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Writing Tips: 531 - 540

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Tip #533: Sometime - sometimes - some time

You should receive your order sometime next week. [Sometime = some unspecified time]

Sometimes doing the same project becomes tiring. [Sometimes = now and then]

It took me some time to understand the requirements of the job. [Some time = a period of time]

I bought this stock some time ago. [Some time = a long time ago]

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Quiz

Insert "sometime," "sometimes," or "some time" in the blank.

1. I have been planning this party for ___________.

2. Our manager's expressions are _______________ difficult to understand.

3. I will call you ___________ tomorrow.

4. I am planning to spend ___________ in training.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week

Condescending (adj.): displaying a patronizingly superior attitude.

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

Quote of the Wee

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

---Norman Vincent Peale, preacher and author of The Power of Positive Thinking

 

Quiz Answers

1. I have been planning this party for some time.

2. Our manager's expressions are sometimes difficult to understand.

3. I will call you sometime tomorrow.

4. I am planning to spend some time in training.



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Tip #534: When to use parentheses

Parenthesis should be used in the following two instances:

1. When enclosing additional or less important information that is used as further explanation or as an added detail.

Ex: The Administrative Assistant (the one that was recently hired) has proposed a new telephone procedure.

2. When enclosing numbers or letters that enumerate items in a list.

Ex: The three items we will discuss in the meeting are (1) purchase orders, (2) planning for the holiday party, and (3) annual employee evaluations.

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Quiz
Insert parentheses where appropriate:

1. The office holiday party will be held in room 415 the one where we had the party last year.

2. The resume for Frank Molliner whom you met last week is attached.

3. Please discuss 1 new emergency procedures, 2 lateness policies, and 3 the new course offerings when you come together for the next staff meeting.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Dissipate (v.) : to disperse, to use up, to vanish.

Ex: The energy of the participants started to dissipate when the meeting entered its third hour.


Quote of the Week
The royal road to a man's heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.

---Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People


Quiz Answers
1. The office holiday party will be held in room 415 (the one where we had the party last year).

2. The resume for Frank Molliner (whom you met last week) is attached.

3. Please discuss (1) new emergency procedures, (2) lateness policies, and (3) the new course offerings when you come together for the next staff meeting.




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Tip #535: Passive or active voice?

Most readers prefer active voice verbs because they are clearer and more direct. They immediately point out the doer of the action. Consider the difference:

[Passive] Complaints have been lodged against the new vice president of finance. [Active] Fifteen employees have filed complaints against the new vice president of finance.

The following are good reasons to use the passive voice instead of the active voice: 1. When the doer of the action is not important. Ex: The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow morning. 2. When you want to maintain a tone of objectivity or wish to draw the focus away from yourself. Ex: It was noted by many that the evening was a success.

1. Andrew submitted the proposal on Monday.

2. Your complaint will be processed.

3. I ran the meeting well.

4. A new paint color needs to be selected for our office.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week Obliterate (v.): to do away with, erase, wipe out.

Ex: The crooks were careful to obliterate any signs of their forced entry. Quote of the Week Good words are worth much, and cost little.

--- George Herbert, early 17th century poet

Quiz Answers

Suggested answers:

1. The proposal was submitted on Monday.

2. A member of our team will process your complaint.

3. The meeting ran well.

4. We need to select a new paint color for our office.



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Tip #536: Quotation marks for emphasis

Quotation marks are used to create special emphasis in the following cases:

1. When using a slang expression or pointing out a deliberate misspelling. Ex.: President Bush addressed the nation about the "nucular" weapons.

2. When using words or phrases that play an abnormal grammatical role in a sentence. Ex.: The new employee showed a "can do" attitude.

3. When using words or phrases introduced by such expressions as marked, labeled, titled, etc. Ex.: The bottle was labeled "poison."

4. When using jargon or technical words or phrases that the reader may not know. Ex: Our power was disrupted by "momentaries."

When simply referring to a particular word, italics are preferred, although quotation marks can be used as well. Ex. The word so-called should be hyphenated. OR The word "so-called" should be hyphenated. (Note: Basic Learning Systems prefers the use of quotation marks—as seen in our tips—as we feel they stand out more for our readers.)

 

Quiz

Use a proper method to place emphasis within the sentences.

1. The article titled Today in Arizona can be found on the first page.

2. Code blue is not something one wants to hear while in the hospital.

3. The word sanctimonious is an adjective.

4. Our team has a play to win agenda.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week Affable (adj.) - Easy and pleasant to speak to; approachable.

Ex.: The new VP is considered by all to be very affable.

 

Quotation of the Week Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory. ---Gen. George S. Patton

 

Quiz Answers

1. The article titled "Today in Arizona" can be found on the first page.

2. "Code blue" is not something one wants to hear while in the hospital.

3. The word sanctimonious is an adjective. OR The word "sanctimonious" is an adjective.

4. Our team has a "play to win" agenda.


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Tip #537: Dependent and independent clauses

A dependent clause does not express a complete thought and can not stand alone. Ex: If I am late.

An independent clause expresses a complete thought and can stand alone. Ex: Start the meeting without me.

A dependent clause usually begins with the word "if," "when," "since," "because," etc. A dependent clause sets the condition, and the independent clause tells you what will happen due that condition.

When beginning a sentence with a dependent clause, place a comma between the dependent and independent clause. Ex: If I am late, start the meeting without me.

If the independent clause comes first, do not separate the clauses with a comma. Ex: Start the meeting without me if I am late.


Quiz

Put comma where it is needed.

1. When the report is completed bring it to my office.
2. Bring the report to my office when it is completed.
3. If you have any questions please contact our department.
4. Please contact our department if you have any questions.
5. Since the meeting has not started yet we can get a cup of coffee.
6. We can get a cup of coffee since the meeting has not started yet.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Banish (v.) : to drive away, to expel, to force to leave.
Ex: The unruly customer was banished from the restaurant.

Quotation of the Week
Remember---no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
---Former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Quiz Answers

1. When the report is completed, bring it to my office.
2. Bring the report to my office when it is completed.
3. If you have any questions, please contact our department.
4. Please contact our department if you have any questions.
5. Since the meeting has not started yet, we can get a cup of coffee.
6. We can get a cup of coffee since the meeting has not started yet.




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Tip #538: Verbs with clauses of necessity or demand

If a sentence contains a demand, request, necessity, urging, or resolution in the main clause, the verb in the dependent clause has to work as follows:

1. For the verb "to be," use the form "be" for all persons.
Necessity: It is necessary that she be present at the meeting.
Demand: I insist that all accounts be available for inspection on Monday morning.
Request: They requested that you be notified of any changes in the policy.
Urging: We urge that he be given a reprimand for his behavior.
Resolution: The group decided that the meeting be postponed until next week.

2. For all other verbs, use present tense without the "s."
Necessity: It is important that he complete the task on time.
Demand: They insist that he remain on the team.
Request: I have asked that she assist us with the transition.
Urging: We suggest that he make two copies of all documents.
Resolution: They have decided that she continue to stay on the case.



Quiz

Fill in the blank with the correct form of the verb.
1. I insist that the team _______ as soon as possible (to meet).
2. They require that the whole amount _______ transferred at the same time (to be).
3. She decided that the document _______sent by FedEx (to be).
4. It is imperative that they ________ before noon (to arrive).

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Vocabulary Word of the Week

Coddle (v.): to treat indulgently, to baby, to pamper, to overprotect.
Ex: The director is coddling the new employee, even though she is making mistakes.


Quotation of the Week
No pessimist ever won a battle. ---Former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower

Send us your favorite quotation and it may appear here.

Quiz Answers

1. I insist that the team meet as soon as possible.
2. They require that the whole amount be transferred at the same time.
3. She decided that the document be sent by FedEx.
4. It is imperative that they arrive before noon.




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Tip #539: Prefix confusion

Words often change their meaning depending on the prefix. Below are some examples of such words:

Unconscious: not conscious (passed out)
Subconscious: not wholly conscious; just underneath the level of consciousness

Proceed: to continue, to go on
Precede: to occur before in time

Quiz

Fill in the blanks with correct words.
1. The presentation will _____ (proceed/precede) the Q & A session.
2. Maria has a __________ (subconscious/unconscious) need to be praised for everything she does.
3. The director asked Lisa to _________ (proceed/precede) with the report.
4. The _________ (unconscious/subconscious) patient could not make decisions on his own behalf.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Stymied (v.) [STI-meed]; obstructed, foiled, hindered.
Ex: The director was stymied by her reluctant team.

Quotation of the Week
No pessimist ever won a battle.
---Former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower

Quiz Answers

1. The presentation will precede the Q & A session.
2. Maria has a subconscious need to be praised for everything she does.
3. The director asked Lisa to proceed with the report.
4. The unconscious patient could not make decisions on his own behalf.



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Tip #540: Similar-Sounding Words

Some similar-sounding words have different meanings depending on whether they are written together or apart.

Anyone = anybody
Any one = any individual person or item in a group

Already = previously
All ready = everyone is prepared

Always = at all times
All ways = all means or methods



Quiz

1. The dinner was _____________ (already, all ready) cooked.
2. (Anyone/Any one) of these copiers seems to fit our needs.
3. Are you (already/all ready) to deliver your presentations?
4. We tried (always/all ways) to get the job done on time.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Umbrage (n.) [UM-brij]: offense, resentment.
Ex.: He took umbrage at the rudeness of the receptionist.
 

Quotation of the Week

Success is similar to the remedy for the common cold. You have to feed the faith and starve the doubt. ---Andre Viera


Quiz Answers
1. The dinner was already cooked.
2. Any one of these copiers seems to fit our needs.
3. Are you all ready to deliver your presentations?
4. We tried all ways to get the job done on time.



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