June 2010  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

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"Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself - it is the occurring which is difficult."

- Stephen Leacock

Word Pair of the Month: passed, past

This month's words have nearly identical pronunciations, so it can be difficult to keep them straight in your writing. Just remember that past, ending with a "t," is the more complex of the two, serving as a noun, an adjective, or a preposition.

As a noun, past refers to time gone by, as in "That idea belongs in the past." It's an adjective in the phrase "a past era" and a preposition in this sentence: "We walked past the building."

The word passed, ending in "ed," is a verb: "Time passed quickly." Ironically passed is the past tense of the verb "pass."

June Writers' Forum Question

Consider audiobooks, electronic readers such as the Kindle, and now the iPad. Reading has undergone a revolution, but has it been a good change? What is your feeling about the electronic reading revolution? Is it helpful to you, or do you prefer the "good old days" of books and magazines? How do you view the future of reading?

Kendra McCauley of Boston raves about the electronic reading revolution:

I love my reader! I have a Kindle and take it everywhere. I find I'm reading a lot more now, because it's so easy to have a book handy whenever I want it. I read on the bus, while waiting in line, or if I get someplace early. No more wasted time!

Jason Hong, a sales rep in San Francisco agrees:

I really don't miss hard-copy books at all, but then I grew up with computers, and to me, reading electronic books just seems natural. But I know my parents refuse to use an e-reader, and I think it's just a generational mind-set. Personally, I'd rather carry my iPad than a book or a newspaper, and I like the idea that I'm doing my small part to save trees. I guess there were people who were unhappy when movable type replaced handwritten texts, too. We have to keep moving, don't you think?

Ah, now for the flip side!

J'alisa Paine, a store manager in Atlanta is skeptical:

Sorry, but I still prefer real books. I like the feel of turning a page. Maybe it's because when I was a little girl my parents read to me a lot, and when I read a book it brings that feeling back to me. I also don't like the eyestrain of reading on-screen. I use a computer plenty as it is. Books and magazines are a nice break for me, and an electronic reader would just feel like I was back at work.

Jessica Rodriguez agrees with J'alisa:

Give me a book, please—a real book, a book I can hold, that has that booky smell. It means something to me, something special. I have a Nook, and it's kind of convenient at times, but when I read it, I don't relax the way I do with a paper book. Maybe it's because it's too much like working on a computer, or maybe it's that unnatural light, but I like to read for pleasure, and a real book is a real pleasure. Maybe electronic readers are the future, but I do believe there will always be a market for material books.

A Final Thought

If you haven't already realized the benefits of natural light, you may want to think about it. More and more, we are learning the importance of sunlight on our moods and on our physical health. Now it is recommended that we get at least 30 minutes of sunlight a day (even if the day is cloudy, as the sun's power still penetrates). It's been found that full-spectrum lighting, whether from the sun or artificial, can reduce depression and facilitate the intake of vitamin D. If your workplace has no access to sunlight, perhaps you could replace fluorescent or incandescent lighting with full-spectrum light.

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Here are the early June posts from our writing staff:

Staff Articles

Using the Right Word

Writing Rules

 

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