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Writing Tips: 521 - 530

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Tip #521: Prefixes Bi- and Semi-
 

Bi- means two. When combined with another word, it means, "every two" or "every other." For example, bi-weekly means every two weeks; bi-monthly means every two months. Ex: The employees are paid bi-weekly (every other week).

Semi- means half. When combined with another word, it means "twice." For example, semi-annual means twice a year; semi-monthly means twice a month. Ex: The employees are paid semi-monthly (twice each month).


See our website for archived tips 401-present.


Quiz
Select the correct word to replace the phrase in parentheses.

1. The Board of Directors typically meets (two times a year).
2. The report is sent out (every other month).
3. Our convention is held (once every two years).


Vocabulary Word of the Week
Voracious [vaw-RAY-shuhs] (adj.): having a tremendous appetite for food or a certain activity.

Ex: Mary is a voracious reader of scientific journals.

Quote of the Week
Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. ---Les Brown, motivational speaker and author

Quiz Answers
Suggested answers:


1. The Board of Directors typically meets semi-annually.
2. The report is sent out bi-monthly.
3. Our convention is held biennially.




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Tip #522: Capitalization of directions

Capitalize north, south, east, and west when they designate definite regions or are part of a proper name. Do not capitalize those when they refer to directions or locations.

For example:
One of our factories is located in the south of France.
We are building a new factory in the South.



Quiz
Select the right word for the sentences below:

1. Several of our divisions will soon be relocating to the
(north/North).
2. Take University Drive for a mile and then turn (south/South) on Stirling Road.
3. The conference room can be found in the (Northeast/northeast) wing of the building.
4. Basic Learning Systems is located in (South/south) Florida.



Vocabulary Word of the Week
Contemptuous [kuhn-TEMP-chu-us] (adj.) - expressing a feeling of strong dislike or disrespect.

Ex: The new VP has shown a contemptuous attitude toward our current practices.

Quote of the Week
It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. ---Dumbledore, in the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Quiz Answers
1. Several of our divisions will soon be relocating to the North.
2. Take University Drive for a mile and then turn south on Stirling Road.
3. The conference room can be found in the northeast wing of the building.
4. Basic Learning Systems is located in South Florida.




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Tip #523: Good or well?

The overall rule is that 'good' is an adjective, which describes nouns. For example: She is a good employee.

'Well' is an adverb, which describes verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. For example, The equipment works well.


Review the following to help clarify some of the confusion regarding the use of 'good' and 'well':


1. 'Good' is used with verbs of sensations (touch, look, smell, etc.), because in those cases it describes a noun. For example: The room looks good. The flowers smell good.
2. When responding to how one feels, say "I feel well" if you mean "I am in good health." Say "I feel good" if you mean "I am in good spirits."


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See our website for archived tips 401-present.

Quiz
Select the right word for the sentences below:

1. The new team arrangement is working out really (good/well).
2. She was not feeling (good/well) and decided to go home.
3. It feels (good/well) to have the full support of my superiors.
4. The plaque you received looks (good/well) on the wall.

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Vocabulary Word of the Week
Instigate [IN-sti-geit] (v.): to prompt, incite, or provoke.


Ex: The recently reported financial inconsistencies instigated an investigation by the regional office.

Quote of the Week
The worst case scenario is rarely as bad as you think.
---Cathie Black, CEO of Hearst Publishing and author of Basic Black.

Quiz Answers
1. The new team arrangement is working out really well.
2. She was not feeling well and decided to go home.
3. It feels good to have the full support of my superiors.
4. The plaque you received looks good on the wall.



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Tip #524: Appropriate conflict language

When responding in writing to an inflammatory situation, follow some basic guidelines:

1. Maintain a positive and cordial tone.
2. Avoid all personal attacks, sarcastic observations, and any comments that may be insulting to the addressee.
3. Use neutral vocabulary that would de-escalate, rather than escalate, emotions.
4. Do not exaggerate the issue. Present it in an objective manner.
5. Focus on the issue to be resolved, not on the parties that might be responsible for the situation.
6. Offer possible solutions and make it clear that you are looking for a positive, mutually agreeable resolution.
7. If referring to any individuals, make sure to carbon copy those individuals on the correspondence.



Quiz
Rewrite the following inflammatory remarks in a more neutral manner:

1. Our current situation is a clear result of your incompetence.
2. How do you expect to handle this mess?
3. Your inability to meet any deadline makes me sick.



Vocabulary Word of the Week
Veer (v.): to shift or turn away from a course, direction, or purpose.

Ex: The department chair has veered off the established path to explore new alternatives.
Quote of the Week
If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control: myself.
---Stephen Covey, author, speaker, and management consultant

Quiz Answers
1. We are in a difficult situation. Let's discuss how we can work together to find a solution.
2. I welcome your suggestions for how we can improve the situation.
3. I am concerned about the missed deadlines on a number of projects, and would like to discuss what we can do to ensure that the deadlines are consistently met.




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Tip #525: Fewer or less

The word 'fewer' is used with countable nouns. If you can place a number in front of the noun, you should use 'fewer.' For example: two people - fewer people.

The word 'less' is used with uncountable nouns. These nouns are often abstract, and you would not be able to put a number in front of them. For example: less time, less happiness, less water.

Interesting note: Publix Supermarkets in Florida replaced the express line signs that incorrectly read "ten items or less" with signs that state "ten items or fewer."


Quiz
Use less or fewer in the following sentences:

1. This year, there is _______ snow on the ground than last year.
2. In 2007, we experienced ______ hurricanes than in 2006.
3. This health plan offers ______ options than the other one.
4. Due to the high cost of living, I now have ______ money to spend on luxuries.



Vocabulary Word of the Week
Revile [ri-VILE] v. : to scold or attack someone verbally using abusive language.

Ex: They overheard the manager revile the new worker for making a mistake.

Quote of the Week
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
---Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist, and philosopher (1803-1882)

Quiz Answers
1. This year, there is less snow on the ground than last year.
2. In 2007, we experienced fewer hurricanes than in 2006.
3. This health plan offers fewer options than the other one.
4. Due to the high cost of living, I now have less money to spend on luxuries.




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Tip #527: Confusing homonyms

A lot vs. Allot

A lot is an indication of amount. Example: I have a lot of writing to do.

Allot means to distribute. Example: Grant money will be allotted to each department.

Allowed vs. Aloud

Allowed means permitted. Example: Our office was allowed to leave early.

Aloud means spoken. Example: The report will be read aloud.


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Quiz
Select the correct word.

1. Smoking inside the building is not (aloud/allowed).
2. Reading (aloud/allowed) is a good way to practice enunciation.
3. My new schedule provides me with (allot/a lot) more flexibility.
4. The custodian will (allot/a lot) the necessary supplies to the responsible individuals.

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Vocabulary Word of the Week
Flummox (v.): to confuse, perplex, or bewilder.

Ex: This report will surely flummox all members of the committee.

Quote of the Week
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
--- Marie Curie (1867-1934), Nobel prize winner for the discovery of radium and polonium

Quiz Answers

1. Smoking inside the building is not allowed.
2. Reading aloud is a good way to learn proper enunciation.
3. My new schedule provides me with a lot more flexibility.
4. The custodian will allot the necessary supplies to responsible individuals.





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Tip #528: Use of hyphens

Compound adjectives are hyphenated when they modify a noun and function as unit.

  • A high-pressure environment
  • A money-back guarantee

If more than two words form a unit before a noun, they have to be hyphenated in order to hold together.

  • A one-of-a-kind opportunity
  • An off-the-record comment

Compound number/noun expressions that modify a noun are hyphenated.

  • A first-rate job
  • A four-point program

Quiz

Properly hyphenate the following sentences:

  1. The manager chose a low key sales approach.
  2. The director explained the cause and effect relationship.
  3. Linda was asked to send a follow up letter.
  4. 4. She presented a three part proposal.

Vocabulary Word of the Week Flagrant (adj.): outrageously bad or reprehensible.

Ex: The newest team member demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the team rules.

Quote of the Week What your mind can conceive And you heart will believe You can achieve ---Napoleon Hill, author, Think and Grow Rich

Quiz Answer

  1. The manager chose a low-key sales approach.
  2. The director explained the cause-and-effect relationship.
  3. Linda was asked to send a follow-up letter.
  4. She presented a three-part proposal.




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Tip #529: "Because of " or "due to"

"Due to" modifies nouns and is generally used after some form of the verb "to be."
Example: Jan's success is due to talent and spunk. ("Due to" modifies "success" - a noun.)

"Because of" modifies verbs.
Example: Ted resigned because of poor health. ("Because of" modifies "resigned" - a verb.)


Quiz
Fill in the blank with either "due to" or "because of" in the following sentences:

1. They are being laid off _________ the slow economy.
2. Heather's promotion is _________ her hard work and attention to detail.
3 The flight was cancelled _________ the heavy snowfall.
4. I wore a business suit instead of jeans _________ the new dress code.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Condescending (adj.): displaying a patronizingly superior attitude.

Ex: The president addressed his assistant in a condescending tone.

Quote of the Week
The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.
-Benjamin Disraeli, 1804 - 1881, British Prime Minister

 


Quiz Answers
1. They are being laid off because of the slow economy.
2. Heather's promotion is due to her hard work and attention to detail.
3 The flight was cancelled because of the heavy snowfall.
4. I wore a business suit instead of jeans because of the new dress code.




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Tip #530: Proofreading

 

When proofreading, look for the following types of common mistakes:

1. Slight errors in spelling
Example: Mental detectors are commonly used in schools. (should be 'Metal')

2. A word that is left out
Example: I advise you not go there anymore. ('to' missing after 'not')

3. An incorrectly placed or missing decimal point
Example: Dinner for the new client and me was $7570. (should be $75.70)



Quiz


Correct the following sentences:

1. We want our managers to lie near the office.
2. Her violet actions led to her termination.
3. If reduce the price, I can give you the business.
4. The lithium battery replacement for the phone costs $1575.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Unperturbed (adj.) Free from emotional agitation or nervous tension.

Ex.: The presenter was unperturbed by the noise in the back of the conference room.

Quote of the Week
Don't set your goals too low. If you don't need much, you won't become much.
--Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur and motivational speaker


Quiz Answers

1. We want our managers to live near the office.
2. Her violent actions led to her termination.
3. If you reduce the price, I can give you the business.
4. The lithium battery replacement for the phone costs $15.75.





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