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Writing Tips: 141 - 150

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Tip  #141:  Some words have more than one correct spelling.   These
forms, which are equally acceptable, are separated in the dictionary
by a comma or the word "or." 

Some examples are: 
  "judgment" or "judgement"
  "catalog," or "catalogue."

British spellings are often given after the American spelling and are
also set off by a comma: 

  "theater," theatre"
  "connection," "connexion"
  "favor," "favour."

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See how many misspelled words you can find in the following:

1. He inadvertantly misspelled "rarefy" on the questionaire.
2. Mary served as liaison to the ajutant.
3. Betty was exilerated when she achieved her gaols.

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This was last week's exercise: 
Choose the correct verb:

1. He said his manager, whom we just met, (is, was) of
   German parentage.
2. What (is, was) the name of the salesperson who just
   left?
3. His secretary has misplaced the letter that Mr. Smith
   (dictates, dictated).
4. She has not mailed the letter she (writes, wrote).

These are the answers:
5. He said his manager, whom we just met, is of German
   parentage.
6. What is the name of the salesperson who just left?
7. His secretary has misplaced the letter that Mr. Smith
   dictated.
8. She has not mailed the letter she wrote.



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Tip # 142:  To make your sentences sound clear and direct, express
crucial actions as verbs.  Here are examples of two sentences. 
Notice how the nouns in the first sentence are changed to verbs in
the second sentence. 

  Change: 
   The court made a decision to conduct a review of the matter.
  Better:
   The court decided to review the matter.

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Make the same changes to the following sentences:

1. There was a modification of the program by the task force.
2. Compliance with the provision is mandatory on the part
   of the employer.

*********************************************************

This was last week's exercise:  See how many misspelled words you can
find in the following:

1. He inadvertently misspelled "rarefy" on the questionnaire.
2. Mary served as liaison to the adjutant.
3. Betty was exhilarated when she achieved her goals.

Here are the answers:

1. inadvertently, questionnaire
2. adjutant
3. exhilarated, goals




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Tip # 143:  Reflexive pronouns refer back to the subject.   For
example:  "He had "himself" to blame," or "I timed 'myself' in the
reading test." 

The same form is sometimes used as an intensive pronoun to make
another word more emphatic.  For example: The announcement was made
by the president "himself."

Unfortunately, writers mistakenly consider "myself" to be more polite
than "I" or "me."  In standard English the reflexive forms are not
used as substitutes for "I" or "me." 

  Incorrect:  Ms. Smith and myself attended the meeting.
  Correct:  Ms. Smith and I attended the meeting.

  Incorrect:  The project was completed by Harry and myself.
  Correct:  The project was completed by Harry and me.

*********************************************************

Select the correct pronoun in each of the sentences:

1. From (who, whom) will we receive our instructions?
2. The Director of Training assigned the project to
   Mary and (I, me).
3. James, Harry and (I, myself) were assigned to update
   the survey.

*********************************************************

This was last week's exercise: Make the same changes to the following
sentences:

1. There was a modification of the program by the
   task force.
2. Compliance with the provision is mandatory on the
   part of the employer.

These are my suggested changes:

1. The task force modified the program.
2. The employer must comply with the provision.



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Tip # 144:  Writing business plans: This week I will give you
the elements and organization of writing a business plan.  I
found good information in an online article by Roger Kramer,
owner of Alpha Services (alpha services.com).

1. Executive Summary: Give a concise summary of your
    company's products, services, and future outlook.

2. Table Of Contents:  This helps the reader find specific
   information.

3. The Company:  Tell what the company does and include
detailed
   information about how it got started, what its goals are,
who the
   major players are, what profits it has and hopes to have,
etc.

4. Products and Services: Write a detailed account of what your

   business will be providing to its customers.

5. Production:  Describe the materials needed to produce your
product

6. Marketing:  Write a detailed marketing agenda including what

   and how your product or service will be advertised.

7. Competition:  Tell who your competition is and how your
company
   will overcome this challenge.

8. Obstacles:  Describe any other challenges you anticipate and

   how you will overcome these obstacles.

9. Finances:  Give anticipated set-up and daily operating
costs.

10. Milestones: This is the future time line of your business.

These are the basic elements of building your business plan.
Begin by making a rough outline for each section and then build
to a finished product.

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I received a request for information about the addressing and
signing of a letter.  Your exercise will be to answer this
person's requests:

1. How do you do the heading when someone signs a letter
   as a family, example:  Mary, Rose, and Joe Valdero?  Mary
   is the elder daughter and Rose and Joe are the parents of
Mary.

2. How do you write the salutation?  For example: Dear Mr.
Valdero,
   Mrs. Valdero and Ms. Valdero or Dear Mr. & Mrs. Joe Valdero
and
   Ms. Mary Valdero.

*********************************************************

Answers to last week's exercise were:  1. Whom;  2. Me;  3. I.





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Tip #146:  When writing an ad or sales letter, consider the
connotation or psychological implications of the words and phrases
you use.  The word "workshop" sounds like hard work while "seminar"
sounds easier. "Read" sounds hard while "look" over sounds easy.
"Write" sounds difficult while "jot down" sounds easy.  (Adapted from
The AMA Complete Guide to Small Business Advertising by Joe Vitale).

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Here are some practice exercises sent in by my readers.  Please
correct the following sentences:

1. Your present position offers a challenge and is
   very exciting.
2. Everyone agrees that Sally is a charming woman;
   charming and very intelligent, also.
3. Were you in school during the 70s?
4. Larry and (I, myself) are hoping to see you again.
5. Few well-known business make a profit.





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Tip # 147:  Data vs. Datum--which word should you use?   According to
the American Heritage Dictionary, you can use "data" in formal usage.
Although technically plural, some dictionaries say "data" may be
used as a singular noun. 

  For example: 
    These data are inconclusive.
    This data is inconclusive.

*********************************************************

Please correct the misused word in each sentence:

1. The continued recovery from injuries is coming at
   a fortuitous time for the Dolphins, who play the
   Jets next week.
2. The boss called Harry, Jane, and I to his enormous
   office.
3. Laurie had an ingenuous solution to our problem.

*********************************************************

This was last week's exercise:
1. Your present position offers a challenge and is
   very exciting.
2. Everyone agrees that Sally is a charming woman;
   charming and very intelligent, also.
3. Were you in school during the 70s?
4. Larry and (I, myself) are hoping to see you again.
5. Few well-known business make a profit.

Here are the corrections:
1. Your present position offers a challenge and
   excitement.
   This is another version that can be used: Your
   present position is challenging and exciting.
2. Everyone agrees that Sally is a charming and
   intelligent woman.
3. Were you in school during the '70s?
4. Larry and I are hoping to see you again.
5. Few well-known businesses make a profit.




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Tip #148:  If you have to decide what words to cut in a long
sentence, choose the ones that are less precise and repetitious.  
(Adapted from author Richard Lauchman, AMACOM).

  Too wordy: 
   A more thoughtful and considered ranking and
   ordering of our long-term goals is both necessary and essential.

  Better: 
   A more thoughtful ranking of our long-term goals
   is essential.

*********************************************************

Try rewriting the following sentences:

1. The defendant contends and attests that he was
   not present but elsewhere at the time when the
   crime was committed.
2. The CEO asks and requests that we evaluate and
   assess the potential impact and effect of the
   information before distributing or promulgating it.

*********************************************************

Here is last week's practice exercise: Please correct the misused
word in each sentence:

1. The continued recovery from injuries is coming
   at a fortuitous time for the Dolphins, who play
   the Jets next week.
2. The boss called Harry, Jane, and I to his
   enormous office.
3. Laurie had an ingenuous solution to our problem.

Here are the corrections:

1. The continued recovery from injuries is coming
   at a fortunate time for the Dolphins, who play the
   Jets next week.  ("fortuitous" means happening by
   change or accident; "fortunate" means lucky or
   favorable).
2. The boss called Harry, Jane and me to his enormous
   office.  ( use the objective case "me" rather than
   subjective case "I".
3. Laurie had an ingenious solution to our problem.
   ("ingenuous" means na´ve or innocent; "ingenious"
   means clever or inventive.




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Tip #149:  Amount vs. Number:  There is confusion between the
categories of words relating to amount and number.  "Amount" words
relate to quantities of things that are measured in bulk; "number"
relates to things that can be counted.

  Example:  We can count the number of words, but we
            cannot count the amount of space we take up.
            Use this handy guide to help you distinguish
            between the categories of words:

              Amount          Number
              Quantity        Number
              Little          Few
              Less            Fewer
              Much            Many

  Example:  You can eat fewer cookies, but you drink less
            milk.  If the thing being measured is being
            considered in countable units, then use
            "number" words.  The most common mistake is
            to refer to an "amount" of people instead of
            a "number" of people.

Just to confuse things, "more " can be used either way: you can eat
more cookies and drink more milk.

(This information was inspired by "Common Errors in English" by
Professor Paul Brians, Washington State University) 

*********************************************************

Try using this week's tip by using the words "amount" and "number"
correctly:

1. A large (amount, number) of lumber was delivered
   to the construction site.

2. A large (amount, number) of questions were asked
   by the employees.

3. A large ( amount, number) of managers attended the
   meeting.

*********************************************************

Here was last week's exercise. 
Try rewriting the following sentences:

1. The defendant contends and attests that he was not
   present but elsewhere at the time when the crime was
   committed.
2. The CEO asks and requests that we evaluate and assess
   the potential impact and effect of the information
   before distributing or promulgating it.


Suggested rewrites to the practice exercise:

1. The defendant contends that he was elsewhere when the
   crime was committed.
2. The CEO asks that we assess the potential impact of
   the information before distributing it.




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Tip # 150:  Send messages that grab your audience's attention.  

Which sign is more effective:
 
  "Human Resource Meeting"
  or
  "Are You Having Trouble Meeting Senior-Level HR
   Executives Face-to-Face"?

Before you distribute a memo or e-mail message to your employees,
make sure you are telling them something that not only provides
information, but something that will grab their attention.
(Adapted from The Joy of Thinking Big by Ernie Zelinski)

*********************************************************

What's wrong with the following sentences?  Please rewrite them:

1. The odor from the gas leak hung heavily in the
   air.  (Be careful with the meaning of "hung" in
   this sentence).

2. Stand firmly where you are.

3. We must stay alertly while driving.

*********************************************************

This was last week's exercise. Try using this week's tip by using the
words "amount" and "number" correctly:

1. A large (amount, number) of lumber was delivered
   to the construction site.
2. A large (amount, number) of questions were asked
   by the employees.
3. A large (amount, number) of managers attended the
   meeting.

These are the corrected sentences:

1. A large amount of lumber was delivered to the
   construction site.
2. A large number of questions were asked by the
   employees.
3. A large number of managers attended the meeting.




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Writing Quicklinks

Writing tips:
101 - 110 | 111 - 120 | 121 - 130 | 131 - 140 | 141 - 150
151 - 160 | 161 - 170 | 171 - 180 | 181 - 190 | 191 - 200
200-210
| 212-220 | 221-230 | 231 - 240 | 241 - 250
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