Writing eTips UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You
October 2007 UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You

My rule was always to do the business of the day in the day.

—Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington

Word Pair of the Month: defective, deficient
When describing something that is causing a problem, don’t mix up these two words. Their meanings are close, but not close enough to be interchangeable.

Defective refers to something being faulty or containing a flaw.

The toaster did not work because the wiring was defective.

Deficient, on the other hand, refers to an inadequacy, or the lack of a necessary component.

Because their diet was deficient in vitamin C, sailors during the Age of Discovery were frequently ill and often developed scurvy.

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October Writers’ Forum Topic

Many thanks to all who answered this month’s forum question. We couldn’t print them all, so we selected a representative group to show the diverse reference materials our readers use.

What writing aids do you depend on? What’s on your desk? Do you have some special book, item, or computer trick that helps you with your writing? Share with us—we’re always looking for good ideas to improve writing!

Stacey R. Schalk, of Qwest Services Corp Legal Affairs Employment Law Group in Denver, writes: I depend on The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style to assist me with my writing. In addition, I try to read one book per quarter on language and writing.

An excellent path toward developing powerful language skills!

Another responder, Hanover Smith, the owner of a small antiques mall in Westchester County, New York, writes: The most-used volumes in my office include a Webster’s Dictionary and a Roget’s Thesaurus. I never write a letter without using at least one of these. Both were a gift from my daughter, an English teacher, when I first opened the store, and both are very worn from use.

Finally, Laurence Tikalsky, an office manager in Forth Worth, writes this: Actually, I keep a copy of your book, Write for Business, on my desk for quick reference. It’s so easy to find things in your book, especially in the “Proofreader’s Guide” in the back section. Also, the templates on the CD are great when you are stumped for particular message types and formats.

Good advice, all. If you’re looking for help or inspiration in your writing, consider our readers’ suggestions. Until next month, keep writing!

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Coming in November:
Real-Time Correspondence Etiquette
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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2007, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.