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The fact is that most business people have a handful of common writing challenges that—once fixed—can strengthen their writing skills immensely.
Here are five all-too-common challenge areas and opportunities to spiff up your writing in no time and help yourself stand out among your peers in terms of communicating more effectively every time you open an email or pick up a pen.
Apostrophe Marks The most common error that distinguishes well-trained writers from those who conveniently skipped high school English class can be found with apostrophe marks. Apostrophes are generally used to show possession.
In a similarly tricky construct that confuses many business writers, the apostrophe should be omitted when referring to a decade. Commas Commas are used to separate items in a series.
That comma between the second and third element i. Newspapers have historically omitted the comma between the second and third elements to save space, while books typically include them.
It will avoid confusion every time. Next, use commas between two independent clauses i. I like working out at the gym, and I also enjoy reading in the library.
As you can see, the compound sentence above has two independent sentences that can stand on their own. In comparison, if you write a sentence with a dependent clause i.
I like working out at the gym and also enjoy reading in the library.
Semi-Colons A semi-colon can be used to tie two sentences together that are very closely related. As a writer, you have the discretion to create two separate sentences or to connect them via the use of a semi-colon. However, I will go with a more conservative candidate on particular issues.
Notice that the word however can be used to begin a totally new sentence or as a connector between two very closely related sentences. If you opt to use the connector semi-colon rather than split your ideas into two separate sentences, just remember that the semi-colon connector is constructed like this: Following however, a comma is used to introduce the second half of the sentence.
One more thought about semi-colons: Hyper-Urbanisms A hyper-urbanism is a cent word for over-correcting language in order for the writer to come across as super smart or intelligent.
Our boss gave the assignment to Nina, Sam, and I. In reality, that sentence should read: Our boss gave the assignment to Nina, Sam, and me. People tend to over-correct by saying I at the end of a triple series that includes them even if grammar rules would dictate otherwise.
Our boss gave that assignment to Nina.
Our boss gave that assignment to Sam. Our boss gave that assignment to me. That versus Which Okay, this one confuses a lot of people too.
Master it and shine among your peers!
This is an assignment that will launch your career. In fact, small tweaks to your written communications may go a long way in enhancing your reputation for competence and professionalism. Communication extends well beyond using proper grammar. Perfect your writing and speaking skills with these AMA resources and seminars.Use hyphens for ages that are expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun.
For example, The 5-year-old boy went to school (adjective before a noun). Ages (hyphenation) A year-old child is 12 years old.
That is, when the adjectival phrase (year-old) comes before the noun it modifies (child), it is hyphenated, and it is unhyphenated when it comes after the noun it modifies. We use the present perfect simple (have/has + past participle) or present perfect continuous (have/has + been + -ing) to talk about a state or an activity that has a link to the present.
Previously published as part of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.. Online sensation Grammar Girl makes punctuation fun and easy in Grammar Girl's Punctuation Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, is determined to wipe out bad punctuation—but she's also determined to make the process as painless as possible.
Learn the rules, and the quirks, of English grammar - from parts of speech to punctuation. With descriptive speech and clear writing you can entertain, persuade, inform and educate.
For general writing, most guides agree that you should use words for the numbers one through nine, but for larger numbers the rules vary wildly from style guide to style guide. Some say to use words for the numbers one to one hundred, one to ten, any word that can be written with one or two words, and so on.