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Writing Tips: 591 - 600

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Tip #591: Colon before a list

When using a colon before a list, the colon has to be preceded by a complete sentence. Test it by replacing the colon with a period. If the sentence is incomplete, the colon is inappropriate.


Incorrect: The guests will be:
Correct: The following will be the guests at the reception:

Incorrect: The reasons:
Correct: The reasons are listed below:

Quiz

Which of the following use the colon correctly?
1. The books are:
2. The procedure for file storage is as follows:
3. Please bring the following items to the meeting:
4. What John stated:

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Superfluous [soo-PUR-flu-us] (adj.): exceeding what is
sufficient or required, not necessary. Example: The elaborate
design on the cover of the report seems to be superfluous.

Quotation of the Week
With communication comes cooperation. Cooperation leads to the implementation of a vision. ---Subscriber Salina Allen-Sharpp

Quiz Answers

2. The procedure for file storage is as follows:
3. Please bring the following items to the meeting:



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Tip #592: Troublesome pairs

Incredible: unbelievable, astonishing. Mary has exhibited
incredible organizational abilities.
Incredulous: skeptical, disbelieving. Her incredulous look told me she did not believe a word I said.

Reluctant: unwilling, resistant. Mr. Smith is reluctant to invest in our company.
Reticent: restrained, inclined to keep one's thoughts and
affairs to oneself. This office has attracted a lot of reticent individuals.

Anyway: in any case, at any rate, nevertheless. Anyway, let me know how you would like to proceed.
Any way: in any manner. Please proceed in any way you deem appropriate.


Quiz

1. Why is she so (reticent/reluctant) _________________ to assist you with the project?
2. It is (incredible/incredulous) _______________ that you have been able to complete this on time.
3. (Any way/Anyway) ______________ you look at it, the task is difficult.
4. It will be hard to develop a relationship with the new employee if she continues to be so (reticent/reluctant)______________.
5. My co-workers seem to be (incredible/incredulous) ______________ of my professional background.
6. Whether you like it or not, I'm starting this project (any way/anyway).

Vocabulary Word of the Week
Pariah [pa-RAYA] (n.): social outcast. Example: After the discovery of her fraudulent activities, the vice president became a pariah of the company.

Quotation of the Week

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves. ---Thomas Edison

Quiz Answers

1. Why is she so reluctant to assist you with the project?
2. It is incredible that you have been able to complete this on time.
3. Any way you look at it, the task is difficult.
4. It will be hard to develop a relationship with the new employee if she continues to be so reticent.
5. My co-workers seem to be incredulous of my professional background.
6. Whether you like it or not, I'm starting this project anyway.



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Tip #593: Concluding sales letters

When writing a sales letter, conclude it with four points that motivate the reader to take the desired action.
1. Clearly identify what you want the reader to do ("apply for a credit card").
2. Make it easy for the person to take the action ("the application is enclosed").
3. Provide the reader with a clear time frame, if appropriate ("please respond by . . . ").
4. List the benefits the reader will receive from taking the action ("start enjoying financial freedom today").


Quiz


Read the following closing for a letter and identify which of the four elements are included in it.

Please fill out and mail the enclosed postcard. Once we receive the information, our sales representative will contact you and explain how our product can improve the way you enjoy your television.


Vocabulary Word of the Week
Subterraneous [sab-te-RE-nius] (adj.): lying beyond what is revealed or open; hidden. Her subterraneous methods of gathering data are starting to look suspicious.


Quotation of the Week

It is observed that successful people get ahead in the time that other people waste. ---Henry Ford



Quiz Answers

1. Identifies the action the reader needs to take - fill out and mail
the card.
2. Makes it easy to take the action - the card is enclosed.
3. Lists benefits - improvement in television experience.



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Tip #594: Gender-neutral job titles

Our language has traditionally been gender divided when referring to particular jobs, such as mailman, stewardess, waitress.

To make the language more reflective of our current reality, most single-gender words have been changed to be non-gender specific. For example, mailman became mail carrier; stewardess - flight attendant; and waitress - server.

Quiz

Change gender-specific words into gender-neutral words.
1. We discussed the office break-in with a policeman.
2. The new department chairman will begin next week.
3. The firemen were called in to investigate the source of the alarm.


Vocabulary Word of the Week
Hoax [HOks] (n.): an act intended to trick or deceive. The news about the holiday bonus turned out to be a hoax.

Quotation of the Week

You must have long range goals to keep from being frustrated by short-term failures. ---Bob Bales


Quiz Answers

1. We discussed the office break-in with a police officer.
2. The new department chairperson will begin next week.
3. The fire fighters were called in to investigate the source of the alarm.



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Tip #595: Italics and underlining

When an emphasis is placed on words or phrases that should be read as one unit, they can be underlined or italicized.

When using italics in a series, punctuation that is part of the series should be italicized as well. When using an underline in a series, underline only the words or phrases; punctuation within the series should not be underlined. For example: The conference will focus on innovation, collaboration, and effectiveness. The conference will focus on innovation, collaboration,
and effectiveness.

Quiz

Find errors related to underlining and italicizing.
1. Use a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, and nor) to connect independent clauses within a sentence.
2. Our research proposal will include a discussion of all three - current literature, study population, and research methods.
3. Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, and Bourne Ultimatum will all be shown on the same day.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Implicate [IM-pli-kate] (v.): to show to be involved, to imply. For example: The candidate's recent comment about her opponent's spending has implicated her in a financial scandal.


Quotation of the Week

I would rather attempt something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed. ~ Robert Schuller


Quiz Answers

1. Parentheses have to be italicized as well. Do not italicize the second "and." Use a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, and nor) to connect independent clauses within a sentence.
2. Do not underline spaces between words, punctuation in a series, or the word "and." Our research proposal will include a discussion of all three - current literature, study population, and research methods.
3. Correct. All punctuation within a series has to be italicized.



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Tip #596: Letter closing


The closing of a letter should be placed two lines below the last line of the letter. It can start in the middle of the line or at the left margin. Only the first word of the closing should be capitalized. The typical closings are "Sincerely (yours)" and "Cordially (yours)."

After the closing, skip four lines before typing your signature.


Quiz

Select the most appropriate closings:
1. Yours in God's love,
2. Very truly yours,
3. With love and light,
4. Respectfully yours,


Vocabulary Word of the Week


Quandary [KWON-dre] (n.): a state of uncertainty or perplexity, a dilemma. Example: My partner's unethical actions have left me in a quandary.


Quotation of the Week


If you are failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. --Benjamin Franklin

Send us your favorite quotation and it may appear here.


Quiz Answers


2. Very truly yours,
4. Respectfully yours,



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Tip #597: Objective form of pronouns

Use the objective form of personal pronouns (me, us, you, him, her, it, them) in the following three cases:
1. When a pronoun is an object of a verb. Ex: I met them in the lobby.
2. When a pronoun is an object/subject of an infinitive. Ex: I want you to help him.
3. When a pronoun is an object of a preposition. Ex: Between you and me, I am still confused.


Quiz

Correct the pronouns.
1. Mary spoke to he and I.
2. The director asked Larry and I to attend the meeting.
3. Employees divided the responsibilities among they.
4. Please prepare all of the supplies. I will take it with me.


Vocabulary Word of the Week

Ebullient [i-BOO-lient] (adj.) - overflowing with enthusiasm.
Example: The CEO gave an ebullient speech at the company picnic.

Quotation of the Week

"The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein


Quiz Answers

1. Mary spoke to him and me.
2. The director asked Larry and me to attend the meeting.
3. Employees divided the responsibilities among them.
4. Please prepare all of the supplies. I will take them with me.



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