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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    Avoiding Shifts in Sentence Construction: Shift in Person

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Shift in person is improperly mixing first, second, or third person within a sentence.

    Customers can pay for the items when ordering or when you receive them.
    (The sentence shifts from third person, customers, to second person, you.)
    You can pay for the items when ordering or when you receive them.
    (Both subjects remain in second person.)
    Customers can pay when ordering or when they receive the items.
    (Customers, a third person plural noun, requires a third person plural pronoun, they.)

    (From Write for Business, 2nd edition, page 326, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 76)

    Avoiding Shifts in Sentence Construction: Shift in Number

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Shift in number is using both a singular and plural pronoun to refer to the same person or group.

    When people get special training, he or she should share what they have learned with their coworkers.
    (The sentence shifts from the single pronouns he or she to the plural pronoun they.)
    When people get special training, they should share what they have learned with their coworkers.
    (The sentence now contains the plural forms people and they.)

    (From Write for Business, 2nd edition, page 326, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 76)

    Avoiding Shifts in Sentence Construction

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    A shift is an improper change in structure midway through a sentence. This includes such things as shifts in number, shifts in person, shifts in tense, shifts in voice, and unparallel construction. Watch for future posts detailing each.

    (From Write for Business, 2nd edition, page 326, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 76)

    Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement: Overview

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, person, and gender. (The antecedent is the word or words to which the pronoun refers.)

    Susan paid cash for her lunch.

    Note: The antecedent in this sentence is Susan; it is to Susan that the pronoun her refers. Both the pronoun and its antecedent are singular, third person, and feminine; therefore, the pronoun is said to agree with its antecedent.

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

    Understanding Grammar: Parts of Speech: Interrogative Pronoun

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    An interrogative pronoun (who, whose, whom, which, what) introduces a question.

    Who will write the report?

    (From Write for Business, page 243, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 55)