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Writing Tips: 161 - 170

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These tips provided by: http://www.basic-learning.com

Books on writing.

Tools to help you include Bull's Eye Business Writing (a self-paced workbook) and How To Improve Your Business Reading Skills (also on CD-ROM)--all from Basic Learning Systems, Inc. 888-204-3600 * See our Web site at http://www.basic-learning.com

 

Tip # 161: The following are among the most powerful and persuasive
words you can use in email promotions:

You, your, discover, free, healthy, easy, introducing, gain, new,
money, advice, results, sale, proven, benefits, effective, save,
value, now, win, right, why, most, safe and guaranteed.

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Correct the errors in the following sentences:

1. Sara is a better piano player than any pianist
   in our group.
2. Our cat is smarter than any on the block.
3. Your car is the fastest car in the neighborhood.
4. Let's see the both of them on Saturday.
5. What kind of a computer did he buy?

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Here is last week's question:

Please answer this question from Ben, a subscriber to our tips: 

Which is correct to write: a 30,000 square feet facility or 30,000
square foot facility?


Here is a comment from Thomas Munson, another subscriber:

If you are talking about the facility then the proper usage would be
the facility is 30,000 square feet, but if you are talking about a
square foot the proper usage would be a 30,000 square foot facility.
I am not quoting from any source, just basic college writing 101.

The answer is use "foot" as an adjective.  The word "foot" describes
the noun "facility." 




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Tip # 162:  Words spelled with "ie" or "ei", where the sound is e,
(long ee), are usually written using the "i" before "e" except after
"c."  Examples are "believe" and "receive."   However, the following
words are exceptions to the rule, and need to be memorized:

   Either         height
   Neither         neighbor
   Reign                 weigh
   Freight         seize
   Weird                 conscience
   Leisure         height

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Select the pronoun that makes each sentence correct:

1. My older brother and only living relative is
   planning to open (his, their) own real estate
   office.

2. At the annual meeting, our management team will
   present (its, their) solution to the safety problem.

3. Neither Mary nor the painters completed (her, their)
   work.

4. Each father and each son expressed (his, their)
   sincere appreciation.

5. This company has invested in several subsidiaries,
   but (its, their) expansion program is not yet complete.

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

Here is last week's exercise:

Correct the errors in the following sentences:

1. Sara is a better piano player than any pianist in
   our group.

2. Our cat is smarter than any on the block.

3. Your car is the fastest car in the neighborhood.

4. Let's see the both of them on Saturday.

5. What kind of a computer did he buy?


Here are my suggestions:

1. Sara is a better piano player than any other
   pianist in our group.  (The word "other" makes
   it clear that Sara is a member of the group).

2. Our cat is smarter than any other on the block.
   (Now it is obvious the cat lives on the block).

3. Your car is the fastest of all the cars in the
   neighborhood. (This shows your car belongs in the
   neighborhood).

4. Let's see both of them on Saturday.  (Do not use
   "the" before "both."

5. What kind of computer did he buy? (Do not use "a"
   or "an" after phrases ending with "of"--"kind of,"
   type of."




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Tip #163:  Make an interesting first impression with your title or
headline.  This gives your audience the idea that your article, sales
letter, or other copy is going to be a great read.  Before you start
writing, think about your audience.  No matter who they are, titles
should flow from the lips easily, and give readers some idea of what
they'll learn by reading on. At the same time, they should be short
enough to be memorable.

One technique is to use alliteration.  Alliteration is the repetition
of a particular consonant sound at the beginning, end, or middle of
two or more words (i.e. terrific titles or great guidelines). An
alliterative title is easy to say, easy to remember, and just plain
fun to read.
(Thanks to Meredith Pond of Dr Nunley's for this tip).

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

Please answer this question from Kim:

Is it permissible to use the term "each other" for the term "one
another?"

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

Here is last week's exercise:

Select the pronoun that makes each sentence correct:

1. My older brother and only living relative is
   planning to open (his, their) own real estate office.
2. At the annual meeting, our management team will
   present (its, their) solution to the safety problem.
3. Neither Mary nor the painters completed (her, their)
   work.
4. Each father and each son expressed (his, their)
   sincere appreciation.
5. This company has invested in several subsidiaries,
   but (its, their) expansion program is not yet complete.

Here are my suggestions:

1. My older brother and only living relative is planning
   to open (his) own real estate office.
2. At the annual meeting, our management team will present
   (its) solution to the safety problem.
3. Neither Mary nor the painters completed (their) work.
4. Each father and each son expressed (his) sincere
   appreciation.
5. This company has invested in several subsidiaries,
   but (its) expansion program is not yet complete.

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

Great Going!! We have won the EditAvenue.com Writing Tips Award!!!!

Here's what EditAvenue.com said:

Congratulations! Your website has been reviewed and chosen to bear
the EditAvenue.com Writing Tips Award. Only the best writing
tips sites of the net are voted to receive Writing Tips Award. The
criterion for winning remains a challenge to even the best writing
advice webmasters. That being said, the primary benefit of winning
the Writing Tips Award is the recognition of your commitment to
the pursuit of website excellence. Furthermore, it represents that
your website is considered an outstanding resource for writing
advice, incorporating high standards of originality and content. Most
importantly, the Writing Tips Award lets others know you are
viewed as a respected professional by your peers, one who is
deserving of recognition.

Doreen Yessayan

We are proud of this award!  EditAvenue.com is the premier online
provider of professional editing services.  If you should use their
services, please let them know how you found them.





If you would like to receive the FREE weekly tips by e-mail, contact tips@basic-learning.com and write "Sign Me Up" in the subject line.

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Tip # 164:  Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and
to announce a long summary.  Although the dash can be used in place
of the comma, the semicolon, the colon, or parentheses, use it only
when you want to convey more emphasis than the other punctuation
marks.

For example: 
  At this year's gala, the music--and the
  food---were superb.

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Try using the dash in the following sentences:

1. Our entire stock of exotic coffees including a
   selection of beans from Costa Rica, Columbia, Brazil,
   and Africa, will be on sale at a 25% discount.

2. The information I sent you is true and you know it!

3. Call Al Smith he's with IBM and get his opinion.

4. I do the work he gets the credit!

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

Here is last week's question from Kim:

Is it permissible to use the term "each other" for the term "one
another?"

Here is an explanation:

Linguists state the term "each other" should be used to refer to two
people and "one another" to more than two.  However, usage is
changing and many experts are allowing "one another" to be used to
refer to two people also.

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

Great Going!! We have won the EditAvenue.com Writing Tips Award!!!!

Here's what EditAvenue.com said:

Congratulations! Your website has been reviewed and chosen to bear
the EditAvenue.com Writing Tips Award. Only the best writing
tips sites of the net are voted to receive Writing Tips Award. The
criterion for winning remains a challenge to even the best writing
advice webmasters. That being said, the primary benefit of winning
the Writing Tips Award is the recognition of your commitment to
the pursuit of website excellence. Furthermore, it represents that
your website is considered an outstanding resource for writing
advice, incorporating high standards of originality and content. Most
importantly, the Writing Tips Award lets others know you are
viewed as a respected professional by your peers, one who is
deserving of recognition.

Doreen Yessayan

We are proud of this award!  EditAvenue.com is the premier online
provider of professional editing services.  If you should use their
services, please let them know how you found them.




If you would like to receive the FREE weekly tips by e-mail, contact tips@basic-learning.com and write "Sign Me Up" in the subject line.

http://www.basic-learning.com

 

Tip # 166:  The resume Cover Letter:  I will be providing information
about cover letters for the next several weeks.  Many prospective
employers view the cover letter as a way of getting an impression of
you before you are even interviewed.

A cover letter is an introduction, a sales pitch and a proposal for
further action all in one. It gives the reader a taste of what's to
come -- not by simply summarizing the resume, but by highlighting the
aspects of your background that will be most relevant to the reader.
A cover letter also demonstrates that you can organize your thoughts
and express yourself clearly and appropriately; in other words, it
reflects your communication skills and, to some extent, your
personality.

Cover letters are typically one page documents. Like lots of things
in life, they have a beginning, middle and end: usually an
introduction saying who you are and why you're writing, followed by a
sales pitch of what you have to offer and then a closing in which you
propose steps for further action. These three components often amount
to three or four paragraphs, but there are no hard and fast rules
about exactly how you break up the information.

Portions of this article were excerpted from the book Cover Letters
(of The Princeton Review Job Notes series) by L. Michelle Tullier.
Random House/Princeton Review Books, 1997. 


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

Rewrite the following wordy sentences by making them more concise:

1. The medical exam that he gave me was entirely
   complete.
2. John asked his friend Sally, who was a good, old
   friend, if she would join him and go along with him
   to see the foreign film made in Japan.
3. It will be our aim to insure proper health care for
   each and every one of the people in the United States.

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

Here is last week's exercise:
Please answer this question from Eleanor Jones:

I receive your basic writing tips and have a question for you.
I am confused about the definitions of bi-annual, bi-monthly, and
bi-weekly.

For example, if bi-annual = twice a year
does bi-monthly = twice a month?
or does bi-monthly mean every 2 months?

We were discussing this at work and I thought I'd ask for your
insight!

Thank you,
Eleanor Jones

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

Here are some comments:

In answer to Eleanor Jones and the bi business.  I think this is an
interesting twist in our language, but if you look these words up in
the dictionary you'll see that while biannual is defined only as
twice a year, biweekly and bimonthly are defined both as every two
weeks/months and twice a week/month.  However, since the "every two"
definition is listed first it is considered the more common usage. 
So I use those words to mean "every two" and I find most others do,
too.  But I can't help you as to why the same word can mean opposite
things.  Hope this helps some. 

Carol Stephan

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To avoid confusion I use "bi-" to mean every 2, such as "bi-weekly"
means every 2 weeks. I use "semi- " to mean twice during a specified
period, such as "semi-annual" means twice a year.

Victoria Macdonald, Learning and Development Solutions

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

The meaning of the prefix "bi" is two or double, if we want to refer
to half that would be "semi". In conclusion "bi-annual" does not mean
twice at year, it means every two years. 
Other examples: Semi-weekly,  Semi-monthly.

Judith Helinski

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

"Bi-something" means every two somethings.

For example, "bi-annual" means every two years, and "bi-weekly" means
every two weeks. This is easy for Americans to remember, since in
1976 we celebrated our Bicentennial, which was two hundred-years.

"Semi-annual" means twice a year.  Remember this by thinking that
"semi-" means half, so it's something that happens every half-year.

The reason these are hard to keep straight is that we hear so many
people using them incorrectly.

Mary J. McLaughlin



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Tip # 167:  Resume Cover Letters - five things to think about before
writing them:

1. What does the prospective employer need to know?
   (skills, knowledge, experience)
2. What are your objectives? ( an interview, a phone
   conversation, a specific job)
3. What are three to five qualities you can bring to
   this employer?
4. How can you match your experience to the job?
5. Why do you want to work for this particular
   organization?

Portions of this article were excerpted from the book Cover Letters
(of The Princeton Review Job Notes series) by L. Michelle Tullier.
Random House/Princeton Review Books, 1997.

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

Please answer the following question.  

Which word is the preferred style for news releases: 
"Five people" or "five persons" were involved in the project?

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

Here is last week's practice exercise:
Rewrite the following wordy sentences by making them more concise:

1. The medical exam that he gave me was entirely
   complete.
2. John asked his friend Sally, who was a good, old
   friend, if she would join him and go along with him
   to see the foreign film made in Japan.
3. It will be our aim to insure proper health care for
   each and every one of the people in the United States.

Suggested answers to last week's practice exercise:

1. He gave me a complete medical exam.
2. John asked his old friend Sally to join him for
   the Japanese film.
3. Our aim is to insure proper health care for every
   American.




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Tip # 168:  Verbs: To be clear and direct, express crucial actions as
verbs:

Change this:

   The court made a decision to conduct a review
    of the matter.

This is better:

   The court decided to review the matter.

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

Summer Special!! Order my business writing workbook, Bull's Eye
Business Writing (workbook or online course), and receive FREE RESUME
TIPS.  Offer good until August 31.

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

Please correct these sentences

1. Small business persons were not eligible to 
   receive the grant.
2. The boss summoned Harry and I to the office.
3. Here's seven reasons for taking a vacation.
4. John was a former Director of Marketing.


Here is last week's question:

Please answer the following question.   Which word is the preferred
style for news releases:  "Five people or five persons were involved
in the project?

Here's the answer:  According to The Associated Press Stylebook,
journalists prefer the word "people" to "persons" in all plural
uses.  Therefore, use "Five people were involved in the project."




If you would like to receive the FREE weekly tips by e-mail, contact tips@basic-learning.com and write "Sign Me Up" in the subject line.

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Tip #169: Here are some tips about web writing.  Online copy should
make it possible for readers to scan it quickly. 

· Write sentences that are short (20 words or less).
· Limit your text to three screens.
· Do not insert hyperlinks as endnotes in your text.
· Limit your use of audio and graphics. 
· Edit your copy before sending it out.

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

We have just been listed in the eZINESearch® Directory/List
(http://www.ezinesearch.com/search-it/ezine/), which contains over
5,000 periodically published electronic magazines.

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

Please correct the following sentences:

1. Sally trained herself to not hear the
   highway noise.
2. Your computer was shipped to you today, you
   should be receiving it by Monday or Tuesday.
3. Whose in contention for the top job?
4. I am waiting on your report.

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

Summer Special!! Order my business writing workbook, Bull's Eye
Business Writing (workbook or online course), and receive FREE RESUME
TIPS.  Offer good until August 31.

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

Here is last week's practice exercise:  Please correct these
sentences:

1. Small business persons were not eligible to
   receive the grant.
2. The boss summoned Harry and I to the office.
3. Here's seven reasons for taking a vacation.
4. John was a former Director of Marketing.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Small business people were not eligible to
   receive the grant.
2. The boss summoned Harry and me to the office.
3. Here are seven reasons for taking a vacation.
4. John is a former Director of Marketing.




If you would like to receive the FREE weekly tips by e-mail, contact tips@basic-learning.com and write "Sign Me Up" in the subject line.

http://www.basic-learning.com

 

Tip #170: Avoid vague words to express yourself precisely.   Compare
the following pairs of sentences for clarity.

  Poor:  What is his angle on the crisis ?
  Better:  What are his ideas on the crisis?

  Poor:  It is difficult for Jim to deal with the
         pressures of work.
  Better:  It is difficult for Jim to cope with the
         pressures of work.

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

Rewrite the following sentences by replacing the vague words:

1. I do not get the solution.
2. This passage from the text shows the character's
   true nature.

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

Here is last week's practice exercise:  Please correct the following
sentences:

1. Sally trained herself to not hear the highway noise.
2. Your computer was shipped to you today, you
   should be receiving it by Monday or Tuesday.
3. Whose in contention for the top job?
4. I am waiting on your report.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Sally trained herself not to hear the highway
   noise. (Avoid the split infinitive).
2. Your computer was shipped to you today; you should be
   receiving it by Monday or Tuesday.  (Avoid the
   comma splice).
3. Who's in contention for the top job?  (The
   contraction, who's, is needed here, not the
   possessive pronoun, whose).
4. I am waiting for your report.  (This is more
   acceptable.  You can wait on tables.)




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