, as word is wont to do, and in 2006 the e-mail evolved into this blog. The tips, which are about grammar, usage and style, have a dual purpose – to remind my colleagues in PR of the power of the written word and, more generally, to support and perpetuate clear, concise, creative, honest, lively, stylish, compelling writing everywhere. In 2009 I started to add commentary about and links to stories and other blog posts related to the media, marketing, writing and, sometimes, just interesting stuff. For some reason, I also started Twittering (at SantowDan).