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Writing Tips: 231 - 240

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Tip #231:  When you are asked to write a progress report, include the
following:

1. Use "we" rather than "I" to describe accomplishments.
2. Include phrases that give senior executives credit
   such as " We took your advice, Mr. Big Wig."
3. Describe how your team overcame obstacles to achieve
   results.

(Adapted from "Working Smart" monthly newsletter)
            
*********************************************************

Correct the following sentences:

1. To plan for retirement, financial planning must
   be made carefully.
2. The package will continue the city's 5th consecutive
   year without a property-tax rate increase and
   maintains funding for our top priorities.
            
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Last week's practice:  Eliminate the following unnecessary wording:

1. Performed problem analysis and resolution activities
   via company help line
2. Functions performed included formatting and producing
   complex documents

Suggestion:

1. Analyzed and resolved problems via help desk.
2. Formatted and produced complex documents.




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Tip #232:  Possible vs. Feasible. 

Something "possible" is capable of existing or happening if conditions
are right.  Something "feasible" is usually desirable and capable of
being carried out successfully.  Therefore, a plan might be feasible,
but resistance to the plan may be possible.
               
*********************************************************

Please correct the following sentences:

1. We will triumph over this problem ourself.
2. Helen, herself, gave him the diploma.
3. I will complete the work, myself.
4. Either Jim or yourself will paint the room.


******************************************************
Last week's exercise: 
Correct the following sentences:

1. To plan for retirement, financial planning must be
   made carefully. (dangling modifier)
2. The package will continue the city's 5th consecutive
   year without a property-tax rate increase and
   maintains funding for our top priorities.
  (parallel structure)

******

Suggestions:

1. To plan for retirement, you must do careful financial
   planning.
2. The package will continue the city's 5th consecutive
   year without a property-tax rate increase and will
   maintain funding for our top priorities.
               
*********************************************************

Committee--a group of people who individually can do nothing but as a
group decide that nothing can be done.  (Fred Allen)

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



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Tip # 233:  Having written plans can help you with time management. 
Write down what results you want to see by the end of the week; then
rank them in order of importance.
       
*********************************************************

Please punctuate the following:

1. His mothers-in-laws husbands were playing golf.
2. The chief executives officers positions were eliminated.
3. The notaries publics duties were changed.
       
*********************************************************

Last week's exercise:  Please correct the following sentences:

1. We will triumph over this problem ourself.
2. Helen, herself, gave him the diploma.
3. I will complete the work, myself.
4. Either Jim or yourself will paint the room.

********

Suggestions:

1. We will triumph over this problem ourselves.
2. Helen herself gave him the diploma.
3. I will complete the work myself.
4. Either Jim or you will paint the room.
       
*********************************************************

Try not to become a success, but rather try to become a person of
value.  (Albert Einstein)




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Tip #234:  Here are tips for writing a persuasive proposal:

State your conclusion.  Make sure you include the
  interests of those who are "buying" your ideas

Support your proposal by presenting your evidence in
  quantifiable terms; discuss why it is important to
  implement now; provide information about how to
  measure the results

Provide a cost analysis and implementation plans

Address any possible objections

Restate your major conclusion in a sentence or two.

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

Correct the following word usage:

1. He (sited, cited) new sales figures.
2. The new building (sight, site) is in Chicago.
3. The skyline was a beautiful (cite, site, sight).
4. Values are (principals, principles) that guide
   our lives.
5. His (principle, principal) goal is quality.
6. Voice your (descent, dissent) at the meeting.
7. Older employees often (counsel, council, consul)
   younger workers.

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

Last week's practice:  Please punctuate the following:

1. His mothers-in-laws husbands were playing golf.
2. The chief executives officers positions were eliminated.
3. The notaries publics duties were changed.

*****

Suggestions:

1. His mothers-in-law's husbands were playing golf.
2. The chief executives officer's positions were eliminated.
3. The notaries publics' duties were changed.



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Tip # 235: Use first- and second-person pronouns "I", "we," "my,"
"our," "you," "your," "yours," etc. to personalize your writing.

For example:
  "You can take advantage of our new resume course by
  using your email to notify our company."
               
*********************************************************

Please answer the following: Cynthia Green asks:

We are working to make all of our staff letter writers to be uniform
in the responses we send our clients. I would like to inquire about
the correct spacing for a formatted business letter. How many spaces
are required between sentences in a block formatted business letter --
one or two? Please inform me of the correct way.
               
*********************************************************

Last week's practice:  Correct the following word usage:

1. He (sited, cited) new sales figures. (cited)
2. The new building (sight, site) is in Chicago. (site)
3. The skyline was a beautiful (cite, site, sight). (sight)
4. Values are (principals, principles) that guide our
   lives. (principles)
5. His (principle, principal) goal is quality. (principal)
6. Voice your (descent, dissent) at the meeting. (dissent)
7. Older employees often (counsel, council, consul)
   younger workers. (counsel)
               
*********************************************************

Since there were so many comments on Tip #233, here are my
explanations and revised answers based on The Gregg Reference Manual
and my discussion with the Grammar Hotline of Broward Community
College, Davie, Florida:

His mothers-in-law's husbands were playing golf.
  (This is correct because people can have more than
  one mother-in-law if they have been married more than
  once.  To show possession in a plural word such as
  "mothers-in-law," add an apostrophe and "s".)

The chief executives officers' positions were eliminated.
  (This is correct because the title "chief executives
  officers" is a plural word that shows possession by adding
  an "s".  Turned around the sentence would be " The
  positions of the chief executives officers were eliminated.)

The notaries public's duties were changed. (I was
  incorrect in placement of the apostrophe.  The plural
  word is "notaries public" and the apostrophe should
  be placed before the "s" not after the "s".

*******

Suggestions:

Good comment from R. T. Groce:
1. His mothers-in-law's husbands were playing golf.
   (Technically speaking, can a man have TWO
   mothers-in-law?  (As in, "His mothers-in-laws
   husbands were playing golf.")  Seems one would
   have to be an "ex-mother-in-law" if the man were
   divorced, or a "former mother-in-law" if the man
   is a widower.

*******

Another great comment from V. J. Ewing
The rule for forming plurals of compound nouns says that if the plural
form does not end in "s," add an apostrophe plus "s" to form the
possessive (as you did with mothers-in law's).  Therefore, shouldn't
the third sentence be: The notaries public's duties were changed.

However, to avoid awkwardness, it would probably be best to reword the
sentence:  The duties of the notaries public were changed.

BTW, Merriam-Webster now says notary publics is acceptable (tho
notaries public is preferred), so I suppose you could say:  The notary
publics' duties were changed.

In any case, the suggestion for 3 seems wrong.  And 2 should
definitely be rewritten for clarity.

*******

Comment from my own daughter, Rachel:
His mothers-in-law's husbands were playing golf. -- Maybe I am missing
something, but how can a man have more than one mother-in-law? 
(Unless maybe he lives in Utah...)

*******

Thanks to all who commented on my suggested answers.  You got me
thinking.

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

"A good sense of humor is essential to deal with the world's reality."
(Anonymous)





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Tip # 236:  E-mail should not contain abbreviations beyond "FYI"
because most are new slang not familiar to everyone.
       
*********************************************************

Please correct the following error in parallel structure:

"We are especially interested in hearing your ideas on motivating
employees, how to introduce change, and quality control techniques."
       
*********************************************************

Last week's question:
Please answer the following:

Cynthia Green asks:
We are working to make all of our staff letter writers to be uniform
in the responses we send our clients. I would like to inquire about
the correct spacing for a formatted business letter. How many spaces
are required between sentences in a block formatted business letter --
one or two? Please inform me of the correct way.

******

Gloria Huerta's comment:
In my organization there are two spaces between paragraphs in blocked
format.  It makes the letter easier to read and the presentation (in
my opinion) looks more polished.  Thanks for opportunity to comment.

******

Sharon Kalbacher's comment:
Two spaces are required after the period ending a sentence (before the
first word of the next sentence).  Like this.

******

Linda K.'s comment
The standard for all end punctuation is 2 spaces (question marks,
exclamation marks) If there are any quotation marks at the end of a
sentence, the end punctuation falls inside the quote marks. Then you
space twice before you start another sentence.

To answer Cynthia Green's question-- Spacing after periods is always
2 spaces. After commas or semicolons in a sentence, however, you only
space once.  This spacing remains the same for all letter styles.

******

Mary J. McLaughlin's comment:
The rule of leaving two spaces after a period comes from the days of
typewriters, where we had no proportional spacing.  The two spaces
were necessary to make it clear there was a new sentence coming. 
However, with the advent of proportional spacing and precise
printers, two spaces are no longer necessary to make a clean break. 
It is now acceptable to leave just one space after a period, and also
after a colon. Either way is correct, as long as you are consistent.

******

My comment:  Use one space when using full justification spacing;
use two spaces when using left justification spacing.


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

You can either complain that rose bushes have thorns--or rejoice that
thorn bushes have roses.




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Tip #237:  In proposal writing, spend as much time in studying,
analyzing, planning, researching, and preparing to write as in writing
the proposal.
      
*********************************************************

Please rewrite the following by changing the negative tone to a
positive tone:

Dear Customer:

It has come to our attention that you have failed to remit your June
payment, which became overdue on June 12.
      
*********************************************************

Last week's exercise:
Please correct the following error in parallel structure:

"We are especially interested in hearing your ideas on motivating
employees, how to introduce change, and quality control techniques."
******

Suggestion:
"We are especially interested in hearing your ideas on motivating
employees, introducing change, and controlling quality .
      
*********************************************************

"Courage is very important.  Like a muscle, it's strengthened by use."
 (Ruth Gordon)




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Tip # 238: Words such as "up," "in," "out," "on," and "off," are
commonly used as prepositions, but they can also function as adverbs.

Prepositions         Adverbs
Jog up the hill         Look up the definition
See in the mirror Bring in your old clothes
Look out the window Phase out operations
Drive on the parkway Put on a show
Fell of the bike Write off our losses

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

Please correct the following sentences:

1. We hope to do a completer study next year.
2. He is looking for a more unique technique.
3. Of the two people, she is the most promising.

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

Last week's exercise: 
Please rewrite the following by changing the negative tone to a
positive tone:

  Dear Customer:

  It has come to our attention that you have failed
  to remit your June payment, which become overdue
  on June 12.

Better:

  To keep your good credit rating, please remit your
  overdue June payment.

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

"Thinking is one thing no one has been able to tax." (Charles
Kettering)



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Tip #239:  When using possessive forms of personal pronouns such as
"mine," "yours," "his," "hers," "its," "ours," or "theirs," use them
after the noun the word refers to.

For example: 
  That report is mine. 
  The choice was theirs. 
  Jane is a friend of hers.
       
*********************************************************

Please correct the following sentences:

  1. The company must protect it's assets.
  2. Their investing in high-tech stocks.
  3. Your thinking of applying for a new job.
       
*********************************************************

Last week's exercise: Please correct the following sentences:
  1. We hope to do a completer study next year.
  2. He is looking for a more unique technique.
  3. Of the two people, she is the most promising.

The corrected answers are:
  1. We hope to do a more complete study next year.
     (The comparative of complete is more complete.)
  2. He is looking for a unique technique. (The word
     "unique" does not logically permit a comparison.)
  3. Of the two people, she is the more promising.
     (When comparing two people use the word "more."
     "Most" is used in comparing three or more.)       



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Tip #240:  Keep a monthly log of your achievements and what obstacles
you overcame to achieve those results.  This type of record will be
helpful during your next performance evaluation or during a job
search.

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

We receive over 100 emails per day.  Without knowing
if the sender is a student in a course or someone
answering our weekly tips, it is difficult to know
how to answer your email.  If you are answering a
weekly tip exercise, please identify the tip number
in the subject line of your email.

Weekly Exercise:

Which is correct and why: 
  "Hold on to your memories"
  or
  "Hold onto your memories"?
  
*********************************************************

Last week's exercise:
Please correct the following sentences:

1. The company must protect it's assets.
2. Their investing in high-tech stocks.
3. Your thinking of applying for a new job.

****

Suggestion:
1. The company must protect its assets.
2. They're or they are investing in high-tech stocks.
3. You're or you are thinking of applying for a new job.
  
*********************************************************

"Laughter has no foreign accent."  (Paul B. Lowney)




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