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Writing Tips: 571 - 580

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We don't actually have issue 571, so this starts with #572.

 

Tip #572: Markers of concession and counter-argument

Different words and phrases are used in sentences to mark concession (acknowledgement) and counter-argument. The following are markers of concession: it is true; of course; certainly; if; may. The following are markers of counter-argument: however; even so; but; nevertheless; nonetheless; all the same; still.

Markers of concession and counter-argument are often used within the same sentence or in the adjacent sentences. Example: She is beautiful, if not gorgeous. Still, she is not good enough for him.
Quiz
Incorporate appropriate markers to connect the following ideas:
1. The rain spoiled our plans. We can find something else to do.
2. The deadline for the application has passed. You should submit it.
3. She is new. She appears to be very capable.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Circumspect [sir-kum-SPEKT] (adj.): cautious, prudent, careful about the consequences. Ex: Mary has become particularly circumspect about relations with co-workers.

Quotation of the Week

A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed. ---Henrik Gibson

Quiz Answers

Possible answers:
1. It is true that the rain spoiled our plans, but we can find something else to do.
2. Certainly, the deadline for the application has passed. Nonetheless, you should submit it.
3. She may be new; however, she appears to be very capable.



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Tip #573: I or me?

When you are not sure whether to use 'I' or 'me,' simply say the sentence with only one noun/pronoun and see if it makes sense. For example, Julia and me are going for
a walk. "Julia is going for a walk" makes sense; "Me is going for a walk" doesn't make sense. Therefore, it should be "Julia and I are going for a walk."


Another example: Please submit this report to Robert and I. "Submit this report to Robert" makes sense; "Submit this report to I" doesn't make sense. Therefore, it should be "Please submit this report to Robert and me."

"It is I" vs. "It is me"
Strictly speaking, using I is correct. For example, if someone says, "Who took this cookie?" you should reply, "It was I," not "It was me." However, as the language evolves, grammarians agree that the majority of people say "It is me." Therefore, the "It is me" version has become acceptable.
Quiz
1. She and me always take lunch at the same time.
2. She will provide the report to you and he.
3. Sherla and me will meet you at 2:00 p.m.
4. This e-mail was sent to Brandon and I.

Vocabulary Word of the Week

Strenuous [STREN-yoo-us] (adj.): requiring great effort or exertion. Example: The strenuous task of running this department is starting taking a toll on her.

Quotation of the Week

Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve. Nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself. ---T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), poet, playwright, and literary critic

Quiz Answers

1. She and I always take lunch at the same time.
2. She will provide the report to you and him.
3. Sherla and I will meet you at 2:00 p.m.
4. This e-mail was sent to Brandon and me.


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Tip #574: Extra prepositions

Do not use extra prepositions when the meaning of the phrase is clear without them. For example, you can
* meet someone, not meet up with someone
* cut the meat, not cut it up
* respond later, not respond later on
* take something off the desk; not take it off of the desk

Quiz
Eliminate unnecessary prepositions from the following sentences:
1. Where is the director at?
2. Please take the report off of the printer.
3. Where are we sending it to?
4. We need to divide this up into four sections.

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Phishing [FI-shing] (n.): the practice of using fraudulent e-mails to get financial information from computer users. Example: All of the computers at our organization are protected against phishing.

Quotation of the Week
The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. ---Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quiz Answers
1. Where is the director?
2. Please take the report off the printer.
3. Where are we sending it?
4. We need to divide this into four sections.



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Tip #575: Professional communication

Should communication among colleagues always be very formal? Not necessarily. As colleagues develop friendly relationships, their style of communication is likely to relax. However, no matter how informal people become, written communication should remain professional. Remember that written documents create a permanent record, and e-mails can be easily tracked. Do not put on paper any inappropriate jokes or comments.

Quiz

Identify whether the written communication is appropriate or inappropriate:
1. Hey Mary, could you help me with this project when you get a chance?
2. I agree with you, Ben is an idiot.
3. I will not work on this project. They can all shoot themselves in the head.
4. I have some thoughts about the situation as well. I will talk to you about it when we meet.
5. Can our director's skirts get any shorter?
6. Our meetings are too long. Who came up with a brilliant idea to have them?


Vocabulary Word of the Week
Myriad [MIR-ee-uhd] (adj.): innumerable, a large number. Ex: Alex always comes up with a myriad excuses for not finishing the project on time.

Quotation of the Week
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. ---Michael Jordan

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Quiz Answers
1. Appropriate
2. Inappropriate
3. Inappropriate
4. Appropriate
5. Inappropriate
6. Inappropriate


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Tip #576: Negative information

When conveying negative information, soften its effects by emphasizing the positive.
1. Focus on the positive consequence of the person’s action vs. the negative consequence of the person’s inaction. Example: Please pay your account in full to maintain good credit. vs. If you don’t pay in full, your credit with us will be ruined.
2. Open with a positive statement rather than an apology or explanation. Example: Our office is committed to ensuring that all building equipment functions properly. To run regular maintenance, all water will be turned off between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience.
3. Avoid words that convey unpleasant facts. Example: You will enroll in a challenging and exciting program. vs. You will enroll in a difficult program.

Quiz

Rewrite this statement so that it is more likely to elicit a positive response: In response to your question about the cost of the basket-weaving program and the optimal number of lessons required, I regret to inform you that each lesson costs $30 and that an optimal number of lessons needed to learn the skill is ten. Basket weaving is a hard skill to learn, and we expect that each student will require no fewer than ten hours to become truly proficient.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Eclectic [i-KLEK-tik] (adj.): made up of or using elements from a variety of sources. Ex: Mary is eclectic in her approach to management.


Quotation of the Week

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.---Vince Lombardi


Quiz Answers

In response to your question about the cost of the basket-weaving program and the optimal number
of lesson required, I am happy to inform you that each lesson costs only $30 and attending ten lessons
should be optimal. Basket weaving is a challenging but very exciting skill to have, and we believe
that you will be able to become truly proficient after only ten hours of instruction.



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Tip #577: Confusing pairs

Be sure you know the correct meaning of each of the following words:

Award (noun): something awarded, such as a medal
Reward (noun): something given or received in compensation for worthy behavior

Continuous (adj.): uninterrupted in time; incessant
Continual (adj.): recurrent, frequent

Quiz

1. Mark received a(n) ___________ (award, reward) for winning the competition.
2. _________ (Continuous, Continual) professional development is beneficial to all those in business.
3. Belinda did not expect to be offered a(n)___________(award, reward) for returning the wallet.
4. After thirty seconds of ________ (continuous, continual) chopping, you will end up with a finely minced onion.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Aggregate [A-gri-git] (adj.): constituting or amounting to the whole. Ex.: The aggregate sales for August amounted to $250,000.


Quotation of the Week

Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises. ---Demosthenes, Greek orator and politician


Quiz Answers

1. Mark received an award for winning the competition.
2. Continual professional development is beneficial to all those in business.
3. Belinda did not expect to be offered a reward for returning the wallet.
4. After thirty seconds of continuous chopping, you will end up with a finely minced onion.



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Tip #578: Disruptive commas

Disruptive commas are unnecessary punctuation marks that disrupt the flow of the sentence.
Disruptive commas occur in two cases:
1. Separating subject from the verb. For example: The most beautiful office in this building,
belongs to my director. There should be no comma between the first part of the sentence
(subject) and the word 'belongs' (verb).
2. Putting commas before conjunctions that do not connect independent clauses. For example:
He will call me at 2:00 p.m., and stop by if I am available. "He will call me at 2:00 p.m." is an independent sentence; however, "stop by if I am available" is not. There should be no comma
before 'and.'


Quiz

Decide whether a comma is needed in the following examples:
1. The office will close at 5, but we will continue to answer the phones.
2. Those that want to get better seats, should reserve their tickets early.
3. He usually submits his monthly reports by mail, and daily reports via fax.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Contentious [kun-TEN-shus] (adj.): quarrelsome, argumentative, prone to contention. Ex: The new employee tends to be contentious.

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Quotation of the Week

Imagination is more important than knowledge. ---Albert Einstein


Quiz Answers

1. Comma needed ('but' connects two independent clauses).
2. Comma not needed (separates subject from the verb).
3. Comma not needed ('and' does not connect two independent clauses).



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Tip #579: Writing numbers

Follow several rules when it comes to incorporating numbers into text:

1. Spell out numbers under 10.

2. Be consistent. If you spell one number in a sentence, you should spell the other one as well. Example: I have three books in good condition andfive that are used.

3. Typically, spell out numbers that take one or two words and write others in numerical form. Example: I am twenty years old. The table is 18 inches long.

4. Do not start sentences with a numeral. Example: Write "Thirty years ago this company was just starting out," not "30 years ago . . . "

5. When writing two numbers next to each other, spell one word and write  the other one as a numeral. Example: We bought three 10-foot tables.


Quiz

1. 6% of the group failed to respond.
2. The group celebrated the holidays with 5 90-year-olds who were born
on December thirty-first.
3. We had three apples, 6 oranges, and 2 peaches left.
4. He moved to Interstate four forty one.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Amiable [E-mi-ebel] (adj.): agreeable, likable, friendly, sociable. Ex: The new accountant proved to be a very amiable person.


Quotation of the Week

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend. ---Plautus, playwright


Quiz Answers

1. Six percent of the group failed to respond.
2. The group celebrated the holidays with five 90-year-olds
who were born on December 31st.
3. We had three apples, six oranges, and two peaches left.
4. He moved to Interstate 441.


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Tip 580: Question marks within sentences

1. When several short, related questions are placed at the end of a sentence, they can be separated by a comma or by questions marks (for added emphasis). The individual questions should not be capitalized

Example: As we begin the new project, who will research the needed data? prepare the proposal? set up the necessary meetings? obtain county permissions?

2. A direct question placed at the end of a sentence should be capitalized. A comma should come before it and a question mark should come after it.

Example: The question to which we all want to have an answer is, Are we going to have a raise? Indirect questions, however, do not require special punctuation and capitalization.

Example: The question to which we all want to have an
answer is whether or not we are going to have a raise.

3. When a direct question is placed at the beginning of the sentence, it can be followed by a comma or by a question mark (for added emphasis).

Example: What are the alternatives? is my next question.



Quiz

Correct punctuation and capitalization where necessary.
1. To be or not to be - is the question.
2. While processing this loan, have you considered the risk
factors; spoken with Ms. Brett’s business partners; researched her past history.
3. What I would like to know is where is the shipment.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Anthology [en-THA-la-gi] (n.): a collection of literary pieces; a collection of ideas. Ex: Walther’s anthology is scheduled for publication in January.


Quotation of the Week

Wisdom is knowing when you can't be wise. ---Paul Engle


Quiz Answers

1. To be or not to be? is the question.
2. While processing this loan, have you considered the risk factors? spoken with Ms. Brett’s business partners? researched her past history?
3. What I would like to know is, Where is the shipment?



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