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: 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)

    Avoiding Sentence Errors: Subject-Verb Agreement: "Be" Verbs

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    If a form of the be verb is used and there is a noun both before and after that verb, the verb must agree with the subject. This holds true even if the predicate noun (the noun coming after the verb) is different in number.

    The cause of his health problem was his bad eating habits.
    His bad eating habits were the cause of his health problem.

    (From Write for Business, page 324, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 74)

    Avoiding Sentence Errors: Subject-Verb Agreement: Relative Pronouns

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    When a relative pronoun (which, who, that) is used to introduce a dependent clause, the number of the verb must agree with the pronoun's antecedent.

    This is one of the reports that are required for this project. (The relative pronoun that takes the plural verb [are] because its antecedent [reports] is plural. To test this type of sentence, read the of phrase first: Of the reports that are…)

    (From Write for Business, page 324, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 74)