September 2013  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Test Your Writing Acumen

The hyphen serves opposing functions: It either divides a multisyllabic word at the end of a line of print, or it joins two words (or a letter and a word) to form a compound word. Here‘s your chance to test your knowledge of the rules for using hyphens to create compound words. In the sentences below, decide which is correct—the hyphenated or the open form of the words in parentheses.

  1. The treasury discovered flaws in the (newly-minted / newly minted) coins.
  2. The company retreat has been set for (mid-September / mid September).
  3. The (statistic-packed / statistic packed) proposal needed a careful proofreading.
  4. The proposal was (statistic-packed / statistic packed) and needed a careful proofreading.
  5. We have already reached (three-quarters / three quarters) of our fund-raising goal.
  6. The new office space is an (L-shaped / L shaped) room.
  7. Our interns are either (second-, third-, or fourth-year / second, third, or fourth year) students.

You can check your answers near the end of this newsletter.

The Traits of Writing: Sentences

Life today is often hurried, and its fast pace can influence how we think and write, resulting in an occasional run-on sentence. Run-ons contain two or more clauses jammed together with no pauses indicated. These sentences go on and on, leaving the reader breathless and possibly confused. To fix a run-on sentence, either use correct punctuation or turn the clauses into separate sentences.

Here is a sample run-on sentence:

We realize that we made an error in shipping your order we would like to make it up to you.

And here are several ways to correct the run-on:

  • Make separate sentences.
     
    We realize that we made an error in shipping your order. We would like to make it up to you.
  • Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction between the clauses.
     
    We realize that we made an error in shipping your order, and we would like to make it up to you.
  • Make one of the clauses subordinate.
     
    Because we realize that we made an error in shipping your order, we would like to make it up to you.
  • Use a semicolon to separate the clauses.
     
    We realize that we made an error in shipping your order; we would like to make it up to you.
  • Use a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb followed by a comma.
     
    We realize that we made an error in shipping your order; consequently, we would like to make it up to you.

You can find more information about words, beginning on page 41 in Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace.

Trainer Tip

Training sessions to teach new procedures and work-related tasks are important, but have you thought about the benefits of offering a session on stress management? Consider providing sample scenarios of stressful work situations and walking participants through various ways of handling each circumstance. Make the point that it is okay to turn to others for help. Also discuss specific ideas for making difficult situations manageable. The result will be a more relaxed, efficient workforce and a calmer, more productive work environment.

That Little Extra

Going through past eTips, we were interested to note that in 2010 we saw laptop, desktop, and notebook computers as the most-used electronic devices in the business world. It seemed odd, in our review, to find no mention of smartphones or tablets. What a change three years can make! Handhelds have taken over as we text, tweet, email, post, and print from our phones and tablets of all sizes. And video glasses have arrived on the scene as well. What’s next? There’s talk of brain-sensitive devices, and more. Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie; yet, as we’ve seen, the near future holds astounding possibilities.

   

September Writers' Forum Topic

Here’s your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we’ll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini.

In this world of texts and tweets, spelling seems to have fallen by the wayside. Has a world of truncated spelling affected you at all? How important is spelling anyway? And how do you maintain correct spelling in your office correspondence?

Email your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write “September Writers’ Forum” in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

Answers to This Month’s Quiz

  1. The treasury discovered flaws in the (newly-minted / newly minted) coins. (If the first word in a compound adjective ends in ly, no hyphen is used.)
  2. The company retreat has been set for (mid-September / mid September). (Use a hyphen to connect a prefix to a proper noun or proper adjective.)
  3. The (statistic-packed / statistic packed) proposal needed a careful proofreading. (Use a hyphen to connect two or more words that form a compound adjective before a noun.)
  4. The proposal was (statistic-packed / statistic packed) and needed a careful proofreading. (No hyphen is used in a compound adjective that follows the noun it describes.)
  5. We have already reached (three-quarters / three quarters) of our fund-raising goal. (Use a hyphen between the numerator and denominator in a spelled-out fraction.)
  6. The new office space is an (L-shaped / L shaped) room. (Use a hyphen to connect a letter to a noun or participle.)
  7. Our interns are either (second-, third-, or fourth-year / second, third, or fourth year) students. (Hyphens are used when two or more words have a common element that appears only in the final term.)

We Want to Hear from You!

This is your chance to be part of the UpWrite Press newsletters and blogs. What writing topics do you want to hear about? Have you any favorite communications tips you’d like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas and you could see your name in Writing eTips or the Mid-Month Mini.

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Coming in October

The Traits of Writing: Correctness

eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105.
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