January 7
January 2015  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Test Your Writing Acumen

You may recall that a basic sentence consists of a subject and a predicate. A clause is basically a “mini sentence,” with its own subject and predicate.

Clauses are either independent or dependent. An independent clause can stand alone as a simple sentence, or it can be part of a longer sentence. A dependent clause (also called a subordinate clause) cannot stand alone; instead, it serves to add information to a longer sentence. Dependent clauses come in several different types. A dependent clause can be

  • an adjective clause, which describes a noun or pronoun;
  • an adverb clause, which adds information (where, when, or why) about the main clause; or
  • a noun clause, which serves as either a subject or an object in a sentence.

Your task this month is to name the type or types of dependent clauses that appear in bold in the following sentences. (Note: Number 2 contains two dependent clauses.)

  1. The person who edited this report did a great job of fixing the errors.
  2. The thing that impresses me most is how the editor kept the tone of the original writers.
  3. It's easy to fall into a sense of complacency when everything has been going so well for so long.
  4. Our team will look into the matter if we finish our current project this week.
  5. This is the new 3-D printer that I was telling you about.
  6. Our goal is to do whatever it takes to satisfy our customers.

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

Writing Your Visual Presentation

The amount of material you write for your presentation depends on your nature as a speaker. If you are comfortable “winging it,” you may need only a few note cards or a bare-bones outline to keep you on track as you speak. If you are not comfortable ad-libbing, you may prefer to write out your speech. Here are the three most common forms of written materials used by speakers.

  • List. The briefest of written forms, a list includes your opening sentence, your main points, and your closing sentence. These can be written on a single page or on separate cards to help keep you on track.
  • Outline. For a more complex presentation, an outline is desirable, offering the main points and support information in a clear, easy-to-navigate format. Include your opening and closing remarks, along with main points and specific quotes, statistics, details, sources, and notes on visual aids.
  • Manuscript. Some speakers write out a presentation word for word, especially for a formal speech. If you choose this form, be sure your final copy is correct, clear, and readable. Double-space, mark the pronunciation of difficult words, and don't run sentences from one page or note card to the next. Finally, do not just read your speech; look up from your notes as much as possible and make eye contact with your listeners, or gaze at the group in general, to create a connection with the audience that will enhance your impact.

Whichever written form you use, practice your presentation until you know it cold. Preparation gives you the confidence to relax, to put your audience at ease, and to present the information in the best way.

Trainer Tips

Regular employee training offers several benefits, including creating an atmosphere of trust, security, and teamwork. Where training boosts employee self-esteem by increasing knowledge and skill, it also suggests that management has faith in the workers' ability to grow with the company. It signals a commitment to keep employees with the company for the long run and fosters their sense of being an important part of a working community.

That Little Extra

Here we are at the beginning of another year. This is our opportunity to look back at any mistakes and learn from them, vowing to make the coming year better: more productive, more positive, more fulfilling at work and at home. Happy 2015 to all, and to all a good year!

   

January 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.

What do you feel is the most important quality of your company’s communication materials? Why?

Email your response to contact@upwritepress.com. Write “January 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 person who edited this report did a great job of fixing the errors. (adjective clause)
  2. The thing that impresses me most is how the editor kept the tone of the original writers. (adjective clause; noun clause)
  3. It's easy to fall into a sense of complacency when everything has been going so well for so long. (adverb clause)
  4. Our team will look into the matter if we finish our current project this week. (adverb clause)
  5. This is the new 3-D printer that I was telling you about. (adjective clause)
  6. Our goal is to do whatever it takes to satisfy our customers. (noun clause)

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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Making Your Written Words Sound Professional

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