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Writing Tips: 171 - 180

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Tip #171:  Into vs. in to:

Do not confuse `into' with `in to.'   `Into' is a preposition that
generally represents motion from outside to inside such as,'She
walked into the building.'

`In to' is an adverb followed by a preposition or first word of an
infinitive.  Example:  `She went in to make an announcement.' 

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Please answer this question:  Which expression should I use: `more
importantly' or `more important'?

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Here is last week's practice exercise: 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 are my suggestions:

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





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Tip # 173:  Verb Tense.  Verbs have the ability to tell us not only
what action is occurring, but also when it is occurring. 

Tense means time.  Irregular verbs cause the most difficulty because
it is easy to confuse the past tense and the past participle tense.

For example: 
  He drank (not drunk) the whole bottle of milk.
  After she had eaten (not ate) her snack, Shelly left
  the office.

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Correct these verb tense errors:

1. He begun his day early.
2. Before they got to the summit, the dam burst.
3. Last night, he finds her alone with her coworker.
4. Next year I go to Canada to find work.

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Here is last week's practice exercise: 

Rewrite the errors in these sentences:
1. Carrie loved Jim dearly but not his dog.
2. Paul left his brother out in the cold and alone.

Here are the corrections:
1. Carrie loved Jim dearly, but she did not love his dog.
2. Paul left his brother out in the cold and by himself. 
   Or Paul left his brother outside and alone.



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Tip #174:  Spell out units of measurement and specific locations, and
do not abbreviate them.

Wrong: 
Jan was born in Fl. twenty yrs. ago.

Correct: 
Jan was born in Florida twenty years ago.

Wrong: 
Sally is 5 ft.2in.tall.

Correct: 
Sally is 5'2" tall.  Or Sally is 5 feet 2 inches tall.  Or Sally is
five feet two inches tall.

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Which is correct? 

Charles's assistant or Charles' assistant. 

Please explain.

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Here is last week's exercise:  Correct these verb tense errors:

1. He begun his day early.
2. Before they got to the summit, the dam burst.
3. Last night, he finds her alone with her coworker.
4. Next year I go to Canada to find work.

Here are the corrections:

1. He began his day early.
2. Before they got to the summit, the dam had burst.
3. Last night, he found her alone with her coworker.
4. Next year I shall go to Canada to find work.





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Tip #175:  Here are the things that annoy people about e-mail
according to a survey by Nightcats Multimedia Productions and our
experiences at Basic Learning Systems, Inc.:

E-mail marked "important" when it isn't

E-mail with misleading or missing subjects

E-mail that cleverly disguises adult content

E-mail that does not clearly identify the sender's
  name (all e-mails should have a signature)

E-mail with attachments that the writer has not
  described to the recipient (be aware of viruses
  transmitted via attachments)

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Which is correct?  Explain why.

a) Either John or myself would like to assist you.
b) Either John or I would like to assist you.

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

Here is last week's question and answers: 
Which is correct? 

Charles's assistant or Charles' assistant. 

Please explain.

The following comprehensive explanation is by Mary.
Thanks, Mary, I agree with you.

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Experts and references are divided on the question of Charles' vs.
Charles's.   Personally, I prefer "Charles's," for the following
reasons.

1. Using just the apostrophe may cause some
   confusion, as that is the proper form if the
   word were plural (that is, two persons named
   "Charle.")

2. When we see "Charles' book," whether we
   actually say it or just think it, we are left
   with trying to make it a plural, and we are not
   sure how to pronounce it.  Do we say it just
   like "Charles book?"  Or do we try to make the
   "s" sound longer to indicate the plurality?
   It ends up sounding like, "Charlezzz book."

With a name like "Charles," which ends with a single "z" sound, there
is no reason not to add the apostrophe-s.  It is similar to St.
James's Park in London.  However, when you get to a name like Moses,
using an apostrophe-s ends up with a word like Mozezez, and that is a
little excessive.  With a name that already has a double-s or
double-z sound, I use just the apostrophe.

Mary J. McLaughlin





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Tip # 176:  Electronic resumes need clearly separated letters;
therefore, use a typeface such as Helvetica, Sans Serif, or Times.

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Please correct and explain:

1. Listen, lieutenant, I do not have time to
   speak with you.
2. Speak to the Sergeant in charge of the division.
3. Lisa was promoted to the rank of Commander in
   the Air Force.

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Last week's practice exercise stated, "Which is correct? 
Explain why."

a) Either John or myself would like to assist you.
b) Either John or I would like to assist you.

My suggestion is to use "I" rather than "myself" because "myself" is
called a reflexive pronoun and should be used only when emphasizing
something about yourself such as "I washed myself."





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Tip # 177:  More resume tips. 

Do not include marital status, church affiliation, and age on your
resume since they are illegal for employers to ask.

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Please chose the correct word for each sentence:

1. Did they (lose, loose) their reports?
2. Sally has (luxuriant, luxurious) hair.
3. I can (literally, figuratively) float on a
   cloud when I am happy.
4. Some foods have (fewer, less) calories.

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

Here is last week's exercise: 

Please correct and explain:
1. Listen, lieutenant, I do not have time to speak
   with you.
2. Speak to the Sergeant in charge of the division.
3. Lisa was promoted to the rank of Commander in the
   Air Force.

My suggestions are:
1. Listen, Lieutenant, I do not have time to speak
   with you. (Direct address)
2. Speak to the sergeant in charge of the division.
   (Occupational title)
3. Lisa was promoted to the rank of commander in the
   Air Force. (Occupational title)




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Tip # 178: Except for diaries or personal journals, most writing is
intended for one or more readers. To make your writing effective,
take into account your readers' backgrounds and needs. Here are a few
considerations that I saw on a e-zine called GrammarCheck:

1. Does your reader expect this writing? Has it been
   requested, or is the writing unsolicited? How
   is your reader likely to respond to the
   intended message?

2. What is your reader's background, i.e., age, gender,
   educational level, status, etc.? Is the level of
   your writing likely to make sense to the reader or
   have you pitched it too high or too low?

3. Is your diction appropriate? Have you used clear,
   descriptive language, or vague words with neutral
   meanings?

4. If asking the reader to do something, have you
   made that clear and provided convenient ways of
   doing so? For example, if you ask the reader to
   call soon, should you include the best days and
   times to contact you, along with the direct
   telephone number?

5. Is your message writer-centered or reader-centered?
   Do many of your paragraphs begin with "I" or refer
   to the writer more than they include "you" or refer
   to the reader?

6. Have you presented ideas that will serve your
   readers' needs as much as yours?

7. Did you establish and clearly define your purpose
   in writing, whether for information or to make
   a request?

These are some areas to keep in mind when writing to be sure your
reader receives your message in the vein in which you sent it.

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QUESTION:  Which is correct?

"Please rate how difficult it was for you to get transportation to
the hospital after you decided to come to the hospital."

-or-

"After you decided to come to the hospital, please rate how difficult
it was to get transportation to the hospital."

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

Here is last week's practice and my suggestions:

Please chose the correct word for each sentence:

1. Did they ( lose, loose) their reports? (lose)

2. Sally has (luxuriant, luxurious) hair.  (Some
   dictionaries permit the use of these words
   interchangeably; however, luxuriant hair is
   better because it means "growing in great abundance"
   whereas luxurious means "comfortable."

3. I can ( literally, figuratively) float on a cloud
   when I am happy. (figuratively because it means
  "in a metaphorical sense."  "Literally means actually."

4. Some foods have ( fewer, less) calories. (fewer- use
   "fewer" to modify plural nouns and "less" to modify
   singular nouns.)  Another tip is use "less"  for
   quantity and "fewer"  for number.  Example: less
   time, fewer clocks.



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Tip # 179:  Here is an excerpt from "The Secrets of Writing 
Executive-Level Resumes" by Douglas B. Richardson:

"Saying 'My objective is...' is the same as saying, 'I want.' Since
I'm more interested in what you offer than what you want, describing
the product -- you -- in terms of a Profile or Summary of
Qualifications makes more sense. Within the first few seconds, I want
to know five things:

1. Your current level. Level is generally measured
   in terms of years  of experience, title or other 
   responsibility, which may tell me how  flat or
   steep your learning curve is and how much I'll have
   to pay  you.

2. The roles and functions you can perform.

3. Settings you've performed them in. If they're similar
   to ours, I'm  likely to believe you can repeat your 
   previous triumphs with my  company. Your past settings
   also say a lot about the kind of places  in which you
   want to work.

4. Past experience. That is, what have you done?

5. Current expertise. What do you know?

To provide this information, a concise synthesis will do nicely:

PROFILE: 15 years of diverse general management,  operations and
marketing experience with regional and  national real-estate firms
and a multinational electronics  manufacturer. Wharton MBA with
particular expertise in:  Real-estate asset, property and turnaround
management, leasing, marketing and operations.  Financial planning,
capital investment budgeting and   pricing.  Strategic planning,
business development and market   analysis.  Recruiting, training and
management of interdisciplinary work teams.

This profile serves as an executive summary of the claims you promise
to support with specific information in your resume. It tells me what
to look for and teaches me, in effect, how to read your resume. It's
not pushy or overblown; it has a nice objective ring to it. I like
that because my defenses relax (slightly)."

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Question:  Where is the error in the following sentence and why?

Several widely-understood terms were omitted from your newspaper
article.

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

Last week's practice and my suggestions:
QUESTION:  Which is correct?

 "Please rate how difficult it was for you to get
 transportation to the hospital after you decided
 to come to the hospital."
-or-
 "After you decided to come to the hospital, please
 rate how difficult it was to get transportation to
 the hospital."

My suggestion:
 Please rate the difficulty of obtaining transportation
 to the hospital.
-or-
 Please rate how difficult it was for you to get to
 the hospital.




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Tip #180: Here's advice about word usage in resume writing from "The
Secrets of Writing  Executive-Level Resumes" by Douglas B. Richardson

"If you must use an adjective, make sure it's quantitative, or at
least objective (all, first, new, biggest, profitable, complete).
Don't use qualitative or subjective terms: impressive, creative,
excellent, major, significant, motivated. Anyone can claim these
qualities. Since I have no way of knowing if they're true, I discount
them by at least 90%. The same holds true with such adverbs as
proactively, aggressively, innovatively, uniquely, amazingly,
incredibly, universally, cosmically and astonishingly."

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Question:  What's wrong with the following sentences? 

Correct and tell why the sentences are incorrect.

1. Whom shall we say referred us?
2. To who shall I deliver the message?
3. Mr. Jones, who I have never met, is in charge.

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Last week's question: 
Where is the error in the following sentence and why?

  Several widely-understood terms were omitted from
  your newspaper article.

My suggestion: 
  Several widely understood terms were omitted
  from your newspaper article.  (Do not use hyphens
  with adverbs that end in -ly).




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