September 24, 2014

September 23, 2014

September 15, 2014

August 22, 2014

August 21, 2014

August 19, 2014

August 13, 2014

August 07, 2014

July 31, 2014

July 28, 2014

Google
Business Writing with Heart - How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time
Assistant Edge
Error Quests
Take your writing from acceptable to excellent.
Business Writing: <body class="layout-three-column"> <div id="container"> <div id="container-inner" class="pkg"> <!-- banner - rev2 --> <div id="banner"> <div id="banner-inner" class="pkg"> <h1 id="banner-header"><a href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com" accesskey="1">Business Writing</a></h1> <h2 id="banner-description"></h2> </div> </div> <div id="pagebody"> <div id="pagebody-inner" class="pkg"> <div id="alpha"> <div id="alpha-inner" class="pkg"> <!-- sidebar1 --> <!-- user photo --> <table border="0" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" id="about"> <tr> <td valign="top" class="photo"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/about.html"><img src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fa91debe970b-pi" alt="Lynn Gaertner-Johnston" border="0" title="Lynn Gaertner-Johnston"/></a></td> <td width="80" valign="top"><ul class="aboutus"> <li><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/">Visit Lynn's Website</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/about.html">About Lynn</a></li> <li><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/contact_us.html">Contact Lynn</a></li> </ul> <strong>Subscribe</strong> <ul class="subscriber"> <li class="email"><a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=2863746&loc=en_US" title="Receive a link to the latest post in your inbox.">Email</a></li> <li class="rss"><a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/businesswritingblog/BwB09" title="Receive the latest post to your favorite newsreader or Outlook.">RSS</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </table> <!-- about page link --> <div id="syntax_training" class="module-typelist module"> <h2 class="module-header">Syntax Training</h2> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Read about upcoming public classes, both online and in person. "href="http://syntaxtraining.com/upcomingclasses.html">Business Writing Classes Coming Up </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Get tips and monthly e-newsletter. "href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/signup.html">Email Tips: 25 Tips for Email Etiquette</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="The main article of the current issue is titled "Take Control of Your Jargon.""href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/signup.html">Free Monthly Ezine on Business Writing</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Visit Lynn's website for more articles on business writing."href="http://syntaxtraining.com/articles.html">Lynn's Articles on Writing </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title=""href="http://syntaxtraining.com/heart.html">"Business Writing With Heart": Lynn's New Book</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Lynn talks about "Business Writing With Heart""href="http://youtu.be/VXsKN3YeKdY">YouTube Book Interview</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title=""href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com">Visit Lynn's Website</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div id="writing_resources" class="module-typelist module"> <h2 class="module-header">Writing Resources</h2> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Fine blog on writing, marketing, and business"href="http://badlanguage.net">Bad Language</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Lynn's picks for best books"href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/recommended_books.html">Business Writing Books</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Tips from Syntax Training"href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/business_writing_tips.html">Business Writing Tips</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Q&A on questions of style and consistency"href="http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/CMS_FAQ/new/new_questions01.html">Chicago Manual of Style</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Useful statistics on Internet use and traffic"href="http://www.clickz.com/stats">ClickZ Stats Toolbox</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Hundreds of errors listed alphabetically"href="http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/index.html">Common Errors in English</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Review 440 lessons in grammar and punctuation in the archives"href="http://www.dailygrammar.com">Daily Grammar</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Photos to inspire and stretch"href="http://dailywalks.com/">Daily Walks | Diane Varner</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Thought-provoking pieces on marketing "href="http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/weblog.php">Duct Tape Marketing Blog</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="With 150 excellent interactive quizzes"href="http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/">Guide to Grammar and Writing</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Over 1000 interactive quizzes at varying levels of difficulty"href="http://a4esl.org">Interactive ESL Quizzes</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Games and exercises for everyone, including native English speakers"href="http://www.manythings.org">Interesting Things for ESL/EFL Students</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Resources for lawyers who write"href="http://raymondpward.typepad.com/newlegalwriter/">Legal Writer</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="In celebration of punctuation"href="http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com">National Punctuation Day</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Get results from as many as 18 dictionaries"href="http://www.onelook.com">OneLook Dictionary Search</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Join the fight for clear writing"href="http://www.plainenglish.co.uk">Plain English Campaign</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Proofreading symbols listed and illustrated"href="http://www.journalismcareers.com/articles/proofreadingsymbols.shtml">Proofreading Symbols</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Explore the site for MLA & APA Style guidance, rules, exercises, and presentations "href="http://owl.english.purdue.edu/">Purdue's Writing Lab</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Test your spelling at five levels of difficulty"href="http://eslus.com/LESSONS/SPELL/SPELL.HTM">Spelling Tests</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Words spelled differently in British, Canadian, and American English"href="http://www3.telus.net/linguisticsissues/BritishCanadianAmerican.htm">Spelling: British, Canadian, American</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Syntax Training (Lynn's company) website"href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com">Syntax Training</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="A test on which Lynn got 3 wrong! "href="http://books.guardian.co.uk/quiz/questions/0,5957,1303707,00.html">Tough Spelling Test</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Take a free typing test. Available in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and Finnish. "href="http://www.typingtest.com">TypingTest.com </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Words with different meanings in British, Canadian, and American English"href="http://www3.telus.net/linguisticsissues/britishcanadianamericanvocab.html">Vocabulary: British, Canadian, American</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="A list that allows you to search by misspellings--not correct spellings"href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_common_misspellings">Wikipedia: List of Common Misspellings </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="New words defined, a great resource"href="http://www.wordspy.com">Word Spy</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="A search engine to hundreds of online dictionaries, and much more"href="http://www.yourdictionary.com">YourDictionary.com</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="beta"> <div id="beta-inner" class="pkg"> <div id="sharethis" style="text-align:right;"> <span class='st_twitter' displayText='Tweet'></span> <span class='st_facebook' displayText='Facebook'></span> <span class='st_linkedin' displayText='LinkedIn'></span> <span class='st_pinterest' displayText='Pinterest'></span> <span class='st_sharethis' displayText='ShareThis'></span> <span class='st_email' displayText='Email'></span> </div> <script type="text/javascript"> window.ZemantaBlogSettings = ""; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://content.zemanta.com/static/typepad/js/recommend.js"></script> <!-- entries --> <h2 class="date-header">September 24, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-punctuation_pointers entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01b8d070e3c6970c"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/national-punctuation-day-test-.html">National Punctuation Day Test </a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Do you think you are a punctuation pro? Take this 10-item test, which contains the most common punctuation errors I see in business writing classes. </p> <p>Each item is either correct or has one punctuation error. Find and correct the errors. </p> <ol> <li>Thank you Lynn, for taking the time to review my report. </li> <li>I spoke to Jonathan, however, I did not see him. </li> <li>The kitchen renovation is scheduled for January and the bathroom project will take place in March. </li> <li>Jim is the project manager for the new six story condominium project. </li> <li>Mark wants you to send those memo's to ABC Company this week. </li> <li>Rainfall has increased substantially over the past 10 years (see Table 7.)</li> <li>The plan includes: goals, timelines, a budget, and specific roles and responsibilities. </li> <li>The project in Beaverton, Oregon is going beautifully. </li> <li>This hotel is known for it's huge buffet breakfasts. </li> <li>Give me a weeks notice if you want me to fill in for you. </li> </ol> <p> </p> <p>Did you recognize the errors? Each sentence has one. My grammar and spelling checker caught six of them. </p> <p>Below are the corrected sentences.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <ol> <li>Thank you<strong>,</strong> Lynn, for taking the time to review my report. </li> <li>I spoke to Jonathan<strong>;</strong> however, I did not see him. </li> <li>The kitchen renovation is scheduled for January<strong>,</strong> and the bathroom project will take place in March. </li> <li>Jim is the project manager for the new six<strong>-</strong>story condominium project. </li> <li>Mark wants you to send those memos to ABC Company this week. </li> <li>Rainfall has increased substantially over the past 10 years (see Table 7)<strong>.</strong></li> <li>The plan includes goals, timelines, a budget, and specific roles and responsibilities. </li> <li>The project in Beaverton, Oregon<strong>,</strong> is going beautifully. </li> <li>This hotel is known for its huge buffet breakfasts. </li> <li>Give me a week's notice if you want me to fill in for you.</li> </ol> <p>Which punctuation errors do you see most often in people's writing? </p> <p>Happy National Punctuation Day!</p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf; background-color: #ffffff;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a href="http:syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training </a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">September 24, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/punctuation_pointers/">Punctuation Pointers</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/national-punctuation-day-test-.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/national-punctuation-day-test-.html#comments">Comments (5)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/national-punctuation-day-test-.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">September 23, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-best_picks_ entry-category-books entry-category-gems_of_language entry-category-teaching_business_writing entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01b7c6e63de5970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/book-review-fresh-thoughts-on-clich%C3%A9s.html">Book Review: Fresh Thoughts on Clichés</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Before you discount all clich<strong>é</strong>s as weak, lazy writing, consider a few ideas from Orin Hargraves' new book, <em>It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Clichés </em>(Oxford University Press, 229 pages, $24.95 in hardcover). I recommend the book for writers, editors, and others who care about words. </p> <p>To get us on the same page (a cliché!), here are two definitions of <em>cliché </em>that Hargraves quotes:</p> <ol> <li>"a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought" </li> <li>"a trite phrase or expression"</li> </ol> <p>But beyond those definitions, Hargraves, a linguist and author of language reference books, suggests that to be a <em>bad</em> cliché, an expression must be both overused <em>and</em> ineffective. Some expressions are used often by everyone--and thus overused--yet they remain effective. Other clich<strong>é</strong>s, although ineffective in a report or a formal communication, may work well in speeches and informal writing to create a bond or set the right tone with the audience.  </p> <p>For instance, Hargraves defends the expressions below--and many more--as effective clichés. I've included brief versions of his views. </p> <ul> <li>"Shed light on" -- three one-syllable words that concisely communicate "make known certain facts about." </li> <li>"Breath of fresh air" -- a clear idea communicated in a few crisp words, but adjectives such as <em>welcome </em>and <em>much needed </em>weaken it, says Hargraves.</li> <li>"Needle in a haystack" -- an apt description of something that is very hard to find. </li> <li>"In a nutshell" -- "an agreeable and popular way of packaging a summary," as long as what follows is short.</li> <li>"Deliver the goods" -- a concise way of saying "provide what is promised or expected." </li> <li>"Face the music"-- three short words that crisply say "take responsibility for." </li> <li>"Grind to a halt"-- a useful expression when applied to a huge enterprise that stops working. </li> <li>"Damn someone with faint praise"-- a powerful expression when used correctly. </li> </ul> <p>He also likes these concise, energetic clichés when used properly:</p> <ul> <li>blow someone's cover</li> <li>drive home a point</li> <li>tie the knot</li> <li>rubber stamp</li> <li>take a back seat</li> </ul> <p>I agree with most of Hargraves' decisions about clichés. But he does defend some that frustrate me. His point, though, is that as readers, <em>we </em>decide whether a phrase is trite or just right. Hargraves believes the following clichés are effective when used certain ways, but they leave me guessing what they mean: </p> <ul> <li>dyed-in-the-wool</li> <li>beyond the pale </li> <li>with bated breath</li> <li>toe the line </li> </ul> <p>Like me with those expressions, your international readers may have to guess or work too hard to figure out many clichés. </p> <p>Hargraves lists these everyday expressions, among many others, as clichés we can easily edit: </p> <ul> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">very</span> real</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">absolutely</span> nothing</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">generally</span> tend</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">entirely</span> possible</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">perfectly</span> normal</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">general</span> consensus</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">freely</span> admit</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">distinct</span> advantage</li> <li>close <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">proximity</span></li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">abundantly</span> clear</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">abject</span> failure</li> <li>in <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">actual</span> fact</li> <li>the fact<span style="text-decoration: line-through;"> of the matter</span> is </li> <li>know<span style="text-decoration: line-through;"> for a fact</span></li> <li>know<span style="text-decoration: line-through;"> full well</span></li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">fully</span> intend</li> <li>a <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">world of</span> difference</li> <li>a <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">palpable</span> sense</li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">proven</span> track record</li> <li>in any way,<span style="text-decoration: line-through;"> shape, or form</span></li> <li>as a <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">general</span> rule <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">of thumb</span></li> <li><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">more</span> often <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">than not</span></li> </ul> <p>I liked <em>It's Been Said Before </em>most when I learned something new or got a fresh take on an old phrase. For example, Hargraves discussed "double down," whose constant use by television journalists has been driving me nuts. I hear the expression so often that I did not realize, as Hargraves explained, that "double down" means "engage in risky behavior when there is already danger present." The term apparently comes from the game blackjack. </p> <p>Hargraves attacked many expressions I love to hate, among them:</p> <ul> <li>best-kept secret (Who is keeping the secret? And why are you revealing it?) </li> <li>chicken with its head cut off (Ick!) </li> <li>mists of time (Was it more humid long ago?)</li> <li>sick to death of (Why haven't you died?) </li> <li>defies description (Oh, come on--try!) </li> </ul> <p>The author dealt with "play the race card," a cliché I hate. He believes it is an apt phrase when it means "use the matter of race to gain unfair advantage." Fair enough, but these days it's nearly always thrown out in response to a person who simply mentions the issue of race or racial inequality. </p> <p>Hargraves repeatedly emphasizes that his book is not exhaustive, but I kept hoping he would write about "boots on the ground." Although once fresh and visual (as many clichés originally were), it is used so often that it minimizes the idea of human beings--not just boots--in war zones. </p> <p>When deciding whether to use a cliché<em>, </em>ask yourself Hargraves' questions:</p> <ul> <li>Does it really say what you mean to say?</li> <li>Can you commandeer words from the vast store of English to do the job for you more effectively? </li> </ul> <p>If you are considering <em>It's Been Said Before </em>for your writer's toolbox, do not be put off by Chapter 1 and the Afterthoughts chapter, which are available for preview online. Although interesting and useful, they offer few examples of clichés and are more academic than the rest of the book.</p> <p>Although I have now read virtually all of <em>It's Been Said Before,</em> I will find a spot for it on my bookshelf. It's a practical, smart book that I'll consult again. </p> <p>By the way, which clichés drive you crazy? </p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's website">Syntax Training</a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">September 23, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/best_picks/">Best Picks </a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/books/">Books</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/gems_of_language/">Gems of Language</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/teaching_business_writing/">Teaching Business Writing</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/book-review-fresh-thoughts-on-clich%C3%A9s.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/book-review-fresh-thoughts-on-clich%C3%A9s.html#comments">Comments (12)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/book-review-fresh-thoughts-on-clich%C3%A9s.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">September 15, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-email entry-category-etiquette entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73e16eb12970d"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/does-this-email-require-a-reply-.html">Does This Email Require a Reply? </a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>A reader asked whether she needed to reply to an email. She had written to her professor, he had responded, and now she wondered whether a response was required or unnecessary. Read her email and the professor's reply. What would you advise? (Note: I have changed all names.) </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Subject: Textbook for Psychology 104</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Hello, Professor Rogers. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I am enrolled in your Psychology 104 class this semester. I see that "Introduction to Psychology" by Marks is the required textbook. I have the third edition instead of the fourth. Would the third edition still be adequate for this class? </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I look forward to the class. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Claire Kwon</p> <p> </p> <p>Professor Rogers replied:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">The 3rd edition is not optimal for following along in class or completing assignments, because the page numbers are different. I list specific page numbers in the syllabus schedule, homework assignments, and lectures to make using the book and learning the material easier.  </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">If you decide to use the 3rd, I ask that you not interrupt the class to ask for help finding pages. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">See you next week. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">John Rogers </p> <p> </p> <p>After reading Professor Rogers' reply, Claire decided to invest in the fourth edition of the textbook, but she did not know whether she needed to respond to the professor. Was "Thank you" the right response or something else? </p> <p>Tomorrow evening I will share my advice for Claire. But feel free to jump in ahead of me! </p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training</a> </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">September 15, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/email/">Email</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/etiquette/">Etiquette</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/does-this-email-require-a-reply-.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/does-this-email-require-a-reply-.html#comments">Comments (17)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/does-this-email-require-a-reply-.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">August 22, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73e06be8f970d"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/offices-closed-until-monday-sept-8.html">Offices Closed for Vacation</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>We are traveling in beautiful Italy: Venice, Varenna, Milan, Cinque Terre, Florence, Assisi, and Rome. Although our offices are closed, you may register for <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/upcomingclasses.html" target="_self" title="Learn about upcoming classes">classes</a> and purchase Syntax Training <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/our_products.html" target="_self" title="Writing resources ">materials</a>. Our virtual assistant will be happy to send out class confirmations and products. </p> <p>Ciao! </p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit our company website">Syntax Training</a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">August 22, 2014 </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/offices-closed-until-monday-sept-8.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/offices-closed-until-monday-sept-8.html#comments">Comments (5)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/offices-closed-until-monday-sept-8.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">August 21, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-grammar_and_usage entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01b7c6d07938970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/do-i-feel-bad-or-badly-.html">Do I Feel Bad or Badly? </a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>The other day a subscriber to my free monthly newsletter, <em><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Subscribe here">Better Writing at Work</a>, </em>wondered whether this month's "Error Quest" paragraph had two errors rather than one. Donna wrote:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Isn't there another error in the paragraph? What about "I feel bad"? Shouldn't it be "badly"? (I feel HOW? badly---an adverb.)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Maybe I am wrong, but that is how I taught it in my English classes.</p> <p>Here is the sentence that made Donna wonder: "I feel bad about how the feedback was handled." </p> <p>Would you use <em>bad</em> or <em>badly</em>? </p> <p>I just checked to be sure the experts still agree with my view. <em>Garner's Modern American Usage, Fowler's Modern English Usage, </em>and <em>The Gregg Reference Manual </em>all agree: I feel bad--not badly.</p> <p>Yes, "I feel bad about how the feedback was handled" is correct.</p> <p><em>Feel</em> in this instance is a linking (state of being) verb rather than an action verb. That is why it does not take the adverb form. <em>Bad</em> is correct with <em>feel</em> just as it is with these linking verbs:</p> <ul> <li>I look bad.</li> <li>I smell bad.</li> <li>I sound bad.</li> <li>I seem bad.</li> </ul> <p>If it helps, think of "I feel bad" the same way you think of the expressions below. We don't use the adverb forms w<em>onderfully, happily, proudly,</em> or <em>sadly</em> in these instances:</p> <ul> <li>I feel wonderful.</li> <li>I feel happy.</li> <li>I feel proud.</li> <li>I feel sad.</li> </ul> <p><em>Badly</em> is correct with action verbs:</p> <ul> <li>I sing badly.</li> <li>I write badly. </li> <li>I play tennis badly. </li> <li>I lie badly. </li> </ul> <p>Of the many reference books in my office, the only one that supports "feel badly" is <em>The American Heritage College Dictionary. </em>It states:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">This usage ["feel badly"] is now widespread and is supported by analogy to the use of other adverbs with <em>feel </em>(as in <em>We feel strongly about this issue</em>). In an earlier survey a majority of the Usage Panel accepted this use of <em>badly </em>in speech, though <em>bad </em>is less likely to occasion objections.</p> <p>I will stick with "feel bad" although I would much rather feel good, great, terrific, and beautiful. Notice that they are all adjective forms. </p> <p>For more on <em>bad/badly, </em>read my 2006 blog post <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2006/02/bad_or_badly.html" target="_self" title="Read the blog post">Bad or Badly?</a></p> <p>I hope you are feeling great!</p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn<br /></span></em><span style="color: #111111;"><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit our company website">Syntax Training </a></span> </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">August 21, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/grammar_and_usage/">Grammar and Usage</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/do-i-feel-bad-or-badly-.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/do-i-feel-bad-or-badly-.html#comments">Comments (6)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/do-i-feel-bad-or-badly-.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">August 19, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-how_to_write_____ entry-category-meeting_notes_and_minutes entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511f98815970c"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/want-better-meetings-create-better-agendas.html">Want Better Meetings? Create Better Agendas!</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Great meetings start with great agendas. These tips will help you write agendas that keep meetings on track. (This month's <em><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/signup.html" target="_self" title="Subscribe to "Better Writing at Work"">Better Writing at Work</a> </em>includes the full article with more examples.)<em><br /></em></p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>Start the agenda with the name of the meeting.</strong> For a regularly scheduled meeting, the name may be as simple as "Quarterly Business Meeting." For an ad hoc meeting (that is, one created for a specific purpose), work the purpose into the meeting name, for example, "Retreat Planning Meeting." </p> <p><strong>2. Include the location, start time, and end time</strong> of the meeting at the top of the agenda. </p> <p><strong>3. Give the name of the meeting leader and his or her contact information, </strong>unless the name and information are obvious. Invitees may have questions or concerns about the meeting.</p> <p><strong>4. Include the list of invitees by name or by category </strong>unless the list is obvious. (For instance, everyone on the team would be invited to the team meeting.) The list of invitees helps people understand the focus of the meeting and the reason they are invited. </p> <p><strong>5. List each agenda item, </strong>using language that describes what you want to happen. For example: </p> <p>--Approval of meeting agenda.</p> <p>--Presentation of security policy updates.</p> <p>--Announcement and Q&A on new sales goals.</p> <p>If the list above were simply "meeting agenda," "security policy updates," and "new sales goals," the respective approval, presentation, and announcement could be derailed by unwanted, lengthy discussion. Only if you want discussion should you include that word. </p> <p><strong>6. State a time allotted for each agenda item</strong> unless you have only one main item such as "Discuss and vote on the draft budget." Without time allotments, one agenda item can dominate a meeting, leaving you with little authority to end the discussion. </p> <p><strong>7. Include the names of individuals who will present or facilitate each agenda item, </strong>and get written agreement or confirmation from them. At too many meetings, someone announces, "I didn't know I was supposed to present this topic," then fumbles ahead. </p> <p><strong>8. Include the expected outcome for each agenda item,</strong> unless it is already included in the name of the item. For example, if the agenda item is "Vote on new officers," the outcome, of course, is the vote. Think of the outcome as the result or goal for the discussion, presentation, etc. Examples: </p> <p>--Item: Discuss and decide on potential panelists. <br />--Outcome: List of 3 to 5 potential panelists to invite.</p> <p>--Item: Discussion of audit milestones and their timing. <br /> --Outcome: Agreement on milestone schedule.</p> <p>Outcomes lead to a feeling of accomplishment: When attendees have reached the outcome, they can happily move on to the next agenda item. And outcomes help keep meetings on track. </p> <p><strong>9. For each agenda item, highlight any preparation that is required or requested.</strong> For example, if an item is "Choose a retreat facilitator," meeting attendees should bring information about any facilitators they want to recommend.</p> <p><strong>10. If attendees must read any reports in advance,</strong> be sure to emphasize and attach or link to the reports. Give at least 48 hours to read them. Do not expect people to read reports just hours--or minutes!--before a meeting.</p> <p><strong>If you are not the meeting leader or planner, insist on an agenda if your role allows you to do so.</strong> Write something like this: "Before I commit to the meeting, may I please see the agenda? I need to determine whether I have something to contribute." Some smart companies have this rule: No agenda, no meeting. </p> <p>If you would like to produce better meeting notes and minutes, take our class <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/PDF/Meeting_Notes_Made_Easy_Sept_12_2014.pdf" title="Learn about the class">Meeting Notes Made Easy</a> on September 12. </p> <p>Do you have tips on creating better meeting agendas? Please share them.</p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit our company website">Syntax Training</a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">August 19, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/how_to_write_____/">How to Write ____</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/meeting-notes-and-minutes/">Meeting Notes and Minutes</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/want-better-meetings-create-better-agendas.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/want-better-meetings-create-better-agendas.html#comments">Comments (0)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/want-better-meetings-create-better-agendas.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">August 13, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-best_picks_ entry-category-email entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01b7c6cb9a96970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/renewal-notices-can-be-friendly.html">Renewal Notices Can Be Friendly</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>The other day we received a renewal notice from our web hosting service, IX Web Hosting. I want to share it with you as an example of a friendly, helpful renewal notice. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Subject: Renewal Notice for Unlimited Pro</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Hey Lynn,</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">How's everything going? Can you believe another 2 years have gone by?</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Well, we wanted to let you know that your hosting account is up for renewal, and we'll be automatically renewing it in 14 days, so you don't even need to worry about it.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">However, you might want to log in to your account (https://my.ixwebhosting.com) and make sure your domains are set up for renewal as well. Since domain registrations are separate from your hosting account, they have to be renewed separately.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Here's your account info:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Product ID: XXX<br />Product Name: Unlimited Pro<br />Renewal: Automatic<br />Expiration Date: Aug-24-2014<br />(today's date is Aug-10-2014)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Billing Term: Biennial<br />Amount: US $XXX.XX</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">And remember, we're open 24/7 so you can always let us know if you have any questions: <br />https://my.ixwebhosting.com/tickets/new</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Good luck with your websites!</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Kind regards,<br />---------------------------------------<br />Your Team at IX Web Hosting<br />https://www.ixwebhosting.com</p> <p> </p> <p>IX Web Hosting succeeds at sending automated messages that come across as personal and helpful. I appreciate the range of information: the renewal date, fee, billing term, reminder to check on domain registrations, the name of our service level, and the reminder about 24/7 help available. </p> <p>Other service providers could learn from IX Web Hosting's approach. I am thinking of companies that process renewals automatically, without letting customers know essential details such as the renewal date and fee. Have you ever noticed a debit from your bank account and not recognized what it was? It's happened to us at Syntax Training--but never with IX Web Hosting. </p> <p>What do you think about this renewal notice? How does it compare with ones you receive?</p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Learn more about our classes and products">Syntax Training</a></p> <p>P.S. I have no financial relationship with IX Web Hosting beyond being a satisfied customer. </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">August 13, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/best_picks/">Best Picks </a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/email/">Email</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/renewal-notices-can-be-friendly.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/renewal-notices-can-be-friendly.html#comments">Comments (6)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/renewal-notices-can-be-friendly.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">August 07, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-grammar_and_usage entry-category-proofreading entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd4252ad970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/test-yourself-if-or-whether-.html">Test Yourself: If or Whether </a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Which word, <em>if </em>or <em>whether, </em>is correct in each of these sentences? </p> <ol> <li>I am not sure <strong>if/whether</strong> I need management approval for this purchase. </li> <li>Let me know i<strong>f/whether</strong> you plan to ride with us, and I will pick you up.  </li> <li>The lunch will take place under the tent <strong>if/whether</strong> it rains. </li> <li>Rochelle asked <strong>if/whether</strong> we will offer this promotion again. </li> <li>You may not be able to print your document <strong>if/whether</strong> you move out of range of our Wi-Fi. </li> </ol> <p>We may not agree on the answers. That might be because we interpret a sentence differently. Or we may follow a looser or stricter style when it comes to <em>if/whether </em>choices. I cover style manual differences below these answers:</p> <ol> <li>Careful writers and editors choose <em>whether </em>in sentences like this one. In the sentence, there are two possibilities: I need management approval or I don't need it. When writing about more than one possibility or alternative, use <em>whether. </em>Hint: If you can add "or not" to the word and it makes sense, you want <em>whether. </em></li> <li>The choice in this sentence depends on meaning. If the writer wants to know either way (you plan to ride with us/you don't plan to ride with us), the clear choice is <em>whether.</em> (Remember the "whether or not" hint.) But if the writer does not want to hear from you unless you plan to ride with us, <em>if </em>is the correct choice. To me, the second part of the sentence suggests that <em>if </em>expresses the writer's intention.<em> </em>After all, I will not pick you up if you don't plan to ride with us. </li> <li>The correct answer is <em>if. </em>If the writer wanted to indicate that the lunch will take place under the tent rain or shine, the phrase "rain or shine" or the clause "whether it rains or not" would be clearer.</li> <li>Careful writers and editors would use <em>whether </em>in this sentence, which communicates about two possibilities (we will/we won't offer the promotion again). </li> <li>The correct word here is <em>if. </em>Using <em>whether </em>would indicate that no matter where you move, you may be out of range of our Wi-Fi. </li> </ol> <p>A few style manuals on my bookshelf offer these opinions:</p> <p><em>The Canadian Press Stylebook </em>says <em>if </em>and <em>whether </em>"are interchangeable when they make sense and are not ambiguous." In other words, <em>The Canadian Press Stylebook </em>supports using either word in sentences 1 and 4. </p> <p><em>Garner's Modern American Usage </em>distinguishes between the two words, always using <em>whether </em>for alternatives. <em>Garner </em>would use <em>whether </em>in 1 and 4 and would choose carefully between <em>if </em>and <em>whether </em>in number 2. </p> <p><em>The Chicago Manual of Style </em>agrees essentially with <em>Garner. </em><em>Chicago </em>adds, "Avoid substituting <em>if</em> for <em>whether</em> unless your tone is intentionally informal or you are quoting someone." <em>Chicago </em>also emphasizes that "determine whether" and "decide whether" are preferable to the colloquial (informal) "determine if" and "decide if," unless you want a colloquial style. </p> <p><em>The Gregg Reference Manual </em>generally<em> </em>agrees with <em>Chicago. </em>Also, it recommends using <em>whether </em>rather than <em>if </em>in these expressions: "see whether," "learn whether," "know whether," and "doubt whether." </p> <p><em>Microsoft Manual of Style </em>uses the traditional approach of <em>Garner </em>and <em>Chicago. Microsoft</em> also advises against using <em>when </em>for <em>if </em>in sentences like this one: "The printer might insert stray characters if [not <em>when</em>] the wrong font is selected." </p> <p><em>The Associated Press Stylebook </em>does not cover the use of <em>if </em>and <em>whether. </em></p> <p>Do you use the careful or the colloquial approach? Occasionally I use the informal <em>if </em>when readers expect me to use <em>whether. </em>I need to consider my audience and make choices that will help them focus on my message, not on my choice between two words. </p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training </a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">August 07, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/grammar_and_usage/">Grammar and Usage</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/proofreading/">Proofreading</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/test-yourself-if-or-whether-.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/test-yourself-if-or-whether-.html#comments">Comments (2)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/test-yourself-if-or-whether-.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">July 31, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-proofreading entry-category-punctuation_pointers entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73df8a141970d"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/test-yourself-using-commas-and-semicolons.html">Test Yourself: Using Commas and Semicolons</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>How confident are you in your use of commas and semicolons? The article below contains 10 intentional errors that involve commas and semicolons. Note: I use the serial comma. If you don't use it, your error count will be different.</p> <p>A corrected version and a list of rules follow the test. No peeking until you are finished! </p> <p><strong>****************************</strong></p> <p>Nurturing Your Professional Network</p> <p>Your network is just like your garden. It must be nurtured, coaxed, and fed to continue to thrive and bear fruit for you. If you’ve been at a loss for ways to nurture your professional network consider these tips.</p> <p><em>Tend your network with many thanks</em>. Write a note of thanks promptly when a professional contact helps you, then follow up when you make progress because of that help. For example if your contact recommends a professional organization, report back on the positive experience you have had after you attend a meeting of the group.</p> <p><em>Keep your network in the know</em>. Whether they live in New York, New York or Walla Walla, Washington, people like to feel in the know. When new things come to light in your job search or profession, share them with your network. My friend Sarah began a job search on September 1, 2012, and ended it three months later; nevertheless, she still networks. She emailed me last week and wrote, “Kate, I made some new decisions recently, and I want to tell you about them.” I was delighted to hear from her and your contacts are likely to feel the same about you.</p> <p><em>Cross-fertilize your network</em>. Share information with your contacts who are in career transition, but don’t forgot those who are not. Recently I read an article I knew would interest a colleague and sent a copy to him with a brief note. I haven’t heard back from him, however, I am certain he was pleased to receive the information.</p> <p><em>If you are in a job search be patient</em>. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said: “No great thing is created suddenly any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you desire a fig, let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” Plant the seeds tend your garden and new growth will gradually take place.</p> <p><strong>****************************</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Corrected version: </strong></p> <p>Nurturing Your Professional Network</p> <p>Your network is just like your garden. It must be nurtured, coaxed, and fed to continue to thrive and bear fruit for you. If you’ve been at a loss for ways to nurture your professional network<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong> </span>consider these tips.</p> <p><em>Tend your network with many thanks</em>. Write a note of thanks promptly when a professional contact helps you<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>;</strong></span> then follow up when you make progress because of that help. For example<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> if your contact recommends a professional organization, report back on the positive experience you have had after you attend a meeting of the group.</p> <p><em>Keep your network in the know</em>. Whether they live in New York, New York<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> or Walla Walla, Washington, people like to feel in the know. When new things come to light in your job search or profession, share them with your network. My friend Sarah began a job search on September 1, 2012, and ended it three months later; nevertheless, she still networks. She emailed me last week and wrote, “Kate, I made some new decisions recently, and I want to tell you about them.” I was delighted to hear from her<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> and your contacts are likely to feel the same about you.</p> <p><em>Cross-fertilize your network</em>. Share information with your contacts who are in career transition, but don’t forgot those who are not. Recently I read an article I knew would interest a colleague and sent a copy to him with a brief note. I haven’t heard back from him<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>;</strong></span> however, I am certain he was pleased to receive the information.</p> <p><em>If you are in a job search<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> be patient</em>. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said<span style="background-color: #ffffff;"><strong>:</strong> </span>“No great thing is created suddenly<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you desire a fig, let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” Plant the seeds<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> tend your garden<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> and new growth will gradually take place.</p> <p><strong>Rules: </strong></p> <ol> <li>Use a comma after an introductory clause: "If you’ve been at a loss for ways to nurture your professional network<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> consider these tips."</li> <li>Use a comma to separate two sentences connected with the word <em>then</em>: "Write a note of thanks promptly when a professional contact helps you<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>;</strong> </span>then follow up when you make progress because of that help." (You might instead break the compound sentence into two sentences.) </li> <li>Use a comma after an introductory word or phrase such as <em>however, furthermore, on the other hand,</em> and <em>for instance </em>that guides the reader: "For example<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> if your contact recommends a professional organization, report back on the positive experience you have had after you attend a meeting of the group."</li> <li>Use commas around the state, province, or country when a city precedes it in a sentence: "Whether they live in New York, New York<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> or Walla Walla, Washington<span style="background-color: #ffffff;">,</span> people like to feel in the know."</li> <li>Use a comma to connect two sentences using <em>and, or, but, nor, so, yet, </em>or <em>for </em>(unless the sentences are very short): "I was delighted to hear from her<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong> </span>and your contacts are likely to feel the same about you."</li> <li>Use a semicolon to connect two sentences using <em>however. </em>Insert a comma after <em>however: "</em>I haven’t heard back from him<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>;</strong> </span>however, I am certain he was pleased to receive the information."</li> <li>Again, use a comma after an introductory clause: "<em>If you are in a job search<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> be patient</em>."</li> <li>Use a comma to eliminate confusion that would result without a comma: <br />The Greek philosopher Epictetus said<strong>:</strong> “No great thing is created suddenly<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong></span> any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig."</li> <li>Use commas to separate items in a series: "Plant the seeds<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong> </span>tend your garden<span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>,</strong> </span>and new growth will gradually take place."</li> </ol> <p>Which comma rules challenge you? </p> <p>For more practice finding errors, get my "<a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/errorquests.html" target="_self" title="Learn more about "Error Quests"">Error Quests</a>"<em> </em>as a printed booklet or a desktop tool. It has 50 short proofreading challenges, each with just one error. </p> <p>To learn the tricks of professional proofreaders, take the online class <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/PDF/Proofreading_Like_a_Pro_Oct_29_2014.pdf" target="_self" title="Learn about the class">Proofreading Like a Pro</a>. </p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn </span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training </a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">July 31, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/proofreading/">Proofreading</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/punctuation_pointers/">Punctuation Pointers</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/test-yourself-using-commas-and-semicolons.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/test-yourself-using-commas-and-semicolons.html#comments">Comments (7)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/test-yourself-using-commas-and-semicolons.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">July 28, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-courteous_writing entry-category-email entry-category-etiquette entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511ea7ca9970c"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/dont-blame-your-reader-when-saying-no.html">Don't Blame Your Reader When Saying No</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>In a recent business writing course, someone was writing a message to say no to an employee's unworkable request. In his first draft, he blamed the reader, writing, "Had your request complied with our guidelines, I may have been able to justify an exception." </p> <p>That sentence blames the reader, and reader blame is a no-no in a no message. </p> <p>When you write to tell someone no, your message will already disappoint the individual. Why add to the negative feeling by pinning the blame on the reader? </p> <p>This message saying no to an employee's request for time off shows what NOT to do:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Hi Cheri. <br /> <br />I received your message about taking paid time off on Friday. You know Sarah and Margot are scheduled to take that day off, so I am not sure why you asked. You know the policy is to have at least two people on the floor on Fridays. <br /> <br />Tyler</p> <p>Tyler's message not only says no. It blames Cheri for asking. </p> <p>This improved version communicates the rationale without blame:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Hi Cheri. <br /><br />I received your message about taking paid time off on Friday. Because Sarah and Margot are scheduled to take that day off, I cannot approve your request. We have to have at least two people on the floor on Fridays. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I am sorry it did not work out this time. <br /><br />Tyler</p> <p>If you need to emphasize company or organizational policy in a no message, you can do it without blame:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Hi Michael, </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I'm sorry I can't say yes to your request to use the common room for a garage sale. Our condo association rules state that the common room cannot be used for events that are open to the public. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Of course, you are welcome to use the uncovered parking lot for the sale. You would just need to let me know and to give residents a 48-hour notice of your plan. </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Jeffrey </p> <p>If you would like to learn more about saying no to employees, clients, and other people, get my book <em><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/heart.html" target="_self" title="Learn more about the book and buy it. ">Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time.</a> </em>Its chapter "Say No Clearly and Courageously" shows how to say no in even the stickiest situations. Until August 10, you can use the coupon code "$10" to get $10 off. </p> <p>Do you want to take a class on building better relationships through writing? The online class <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/PDF/Writing_to_Build_Relationships_Aug_13_2014.pdf" target="_self" title="Learn more and register">Writing to Build Relationships</a> takes place on August 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time/10 a.m. Pacific Time. It's just $99 and includes a copy of <em>Business Writing With Heart. </em></p> <p>Have you ever been blamed for making a request? </p> <p>Lynn<br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training</a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">July 28, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/courteous_writing/">Courteous Writing</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/email/">Email</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/etiquette/">Etiquette</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/dont-blame-your-reader-when-saying-no.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/dont-blame-your-reader-when-saying-no.html#comments">Comments (2)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/dont-blame-your-reader-when-saying-no.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <div class="pager-bottom pager-entries pager content-nav"> <div class="pager-inner"> <span class="pager-right"> <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/page/2/"><span class="pager-label">Next</span> <span class="chevron">»</span></a> </span> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="gamma"> <div id="gamma-inner" class="pkg"> <!-- sidebar2 --> <!-- Google Search --> <script type = "text/javascript"> function clickFocus(input){ input.className = 'focus'; if (input.value == input.defaultValue){ input.value = ''; } } function unFocus(input){ input.className = 'entered'; if (input.value == ''){ input.value = input.defaultValue; input.className = 'normal'; } } </script> <form method="get" action="http://www.google.com/search"> <div class="googlebox"> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="UTF-8" /> <input type="hidden" name="oe" value="UTF-8" /> <div align="center"><input type="text" name="q" size="14" maxlength="255" value="Search This Blog" class="searchbox" onfocus="clickFocus(this)" onblur="unFocus(this)" /> <input type="submit" name="btnG" value="Go" style="padding:0; margin:0; text-align:center; width:28px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight:bold; font-size:11px;" /></div> <span style="font-size:0px;"> <input type="hidden" name="domains" value="www.businesswritingblog.com" /> <input type="hidden" name="sitesearch" value="www.businesswritingblog.com" /> </span> <div align="center"> <a href="http://www.google.com/"><img src="http://www.google.com/logos/Logo_40wht.gif" alt="Google" width="128" height="53" border="0" /></a> </div> </div> </form> <!-- end Search --> <!-- photo adspot --> <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/heart.html"><img src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/assets/images/business-writing-with-heart.png" alt="Business Writing with Heart - How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time" width="177" height="292" style="margin-left:8px;" title="Learn about Lynn’s award-winning book"/></a> <!-- End photo adspot --> <!-- rss / bookmarking --> <div class="subscribebox"><h2>Subscribe</h2> <!-- social subscribe --> <div id="followthis" style="text-align:center; padding:10px 0;"> <span class='st_twitterfollow' displayText='Twitter Follow' st_username='SyntaxLynn'></span> <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsyntaxtraining&width=180&height=270&colorscheme=light&show_faces=true&header=true&stream=false&show_border=false&appId=649758471713658" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:none; overflow:hidden; width:180px; height:270px;" allowTransparency="true"></iframe> </div> <!-- end social --> <div class="module-syndicate module" style="padding:0px; margin:0px;"> <div class="module-content" style="padding:4px 0px 0px 0px; margin:0px; border-bottom:0px #C4D4E5 solid;"> <strong style="font-size:13px;">By Email</strong><br /> <a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=2863746&loc=en_US" target="_blank"><span style="font-size:12px; line-height:14px;">Have the latest posts delivered to your inbox!</span></a> <p> <strong style="font-size:13px;">By RSS Feed</strong><br /> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/businesswritingblog/BwB09" title="Works with all email clients such as Outlook, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail. Also works with Internet Explorer Feeds."><span style="font-size:12px; line-height:14px;">Add this feed to your browser, email client or news reader</span></a></p> </div> </div> <!-- photo adspot --> <div class="ctr"> <a href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/our_products_helpemployees.html" class="helpemployees" title="Don't rewrite employee documents. Help them write better."></a></div> <!-- End photo adspot --> <!-- AddThis Feed Button END --> <!-- AddThis Bookmark Button END --> </div> <!-- start badge --> <div class="ctr2"> <a href="http://www.assistantedge.com/&source=business-writing"><img src="http://www.assistantedge.com/images/assistantedge/badge-small.jpg" alt="Assistant Edge" title="Assistant Edge" border="0" /></a> <!-- end badge --> </div> <!-- Text adspot --> <div class="ctr"><a href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/errorquests.html"><img src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef019b031d972e970c-pi" alt="Error Quests" width="146" height="218" style="border:1px #333 solid;" title="Test your proofreading skills"/></a></div> <!-- End Text adspot --> <!-- start keyword update script --> <script type='text/javascript'> function loadScript(url){ var e = document.createElement("script") e.src = url e.type="text/javascript" document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(e) } loadScript("http://www.assistantedge.com/bi/&keyword-LI=v&blog-group=assistant-edge&keyword-selected-blog-id=1570&overwrite-keywords=true&widget-form-javascript=true&kc222=0&kc225=0&kc226=0&kc227=0&kc228=0&kc229=0&ref=" + document.referrer); </script> <!-- end keyword update script --> <!-- end Browse My Stuff links --> <!-- Blogbar <script language="JavaScript" src="http://www.blogbar.org/blogbar3_en.php?design=grey&site=businesswritingblog.com/"></script><noscript ><a href="http://www.blogbar.org">Blogbar</a></noscript> --> <div class="ctr"> <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/our_products.html#110_Tips" class="rollovertips"></a></div> <div class="module-archives module divpad"> <h2 class="module-header">Recent Posts</h2> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/national-punctuation-day-test-.html">National Punctuation Day Test </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/book-review-fresh-thoughts-on-clich%C3%A9s.html">Book Review: Fresh Thoughts on Clichés</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/does-this-email-require-a-reply-.html">Does This Email Require a Reply? </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/offices-closed-until-monday-sept-8.html">Offices Closed for Vacation</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/do-i-feel-bad-or-badly-.html">Do I Feel Bad or Badly? </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/want-better-meetings-create-better-agendas.html">Want Better Meetings? Create Better Agendas!</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/renewal-notices-can-be-friendly.html">Renewal Notices Can Be Friendly</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/test-yourself-if-or-whether-.html">Test Yourself: If or Whether </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/test-yourself-using-commas-and-semicolons.html">Test Yourself: Using Commas and Semicolons</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/dont-blame-your-reader-when-saying-no.html">Don't Blame Your Reader When Saying No</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="module-categories module divpad"> <h2 class="module-header">Categories</h2> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/best_picks/">Best Picks </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/books/">Books</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/courteous_writing/">Courteous Writing</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/email/">Email</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/etiquette/">Etiquette</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/frequently_asked_questions/">Frequently Asked Questions</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/gems_of_language/">Gems of Language</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/global_communication/">Global Communication</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/grammar_and_usage/">Grammar and Usage</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/how_to_write_____/">How to Write ____</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/meeting-minutes/">Meeting minutes</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/meeting-notes-and-minutes/">Meeting Notes and Minutes</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/positive_language/">Positive Language</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/presentations/">Presentations</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/proofreading/">Proofreading</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/punctuation_pointers/">Punctuation Pointers</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/spellchecking/">Spellchecking</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/talk/">Talk</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/teaching_business_writing/">Teaching Business Writing</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/tips/">Tips</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/tips_on_microsoft_office/">Tips on Microsoft Office</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/writing_condolences/">Writing Condolences</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/writing_tips/">Writing Tips</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <!-- photo adspot --> <div class="ctr"><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/clarity.html"><img src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/clarity_guide.jpg" alt="Take your writing from acceptable to excellent." width="146" height="220" style="border:1px #333 solid;" title="Take your writing from acceptable to excellent."/></a></div> <!-- End photo adspot --> <!-- photo adspot --> <div class="ctr"> <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/our_products.html#60_Quick_Word_Fixes" class="rolloverwordfixes"></a></div> <!-- End photo adspot --> <div class="module-archives module divpad"> <h2 class="module-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/archives.html">Archives</a></h2> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/09/index.html">September 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/08/index.html">August 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/index.html">July 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/index.html">June 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/index.html">May 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/04/index.html">April 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/03/index.html">March 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/02/index.html">February 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/01/index.html">January 2014</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2013/12/index.html">December 2013</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="module-subscribe module divpad"> <div class="module-content"> <a onClick="window.open(this.href, 'blogroll', 'width=550,height=600,scrollbars=yes'); return false;" href="http://www.typepad.com/t/app/lists?__mode=quickpost&is_qp=1&type=1&qp_href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.businesswritingblog.com%2Fbusiness_writing%2F">Add me to your TypePad People list</a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <script type="text/javascript"> <!-- var extra_happy = Math.floor(1000000000 * Math.random()); document.write('<img src="http://www.typepad.com/t/stats?blog_id=174117&user_id=427458&page=' + escape(location.href) + '&referrer=' + escape(document.referrer) + '&i=' + extra_happy + '" width="1" height="1" alt="" style="position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0;" />'); // --> </script> <!-- Begin comScore Tag --> <script> document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https://sb" : "http://b") + ".scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js'%3E%3C/script%3E")); </script> <script> COMSCORE.beacon({ c1: 2, c2: "6035669", c3: "", c4: "http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/", c5: "", c6: "", c15: "" }); </script> <noscript> <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/b?c1=2&c2=6035669&c3=&c4=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.businesswritingblog.com%2Fbusiness_writing%2F&c5=&c6=&c15=&cv=1.3&cj=1" style="display:none" width="0" height="0" alt="" /> </noscript> <!-- End comScore Tag --> <!-- Begin disqus Tag --> <!-- End disqus Tag --> </body> </html> <!-- Start Quantcast tag --> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://edge.quantserve.com/quant.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript">_qoptions = { tags:"typepad.extended" }; _qacct="p-fcYWUmj5YbYKM"; quantserve();</script> <noscript> <a href="http://www.quantcast.com/p-fcYWUmj5YbYKM" target="_blank"><img src="http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-fcYWUmj5YbYKM.gif?tags=typepad.extended" style="display: none" border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="Quantcast"/></a> </noscript> <!-- End Quantcast tag --> </body> </html> <!-- ph=1 -->