Write for Business - Blog

UpWrite Press understands the importance of writing skills in business: We're business people just like you. On this blog you'll find tips to improve your writing, along with topics of interest to our staff.

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    Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement: Singular and Plural Antecedents

    Thursday, September 09, 2010

    If one of the antecedents joined by or or nor is singular and one is plural, the pronoun is made to agree with the closer antecedent.

    Neither the employer nor his employees were ready for their [not his] trip.

    (From Write for Business, 2nd ed., page 325, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 75)

    Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement: Plural Pronouns

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010

    When a plural pronoun is mistakenly used with a singular indefinite antecedent, you need to change one or the other.

    Incorrect: Everyone must turn in their reports.
    Correct: Everyone must turn in his or her report.

    (From Write for Business, 2nd ed., page 325, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 75)

    Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement: Singular Pronouns

    Thursday, September 02, 2010

    Use a singular pronoun to refer to antecedents such as either, neither, each one, anyone, everyone, everybody, somebody, nobody, another, none, and a person.

    One of the reports is missing its [not their] cover.

    Note: When a person or everyone is used to refer to both sexes or either sex, you will have to choose whether to offer optional pronouns or to rewrite the sentence.

    Everyone will turn in his or her time card.
    (optional pronouns)
    All employees will turn in their time cards.
    (rewritten in plural form)

    (From Write for Business, 2nd ed., page 325, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 75)

    Using the Right Word: than, then

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Than (conjunction) indicates a comparison; then (usually an adverb) refers to time.

    Michael did not know any more about this than I did.
    First write your résumé; then look for a job.

    (From Write for Business, page 238, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 50)

    Using the Right Word: complement, compliment

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Complement means "to complete or go well with." Compliment means "to give praise." Both words can also be used as nouns. The adjective complementary means "serving to fill out or complete." Complimentary means "given free as a favor."

    "Some folks pay a compliment like they expect a receipt."
    - Frank McKinney Hubbard
    A fine grape jelly is a complement to any peanut butter.

    (From Write for Business, page 228, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 40)