Help turns up in the most unlikely places!
Various marketing blogs provide advice on writing good prose, amongst them http://bly.com/blog/, http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/, http://www.actionplan.blogs.com/, http://www.canadianmarketingblog.com/ and http://www.actionplan.blogs.com/.
"Reduce blah words", "Trim" and so on are words of wisdom scattered about the blogs like discarded metaphors on the cutting-room floor.
Then there are the formal corporate financial statements available through Canada News Wire (http://www.newswire.ca).
Boring, badly-aligned columns of figures by the year, quarter, cash Flow, and sundry other accountant-like gibberish.
But there at the foot of most reports I find paragraphs like this:
· Any statements that express, or involve discussions as to, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, through the use of words or phrases such as "will likely result", "are expected to", "will continue", "is anticipated", "estimated", "intend", "plan", "projection", "could", "may", "believes", "feel", "targeting", "look forward", "goals", "objective", "outlook" and similar expressions) are not historical facts and may be forward-looking and may involve estimates, assumptions and uncertainties which could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements.
What a great list of words and phrases with which I can populate my "blah-alert" macro.
A Big "Thank You" to the accountants and lawyers of Corporate Canada!