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Writing Tips: 501 - 510

Use your browser's Find function to look for tips that apply to your particular situation.

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 #501: There's and Here's

The words "there's" and "here's" are often used incorrectly. "There's" means "there is" and "here's" means "here is." Use
these words with singular nouns. Use "there are" or "here are" with plural nouns.

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This week's quiz:
1. I said to my supervisor, "(Here's/Here are) the reports."
2. (There's/There are) several good restaurants in this area.
3. (Here's/Here are) today's newspaper.
4. I suspect that (there's/there are) a security leak.

See answers below.

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Correction:
Tip #500 should have been:
As a general rule, spell out numbers 1 through 10; anything above that should be in numbers. However, when there are two related
numbers in a sentence and one is 1 through 10 and the other is greater than 10, use the numerical form for both.

For example:
There are three apples.
There are 20 oranges.
There are 3 apples on this cart and 20 apples on the other one.

One reader offered a useful commentary on the subject of writing numbers: "Numerals are often considered a distraction to the
reader's eye and mind, so it may be better (and rarely wrong) to spell out any number. The notable exception is in technical
specification documents and other materials that deal withmeasurements and quantities, in which case it's typical to use
only numerals."

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Quote of the week:
The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear. – Maya Angelou, American Poet and Writer

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Vocabulary word of the week:
irascible (adj.): marked by a hot temper. Example: The workers found it challenging to deal with their supervisor's irascible
nature.

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Answers:
1. I said to my supervisor, "Here are the reports."
2. There are several good restaurants in this area.
3. Here's today's newspaper.
4. I suspect that there's a security leak.




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Tip #502: Margins in business documents

According to the Gregg Reference Manual, use a top margin of about two inches for the first page of a business document
if using plain stationery. If you wish to fit more copy on the first page and avoid using a second page, then use the default
margin of one inch. If there's a letterhead on the first page, leave a minimum of one-half inch between the letterhead and
the first item to be typed. If using a second page, use plain paper and leave a one-inch top margin.

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Today's quiz:
1. The color of her dress (compliments/complements) her hair.
2. The argument between the two close friends (piqued/peaked) my curiosity.
3. What I'm planning is (no one's/no ones) business but mine.
4. (Michael/Michael's) and (Chan/Chan's) apartment is alwaysmessy.

See answers below.

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Quote of the week:
There is nothing like a dream to create the future.
– Victor Hugo, French Poet/Dramatist/Novelist

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Vocabulary word of the week:
Congruent (adj.): in agreement or harmony; conforming to the requirements of a situation. Example: Due to the congruent nature
of the two businesses, the merger was fairly seamless.

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Answers:

1. The color of her dress complements her hair.
2. The argument between the two close friends piqued my curiosity.
3. What I'm planning is no one's business but mine.

4. Michael and Chan's apartment is always messy.



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Tip #503: Writing assertively
 

Don't use words that hedge or evade such as "it is my understanding," "possibly," "perhaps," or "could." Customers and prospects become distrustful when they are exposed to a lack of forthrightness. These words may be used, however, in situations when you are making a suggestion to a difficult person or one opposed to your ideas.

In response to last week's tip on margins, a reader commented:

"This is a practice that is and should be changing for the purpose of reducing the use of paper. Almost everything I write or produce in my job is with .5" margins, and it works fine. Thanks for the opportunity to comment."

What do you think?

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See how many words you can match to their meanings:

Alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, epic

1. a long poem that tells the story of an heroic person 2. the repetition of initial consonant sounds

3. a figure of speech giving human traits to ideas or inanimate objects

4. the use of words to imitate sounds

See answers below.

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Quote of the week:

Genius without education is like silver in the mine. Benjamin Franklin

Send us your favorite quote and you may see it posted here.

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Vocabulary word of the week:

Salient(adj.): something that stands out; of notable significance.

Example: Let's discuss the proposal's salient points.

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Answers:

Alliteration: the repetition of initial consonant sounds

Onomatopoeia: the use of words to imitate sounds

Personification: a figure of speech giving human traits to ideas or inanimate objects

Epic: a long poem that tells the story an heroic person




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Tip #504: Writing copy

When writing copy, always focus on the reader. For example, don't write "Our sales seminar will cover three important tools for
contacting customers." Instead, focus on your readers with "In this sales seminar, you'll gain four important techniques that will help you to successfully contact customers."

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Correct the following sentences:

1. Attached is a listing of competencies that display a self-analysis of our staff.

2. Attached is two versions of a template for developing courses.

See answers below.

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Quote of the week:
When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.
---Theodore Roosevelt

Send us your favorite quote and you may see it posted here.

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Vocabulary word of the week:
Eminent (adj.): standing out so as to be readily perceived or noted.
Example: The eminent physicist spoke at the national conference.

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Suggested answers:
1. A listing of competencies that displays a self -analysis of our staff is attached.
2. Two versions of a template for developing courses are attached.



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Tip #504: Avoid sexist language

To avoid sexist language that favors one gender, use words that are gender-neutral. Replace the masculine pronoun "he" with "he or she," "one," or the articles "a" and "the." Use plural pronouns or repeat the person's title, rather than using a masculine pronoun.
Replace words that refer to men (ex: person or individual instead of man; artificial instead of man-made; chair or chairperson instead of chairman; congressional representative instead of congressman).


Make the following sentences gender-neutral:
1. The average employee is concerned about the quality of his work.
2. Anyone who wants to sign up for the seminar should bring his ID.
3. See your floor supervisor, and he will explain the new procedure.
4. The chairman started the meeting at 9:00 a.m.

See answers below.

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Quote of the week:
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.---John.F. Kennedy

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Vocabulary word of the week:
Paradigm (noun)[PA-ra-dime]: A set of assumptions, concepts, values shared by a community; a philosophical framework.
Example: The paradigm long accepted within our industry is currently shifting.

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Answers:
1. Average employees are concerned about the quality of their work. [use plural]
2. If you are interested in signing up for the seminar, please bring your ID. [address reader directly]
3. See your floor supervisor, and the supervisor will explain the procedure. [repeat title]
4. The chairperson started the meeting at 9:00 a.m. [use alternative word]




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Tip # 505: The writing process

Whether you are preparing for a conference presentation or drafting a brief memo, writing is a process. This means that no document can be written in one swoop; it always requires several levels of revisions and edits. The following sources should be utilized throughout the writing process:

1) COMPUTER - Always use your computer editing tools first, such as spell check, grammar, punctuation, and style checks.
2) YOURSELF - Reread your writing several times to make sure that sentences are structured properly and convey your ideas in the way that you wish.
3) OTHERS – Ask your coworkers, friends, or family members for feedback on your writing.
4) PROFESSIONALS – Consult professional editors when writing long documents.

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Edit the following sentences:
1. The purpose of my business traveling is evaluating productivity of our satellite offices.
2. New initiatives are being considered for implementing.
3. To customer services should be directed all quality concerns.
4. Because the new supervision is now in place to provide guidance on how the office is run, the employees are also finding themselves facing new protocols for daily activities. (Simplify)

See answers below.

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Quote of the week:
Nine tenths of education is encouragement.
Anatole France, 1844-1924, French Author

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Vocabulary word of the week:
Sporadic (spuh-RA-dik) - Irregular, inconsistent.
The fund has experienced sporadic growth over the course of this year.

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Suggested answers:
1. The purpose of my business trip is to evaluate the productivity of our satellite offices.
2. New initiatives are being considered for implementation.
3. All quality concerns should be directed to customer service.
4. Because of new supervision, employees are now facing new protocols.





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Tip # 506: Communicating by e-mail

E-mail has become an official form of business communication. Instead of "paper trails," offices now create "e-mail trails." Electronic communication should be given all the formality afforded to paper communication. Follow the rules below when writing e-mails:

1. Capitalize words whenever appropriate.
2. Use proper punctuation.
3. Never include abbreviations used in the Internet chatrooms
(ex: "lol" or "btw").
4. Include the original e-mail when sending a reply.
5. "Carbon copy" your e-mails to the individuals mentioned within them.

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Correct the following e-mail:

lisa,

it was great talking to u yesterday. . . hope we can set up a meeting soon. . . btw, the product u are looking for is in development.

minny

(See the suggested answer below.)

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Quote of the week:

Life's real failure is when you do not realize how close to success you were when you gave up.---Brian Tracy

Send us your favorite quote and you may see it posted here.

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Vocabulary word of the week:
Comprise [kam-PRIZE] – to include, contain, or consist of.
The parent corporation comprises three sub-divisions.

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Lisa,

It was great talking to you yesterday. I hope that we can set up a meeting soon. By the way, the product you are looking for is
currently in development.

Regards,
Minny Benson
Product manager
ABC Corporation
(961)333-2211




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Tip #507: Disperse vs. disburse

Two words that are commonly confused are "disperse" and "disburse." Disperse means to scatter, disseminate, or distribute. Ex: The crowd dispersed after the meeting. Disburse means to pay out. Ex: Our weekly expenses were disbursed.

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Select the correct word.

1. The meeting ____________________ at 3:00 p.m. (disbursed/dispersed)
2. Your check will be _____________________ tomorrow. (disbursed/dispersed)
3. The interest is typically ________________ on the last day of the month. (disbursed/dispersed)
4. The memo was ______________________ throughout the building. (disbursed/dispersed)

(See the answers below.)

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Quote of the week:

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others.
——Robert Louis Stevenson

Send us your favorite quote and you may see it posted here.

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Vocabulary word of the week:

Benevolence[be-NE-va-lens]: doing good or wishing to do good
Ex: Mr. Smith's benevolence made it possible for three inner-city
teens to attend college.

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Answers:
1. The meeting dispersed at 3:00 p.m.
2. Your check will be disbursed tomorrow.
3. The interest is typically disbursed on the last day of the month.
4. The memo was dispersed throughout the building




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Tip #508: Salutation in a letter

When addressing a letter to
• one person, write "Mr./Ms./Mrs. Smith:"
• several people, write "Mr. Wall, Ms. Craig, and Ms. Bell:"
• a person whose name you do not know, write "Dear Sir or Madam:"
• an organization composed of men and women, write "Ladies and Gentlemen:"
 

Exercise:
Write a salutation to:
1. a husband and wife, Ben and Barbara Tereno.
2. an organization that is composed of men only.
3. the president of an organization, Bill Clayton, and the vice-president, Sarah Craft.

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Quote of the week:

Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It's our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit. — Mary Lou Retton

Send us your favorite quote and you may see it posted here.

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Vocabulary word of the week:
Impervious (im'-pur-vee-ous): not capable of being damaged or harmed. Ex: Pressure-treated wood is ideal for outdoor furniture because it's impervious to water.

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Suggested answers:
1. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tereno:
2. Gentlemen:
3. Dear Mr. Clayton and Ms. Craft:
 




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Tip #509: Plurals of foreign words

Many nouns of foreign origin retain their foreign plurals.

Singular Plural

  • Emphasis Emphases
  • Parenthesis Parentheses
  • Basis Bases
  • Analysis Analyses
  • Criterion Criteria
  • Phenomenon Phenomena
  • Datum Data
  • Addendum Addenda
  • Medium Media
  • Stimulus Stimuli
  • Syllabus Syllabi

 

1. The (datum/data) collected in the study suggests an increase in employee satisfaction.

2. The (addendum/addenda) to this report demonstrates production numbers for April 2008.

3. Last quarter's statistics were reported by the (medium/media).

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Quote of the week:

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. - Robert Louis Stevenson

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Vocabulary word of the week:

Tabulate [Ta'-byou-leit] – arrange in tables. Ex: All of the statistical data will be tabulated for your review.

******************************************************************* Answers:

1. The data collected in the study suggests an increase in employee satisfaction.

2. The addendum to this report demonstrates production numbers for April 2008.

3. Last quarter's statistics were reported by the media.





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Tip #510: Abbreviations of academic degrees

Abbreviations of academic degrees require a period after each abbreviated word. There should be no space after the periods.

B.A. Bachelor of Arts
B.S. Bachelor of Science
M.A. Master of Arts
M.B.A. Master of Business Administration
Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy
Ed.D. Doctor of Education
M.Div. Master of Divinity
M.D. Medical Doctor
D.D.S. Doctor of Dental Surgery
R.N. Registered Nurse

Academic degrees are placed after the person's name and separated from it with a comma.
Ex.: Dean Barbara Glay, Ph.D.
Peter Cory, M.B.A.

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Correct the following:
1. Doctor of Philosophy Lisa Gray, Ph.D.
2. Ken Porter MBA EDD
3. Don Smith, Bachelor of Science

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Quote of the week:

This week's quote is from one of our readers, Paul Martin, of Howard Community College:

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have."
 

– Source unknown

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Vocabulary word of the week:

Retroactive – [re-TRO-ak-tiv] – taking effect on a date before enactment. Ex.: The increase in salary is retroactive from the beginning of the year.

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Answers:
1. Lisa Gray, Ph.D.
2. Ken Porter, M.B.A., Ed.D.
3. Don Smith, B.S.




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