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Writing Tips: 511 - 520

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 #511: Transitional expressions
 

When combining two independent clauses into one sentence, use one of
the transitional expressions listed below and put a semicolon after
the first independent clause.

Accordingly
However
Besides
Moreover
Consequently
Namely
For example
Nevertheless
Furthermore
On the contrary
Otherwise
Therefore

Hence
Then
Thus
So
Yet

Transitional expressions are typically followed by a comma, except for hence, then, thus, so, and yet.

Example: We have received an oral go-ahead; however, we are still waiting for the written confirmation.

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Exercise:
Combine the following independent clauses with the transitional expressions to create sentences.

1. The new printing procedures are now in effect. Orders placed using the old protocol will no longer be accepted. (Therefore)
2. Our department is still experiencing difficulties with the copier. We are unable to staple multi-page documents. (Namely)
3. The document was reviewed by two individuals. It still contains errors. (Yet)

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Quote of the week:

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
--Franz Kafka

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Vocabulary word of the week:

Reticence [RE-ti-sens] (noun) - a trait of being uncommunicative; not offering more than necessary.
Ex: Andrew's reticence makes it difficult for his team members to collaborate with him.

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Answers:
1. The new printing procedures are now in effect; therefore, orders placed using the old protocol will no longer be accepted.
2. Our department is still experiencing difficulties with the copier; namely, we are unable to staple multi-page documents.
3. The document was reviewed by two individuals; yet it still contains errors.




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Tip #512: Abbreviations for foreign expressions

We all use the following abbreviations, but do we know exactly what they stand for?

ad hoc— meaning "for a particular use"
CV— curriculum vitae, meaning "course of one's life," a resume
e.g.— exempli gratia, meaning "for example"
et al.— et alii, meaning "and other people"
etc.— et cetera, meaning "and other things," and "and so forth"
i.e.— id est, meaning "that is"
re— meaning "in the matter of," "concerning"
R.S.V.P.— repondez s'il vous plait, meaning "please reply"

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Exercise:
Fill in the blanks.
1. We created an ___________ committee to work on the Christmas party.
2. Production is entering a new cycle, _________ distribution within five additional districts.
3. In the past year, the company created a number of different
products, ______________ the STN Locator, PRT-12, the zonal strip, _____________.

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Quote of the week:

Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing. – Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish Dramatist/Novelist/Poet

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Vocabulary word of the week:

Unilateral [yu-NI-la-te-ral] (adj.) – a decision or agreement made by one party without the consent of the others.
Ex.: Mr. Price made a unilateral decision to close the office at 3:00 p.m.

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

Answers:

1. We created an ad hoc committee to work on the Christmas party.
2. Production is entering a new cycle, i.e. distribution within five additional districts.
3. In the past year, the company created a number of different products, e.g. the STN Locator, PRT-12, the zonal strip, etc.



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Tip #513: Indefinite pronouns — singular or plural?

Indefinite pronouns refer to nonspecific persons or things. The following indefinite pronouns should be treated as singular, even if
they seem to refer to plural objects: anybody, anything, anyone, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no
one, somebody, someone, something.

For example:
1. Each of my colleagues has an office.
2. Everybody wants to see the new proposal.

The following indefinite pronouns can be plural or singular depending on the noun to which they refer: all, any, none, some.

For example:
1. None of the directors were at the meeting.
2. None of his advice makes sense.


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Exercise:
Select the correct form of the verb to go with the indefinite pronoun:
1. Everybody who signed up for the office party (was/were) there.
2. Anyone who needed additional training (was/were) provided an opportunity to attend classes.
3. All ordered materials (has been/have been) delivered.
4. Some of this report (has/have) to be rewritten.

See our Web site at http://www.basic-learning.com

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Quote of the week:

Out of difficulties grow miracles. – Jean de La Bruyère, 1645-1696,
French Writer

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Vocabulary word of the week:

Infringement (noun) [in-FRINJ-mint] - a violation of an agreement or regulation, an encroachment on a personal right.

Requiring employees to stay in the building during their lunch breaks is an infringement on their rights.

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Answers:
1. Everybody who signed up for the office party was there.
2. Anyone who needed additional training was provided an opportunity to attend classes.
3. All ordered materials have been delivered.
4. Some of this report has to be rewritten.


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Tip #514: Confusing contractions

If a word ends with an apostrophe + s, how can you tell if the 's' indicates a possessive, or if it stands for "is" or "has"?

When ('s) is attached to a third-person noun followed by a verb + ing, it stands for "is". Ex: Manuel's speaking now. (Manuel is speaking now.)

When ('s) is attached to a third-person noun followed by a past participle, it stands for "has". Ex: Christina's learned the new coding. (Christina has learned the new coding.) When ('s) is attached to a third-person noun followed by another noun, it stands for the possessive. Ex: Mr. Hanson's job requires him to work 12-hour shifts. (The job belongs to Mr. Hanson.)

While it is important to understand these contractions, "is" and "has" should be fully spelled out, and not contracted, in professional writing.

Quiz

Is the word with ('s) a possessive, or does 's' stand for "is" or "has"? Cynthia's earned her master's degree. My assistant's phone is out of order. Who's going to be in charge? Visit our website: http://www.basic-learning.com for products that target your professional growth.

Quiz Answers has possessive is

Vocabululary Word of the Week

Benchmark (noun) [BENCH-mark] - a point of reference from which measurement is made; something that serves as a standard from which measurements may be made. Ex: Our company's performance is always measured against the benchmarks set within the industry.

Quote of the Week

It takes a as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1906-2001, American aviator and author




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Tip #515: Subjective vs. Objective Pronouns


Subjective pronouns (I, he, she, they, we) and objective pronouns (me, her, him, them, us) are often mistakenly interchanged.

A subjective pronoun should be used when replacing the subject of the sentence (the doer of the action), like Bob in "Bob gave the book to Jim."

The objective pronoun should be used when replacing the object of the sentence (to whom the action is directed), like Jim in "Bob gave the book to Jim." With pronouns this sentence would read "He gave the book to him."

Here is another way to figure it out - remove one of the nouns/pronouns and say the sentence with one pronoun only. If the sentence sounds wrong, you are using the wrong pronoun.

Angela and me attended the meeting last Thursday.
[Take out 'Angela']. Me attended the meeting last Thursday. [Wrong - should be 'I'].

The director gave this assignment to Bob and I.
[Take out 'Bob']. The director gave this assignment to I. [Wrong - should be 'me'].



Quiz

Correct the following sentences:


Dennis and me share an office.

The task has been assigned to Barbara and I.
Walter and her work well together.




Vocabulary Word of the Week

Egress [E-gress]-noun: an exit
Ex: The egress from the back of the cafeteria leads to the jogging path.


Quote of the Week

Delete your negative thinking, reboot your mind, and program it for success. --- Quote from Breaking Through the Fear Barrier: Overcoming Presentation Anxiety by Marsha Freedman, President of Basic Learning Systems.



Quiz Answers


Dennis and I share an office.
The task has been assigned to Barbara and me.
Walter and she work well together.





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Tip #516: Ensure - insure - assure

Ensure means "to make certain." Ex.: I want to ensure (make certain) that you are ready for tomorrow's presentation.

Insure means "to protect against loss." Ex.: I want to insure this package (protect it against loss) for $1,000.

Assure means "to give someone confidence." Ex.: We would like to assure you (give you confidence) that your satisfaction is our priority.



Quiz

Complete the sentences with ensure, insure, or assure.


Our company always __________valuable items when they are shipped.

The manager ___________ me that the project would be completed on time.
Mindy needs to ______________ that all supplies are put away properly.

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Vocabulary Word of the Week

Embellish (verb) [IM-be-lish]: to make beautiful with ornamentation; to heighten the attractiveness of by adding details.

Ex.: The candidate embellished his account of the incident in order to impress the audience.


Quote of the Week

A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug. ---Patricia Neal, actress


Quiz Answers
insures
assures
ensure

 




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Tip #517: Addressing envelopes


The address section should be single-spaced and left aligned (the left edge of the section forms a straight line). It should begin with the name of the person, his or her position on the next line, followed by the address. If the name is unknown, use the position only.

Leave one space between the state name and the zip code.

Mr. Daniel Vance
President
United Postal Service
123 Renew Parkway
Somerset, NJ 08865

The first letter of every word should be capitalized, except for prepositions, conjunctions, and articles under four letters appearing within the title.

Ex: Assistant to the Director



Quiz

Find the four mistakes in the following:

Ms. Nancy Bellows
High Voltage Energy Company
Training manager
8990 N.W. First Avenue
Plantation, FL 33321



Vocabulary Word of the Week

Surreptitious [sir-ep-TI-shus] (adj.): obtained or done by secret means. The surreptitious disappearance of the memo from the director's desk created chaos for the office workers.


Quote of the Week

Motivation is the fuel necessary to keep the human engine running. --- Zig Ziglar, American author and motivational speaker


Quiz Answers

1. All lines should be left-aligned (not centered).
2. The job title should be moved to the second
line.
3. The word "manager" should be capitalized.
4. There should be only one space between FL
and 33321.





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Tip #518: Confusing pairs

The following pairs of words may be confusing because they either sound alike or look alike:

Access (admittance)
Excess (surplus)

Continual (occurring steadily but with occasional breaks)
Continuous (uninterrupted; unbroken)

Compliment (to praise or a flattering remark)
Complement (something that completes, a complete
number)

Maybe (perhaps)
May be (a verb consisting of two words)

See our website for archived tips 401-present.


Quiz

1. Our purchasing department obtained materials in ________________ (access/excess) of what was needed.

2. All equipment at this plant has been in ___________________ (continual, continuous) use since 1985.

3. Ms. Rosen will send you a full ___________________ (complement, compliment) of brochures about our company.

4. I am sorry to tell you that your shipment _______________ (maybe, may be) delayed.





Vocabulary Word of the Week

Embellish [im-BE-lish] (v.): to make better, more attractive.
Ex.: The report cover was embellished with gold lettering.


Quote of the Week

You manage things; you lead people.
--- Admiral Grace Murray Hopper


Quiz Answers

1. Our purchasing department obtained materials in excess of what was needed.

2. All equipment at this plant has been in continual use since 1985.

3. Ms. Rosen will send you a full complement of brochures about our company.

4. I am sorry to tell you that your shipment may be delayed.





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Tip #519: Run-ons and comma splices

"Run-ons" are sentences that join two complete sentences without any punctuation. Ex: Our company is doing well our profits are on the rise.

"Comma splices" do the same thing, except they use a comma between the complete sentences. Ex: Our company is doing well, our profits are on the rise. Both run-ons and comma splices are errors that should be avoided.

They can be corrected in three ways:

1. Separate sentences with a period. Ex: Our company is doing well. Our profits are on the rise.


2. Separate sentences with a semicolon. Ex: Our company is doing well; our profits are on the rise.

3. Separate sentences with a comma and a conjunction.
Ex: Our company is doing well, and our profits are on the rise.

See our website for archived tips 401-present.


Quiz
Correct the following run-ons and comma splices:

1. The mail is brought in at 10:00 a.m. it is then delivered throughout the office.

2. The new assistant will do the typing you will continue to do the filing.

3. The new procedures are in place they are beneficial.

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Vocabulary Word of the Week
Notorious [no-TAWR-ee-us] (adj.): known widely and usually unfavorably; infamous.

Ex: The notorious head of the sales department resigned on Friday.


Quote of the Week
Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also. Carl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss Psychiatrist


Quiz Answers
Suggested answers:

1. The mail is brought in at 10:00 a.m.; it is then delivered throughout the office.

2. The new assistant will do the typing, and you will continue to do the filing.

3. The new procedures are in place. They are beneficial.



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Tip #520: E-mail subject lines



When writing an e-mail, do not start your message in the subject line and continue the sentence within the body of the e-mail. This is poor e-mail etiquette and is confusing to a typical reader.

Just like you never see the first sentence of a book beginning on its cover and then continuing on its first page, the title (subject) of the e-mail should be separated from the body of the message. The subject should be short, but meaningful. Individuals often search for a specific message by subject, so it should give the reader a clear idea about its topic.

Another mistake to avoid is leaving the subject line blank. E-mails with no subject lines may be perceived as junk mail and deleted.

 

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