August 16

Copywriting, editorial and consulting


Writing Consultant
In brief

Good writing makes business sense. It’s shorter. It’s quicker. It’s unambiguous. And it can be learned, provided we first unlearn the bad habits acquired from old-fashioned bosses or ill-trained bloggers.

Sydney-based writing coach Stephanie Oley offers several tried and tested frameworks designed to lift your writing techniques. Workshops range from in-house to public and motivational.

Drawing on her background in magazine journalism, radio and copywriting, Stephanie’s original courses include marketing, business, media and presentation writing, complete with original workbook.

Any course can be customised. All come with rigorous upfront client consultation and post-workshop feedback.

Did we mention?

When not consulting, Stephanie is creative partner at The Offices, where you’ll find her latest copywriting across a range of media. Offline, Stephanie stays busy exploring her passion for design, culture and community, and rambling about Sydney with her young family. She has several fiction manuscripts in progress.


Scribbles from Stephanie's notepad 


Stephanie offers a mix of in-house and public writing workshops, all replete with her original textbooks. Talk to her about customised writing, speaking and editing gigs too.


1. In-house workshops

Got six or so people in need of training? Or a very specific brand voice, project or goal to develop? Ask about the bespoke workshops, where Stephanie’s core presentations are adapted to carry examples from your organisation or industry.

Email moc.yeloeinahpetsnull@olleh to request a brochure on copywriting for marketers, writing for business, writing for the media and delivering a presentation. Rates are shown for full-day, half-day and hourly training.

2. Public workshops

Since 2006, Stephanie has presented several full-day writing workshops at The University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education. Click on the links below for course descriptions, rates and upcoming dates.

Persuasive Marketing Materials

Effective Business Reports

Write and Promote a Media Release

3. Speaking

Whether you need a presentation for humour, hype or help, Stephanie’s extensive public speaking experience places her comfortably in front of any audience. Perhaps you want your people to get excited about writing better, or need a workshop on effective emails or better online bios? Just ask about the possibilities.

4. Writing

Long and short, content and catch-lines, websites and wobblers: Stephanie’s writing folio spans various formats and styles. See a selection of work here. Visit The Offices to browse her latest work, or download her portfolio below.


Stephanie Oley






Clauses, phrases and grammar mazes: Part 2

Grammar-check for a road sign, online at Flickr: drive slowly.

Grammar-check for a road sign, online at Flickr: drive slowly.

Get a tighter grip on your sentence grammar with a look at phrases: hardworking groups of words that you can move around to control which information your reader finds first.


Sentence grammar is fun. No, really – I mean it. Understanding the basics of how a sentence works is not that hard, and once you have the basics in place, you can start adding more layers. True empowerment.


This is how it works. As we saw in Part 1 of this post, grammar works on four levels – sentences, clauses, phrases and words.


Sentences come in different shapes and sizes, from the aptly named simple sentence, with just one clause, to styles like cumulative sentences: complex sentences that have longer internal phrases and several different kinds of clauses. You can read more about sentence patterns here.


Break down a clause into its components, and you get phrases – subject phrases, object phrases, verb phrases and more.


Subjects and verbs

The two most important phrases are the subject and verb: the main ‘doer’ and the action it is doing. It’s important to know they are phrases and not just single words, because if your grammar education ended in around Year 2, like mine did, you’ll find it hard to spot the sentence subject if you’re looking for a single word. The underlined subjects in the following examples show what I mean:

Cats hate dogs.

The people in our department will attend the forum.


Objects, complements and adverbials

With your subject and verb phrases established, you can complete the sentence with an object phrase (recipient of the subject’s action), adverbial phrase (set of words that show how, when, why or where the action happened) or complement (adjectival phrase that describes the subject). For example:


Subject phrase – Verb phrase – Object phrase

Two officers – went to – Gundagai.

Subject phrase – Verb phrase – Complement

The results – appeared – favourable.

Subject phrase – Verb phrase – Complement

This date next month – will be – our fifth anniversary.


What does it all mean?

Once you can name the individual phrases, you can see how writers move the different parts around to emphasise different points. Phrases used at the front of the sentence tend to grab more attention, and are better indexed with search engines. For example:


Adverbial – Subject phrase – Verb phrase – Object phrase

January is when – we – will audit – Big Corporation.


Subject phrase – Verb phrase – Object phrase – Adverbial

We – will audit – Big Corporation – in January.

Subject phrase – Verb phrase – Adverbial

Big Corporation – will be audited – in January.


Notice how the last example is a passive sentence, with an object phrase in the position where the subject should normally be. This means there is no clear doer of the action now. However, if the sentence appeared in context, and if ‘Big Corporation’ was an important keyword for online searches, it would be the more effective choice.


Over to you. What changes did you achieve in your writing by moving the phrases around?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *