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Writing Tips: 691 - 700

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Tip #691: Negative adverbs/inversion


This week's tip is going to concentrate on the necessity of practicing inversion when we start a sentence with a negative adverb.

Now this may sound like a lot of grammar book garble, but it is really an easy concept. Let us take a look at the illustration below.

You are answering an inquiry about renting your meeting rooms for three days. Your letter may read "We do not often rent our space for more than one day."

For more emphasis, you can write "Rarely do we rent our space for more than one day."

"Rarely" is a negative adverb; a list of negative adverbs will follow. When a negative adverb starts a sentence, it is used for emphasis. An important rule to remember is that when a negative adverb starts a sentence, the verb and the subject are reversed, or inverted, exactly like when writing a question.

Here is an example: Rarely has an office environment made the employees feel so valued. If we were to remove the negative adverb "rarely," we would be left with a question "Has the office environment made the employees feel so valued?" Thus, with a negative adverb, the subject and the verb are inverted, just like when writing a question.

Here is a list of some negative adverbs you will use in your business writing:
Never/never before
No sooner than
Seldom
Barely
Seldom
Barely

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Tip #692: "Well" is like a chameleon; it changes....


Well, it is well-known that you feel well when you feel good.

Well is like a chameleon; it changes in meaning and part of speech depending on how it is used.

In the opening sentence, the first "well" is an introductory word and is always followed by a comma. It can be used when asking a question for which you need to have a moment to think of the answer, such as, "Why did you take 15 minutes more for your lunch period?" Your response might be: "Well, I needed to go to the post office to mail the letters."

Then, there is the word "well-known." This is a hyphenated word and the "well" in this construction acts as a compound adjective.

When the hyphenated words are formed, they designate shortened adjective phrases or clauses. For instance, we could say that a company is known all over the world. Reducing this, the wording becomes "It is a well-known company." Thus, "known all over the world" becomes "well-known."

Compound adjectives are not hyphenated when they come after the word they modify as in: The company is well known in our region.

Sometimes there is a problem choosing whether the proper word should be "well" or "good." When someone asks you, "How do you feel?" You could reply, "I feel well," or you could reply, "I feel good." When you reply with "well," it means your state of health; when you reply with "good," it means your spirit or mental attitude.

Well, I hope this made you feel good about the not so well-known uses of the word "well."



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Tip #693: Proofreading


Disclaimer: The following examples were found on the Internet and are being utilized in this tip solely for the purpose of illustrating the need for careful proofing when writing.

Writing is an integral part of our daily life. Memos are sent, business letters are answered, emails fly back and forth, directives are posted, and contracts are drawn. Social networks have become a large part of many people's lives, so image is often judged on the written word.

The following excerpts, taken out of context while browsing the Internet, show the importance of proofing before publishing. By proofreading, your image will be improved.

Typographical errors

Typographical errors are so easy to make, as illustrated in the following example:

"... listeningWe've added..."


Correction: ...listening. We've added...


Punctuation and connector word

"...definition of wanderer suits me quite well. Not that I like to leave home, but I travel the web, often stopping here or there, becoming fascinated with a tool or application...,"

In this blog, the writer uses the expression "not that I like to leave home" as a side remark and needs to indicate this by placing a comma after "well" and using a lower case "n."

Correction: ...definition of wanderer suits me quite well, not that I like to leave home, but because...


Noun/pronoun agreement

A common error is noun/pronoun agreement, as demonstrated in this question: Why would an educator bring their personal beliefs into the classroom?

An earlier tip mentioned this frequent mistake. "Educator" is a singular noun and "their" is a plural personal pronoun.

Correction: Why would an educator bring his/her personal beliefs into the classroom?



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Tip #694: Did you mean that "literally' or "figuratively?"


Many writers and speakers misuse or interchange the words "literally" and "figuratively" without realizing their "literal" meaning. The word "literally" has its roots in the Latin *"litteralis," which means "concerning letters." The word "literally" is an adjective that means exact, real, and true.

If someone says that he/she is "floating on Cloud Nine," we certainly wouldn't take that literally. No one can actually, truly float on a cloud, except, of course, in fables. "Floating on Cloud Nine," therefore, is said in a figurative sense; an analogous or metaphysical sense.

*"Literature," "literate," and "illiterate" are other words that have their root in the Latin "litteralis."



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Tip #695: Apostrophes


The apostrophe is used to show possession, to mark the omission of letters, and sometimes to indicate the plural of Arabic numbers, letters, and acronyms. Do not confuse the apostrophe used to show the plural with the apostrophe used to show possession.

For example:
The entry required five 7’s in the provided columns. (The apostrophe here is used to indicate the plural, not possession.)

The letter’s purpose was evident in the opening paragraph. (The apostrophe here is used to show
possession, not plurality.)



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Tip #696: Love


Etymology is the study of word origins. Do not get this word confused with entomology, which is the study of insects.

Some say the term love, as used in tennis to mean nothing, was adapted from the French word l'ouef (an egg). As the egg and the zero resemble one another, love became the common term for zero or naught in tennis.

Many idioms and phrases have the word love in them. Here are a few:
For the love of Mike!
Labor of love
Love it!
Puppy love
Love and marriage
Make love
Love-in
Lovebirds



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Tip #697: Knock, knock; who's there?


Remember when we were kids and played this game? These "knock-knock" jokes have not waned with the ages. They are still popular with the kids as well as some adults. We are aware that "knock-knock" is the the sound made when the knuckles of the hand strike something hard, like a door.

Strangely enough, in the workplace, there are a few phrasal verbs that commonly use the word "knock." (We must remember, as was reminded in one of our previous tips, that phrasal verbs are never used in a formal setting.)

In the workplace, the boss may ask if you can knock out the report by Friday. The carpenter may be asked to knock down the shelf and replace it. The designer may pursue a lawsuit because of a knock off some company is producing and selling. The British love to eat their knockers.



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Tip #698: Words of contrast


Often there is a need to compare and contrast situations in the business world. Knowing a variety of contrasting
methods makes your deliverance not only clear, but
interesting as well. To compare something usually means that the likeness is stated, whereas to contrast something states the differences.

Notice that the word "whereas" is used in the previous statement as a word denoting contrast. Of course, the
obvious words of contrast are "in contrast to." A nutritionist would probably suggest that it is very healthy to eat vegetables and fruits in contrast to that of eating french fries and doughnuts.

The following are other words that can be incorporated to denote contrast: the difference between the two is..., while, unlike. must remember, as was reminded in one of our previous tips, that phrasal verbs are never used in a formal setting.)



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Tip #700: Should have, should've, should of



"This should of been done yesterday!"

Can you spot the error in the sentence above that was sent in a memo to a supervisor's staff? "Should of" is really "should have," and only sounds like "should of" when people are speaking. The correct contraction, of course, is "should've."

A contraction is a shortened version of two words. The shortened word has an apostrophe that substitutes for letters which are removed. Contractions like isn't, don't, and hadn't are the most common. The contraction "won't" stands for "will not," and the contraction "I'd" has two meanings depending on the context. Can you decipher the following sentence: I'd have gone if I'd brought my computer on the trip. (See the answer below.)

Contractions are a part of our everyday speech, but sometimes when writing and speaking, errors creep in.


Answer:

I would have gone if I had brought my computer on the trip.



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