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Writing Tips: 701 - 710

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These tips provided by: http://www.basic-learning.com

Books on writing.

Tools to help you include Bull's Eye Business Writing (a self-paced workbook) and How To Improve Your Business Reading Skills (also on CD-ROM)--all from Basic Learning Systems, Inc. 888-204-3600 * See our Web site at http://www.basic-learning.com

 

Tip #701: Like or such as


"Like" and "such as" are two expressions that are often
used interchangeably. Nevertheless, there is a difference in their meanings.

Take, for example, the following statements: Cell phones like the iPhone and Blackberry are commonly used today. Cell phones such as the iPhone and Blackberry are commonly used today.

Which is correct? "Like" refers to cell phones other than the two mentioned, while "such as" refers specifically to the cell phones mentioned. Therefore, "such as" is the correct expression to use.




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Tip #703: Connotations


There are many words in our language that are spelled and pronounced the same, but their connotations are different. The different meanings are only deciphered from the contexts in which the words are used.


"Terrific" is one example. Perhaps someone has done a terrific job in the midst of a terrific storm. A terrific job is a job well done and a terrific storm is a horrific storm. We can see that the word "terrific" can have two almost opposite meanings.

"Anxious" also has two connotations. "She was anxious to perform her job well" can either mean she was eager to perform her job well or it could mean that she is concerned about doing a good job.

So, in our business writing, we need to pay close attention to the meaning we wish to convey contextually. We want to be sure that the reader will not interpret our message differently than we intended it to be.




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Tip #704: Awhile or a while?


Both "awhile" and "a while" refer to a span of time.

Awhile: the one-word form is an adverb and means "for a short span of time." Example: After stopping awhile (think "for a short time") in Ft. Lauderdale, we drove to Miami.

A while: the two-word form is a noun and means "an indefinite period of time." A preposition such as "for," "after," "in," or "within" should be followed by "a while." Example: He has been renting space at the office for a while. The word "short" or "long" may be used between "a" and "while." Example: Surprisingly, he returned to his job a short while after his accident.



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Tip #705: Parallel sentence structure


It is important in the structure of a sentence to have what we call parallelism, which means that the sentences are constructed in parallel or with the same form. If you are using a noun in one part of the sentence, use the same form throughout.

An example of parallel structure is "The new training program is stimulating and challenging." An incorrect use of parallel structure is "The new training program is stimulating and a challenge." You can recognize that in the latter example, "stimulating" is an adjective and "challenge" is a noun; therefore, they are not in parallel structure and form.




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Tip #706: Footnote abbreviations


Depending on your position in the company, you may be asked to read a publication in order to report on and summarize the findings. Sometimes, further research is requested.

Publications usually contain citations and notes using the following accepted abbreviations, which can appear at the bottom of the page. These are called footnotes or end notes.

ibid. refers to the footnote immediately preceding it

loc. cit. refers to a previously cited note (not directly above it as ibid.) but on a different page

op. cit. refers to a previously cited work on the same page




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Tip #707: Writing footnotes


As promised in the tip preceding this one, here is an example how the abbreviation ibid. is used in a footnote at the bottom of the page.

Remember, do not italicize ibid when using it in a footnote. Do not capitalize ibid. except at the start of a citation, as below.

Use a superscript number at the end of a quotation (or other information) in the main text for which a source will be referenced.

At the bottom of the page, the footnotes may appear as follows:


1Gloria Pincu and Marsha Freedman, Bull’s Eye Business Writing Workbook, Plantation, 2011, p. 23.
2Ibid., p. 45. (Note: Here ibid. represents the same source as listed above but refers only to p. 45)
3Ibid. (Here Ibid. represents everything in 2 above.)



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Tip #708: Misplaced Modifiers Can Make Us Laugh


Studying business writing to improve communication skills can often be laborious.
However, there can be the comical side of English. For instance, when we consider sentences using misplaced modifiers erroneously, there is cause for laughter.


First, what is a misplaced modifier? It is a modifying phrase that has not been placed next to the noun to which it is modifying (or describing); or the noun to
which the modifying phrase is referring has been left out.

Here are some examples. Don't laugh too hard.

1. Having been thrown in the air, the dog caught
the stick.

So, the dog was thrown in the air and then caught
the stick?


Correction: The dog caught the stick when it was thrown in the air.

2. Being very tired, the alarm clock didn't awaken Jim.

So, the alarm clock was very tired?


Correction: The alarm clock didn't awaken Jim because he was very tired.



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Tip #709: Principal or principle?


Principle: a noun meaning a rule or code of ethics


Principal: a noun or an adjective
As a noun, it means a person in charge. As an adjective, it means "main" or "the most important."




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Tip #710: Prefixes il/ir/im

A prefix is a letter or group of letters that attach to the beginning of a word to modify or change the meaning of the word. The prefixes above basically mean "not."

They follow some simple spelling rules. If the root word begins with "r," then the prefix is "ir." If the root word begins with "l," then attach "il." If the root word begins with a "p" or an "m," attach the prefix "im."




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