Writing E-Tips
February 2005   
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"A very great part of the mischiefs that vex this world arises from words."

-- Edmund Burke

"How often misused words generate misleading thoughts."

-- Herbert Spencer

Common Grammar Problems to Avoid

Using the Right Word, Part III

     How important is using the right word? You be the judge. The following are sentences taken from actual job applications.

My last position was as a corporate lesion.

Enclosed is a ruff draft of my proposal.

I am a quick leaner, responsible and motivated.

You will find I am a rabid typist.

     While the above may simply be humorous proofreading errors, they convey the image of someone who is not very detail oriented, and they make a negative impact. Be sure you always use the correct word to show your professionalism. If you are ever unsure whether a word is the right one, don’t guess—look it up. Following are some commonly confused word pairs. Use them correctly for a polished, professional appearance in all your written communications.

Insure means "to secure from harm or loss."

We need to insure the new equipment
against theft.

Ensure means "to make certain of something."

I tried to ensure a quick turnaround on the complaint by handling it myself.

Irregardless is never correct.

Wrong: We will continue the process irregardless of the cost.

Regardless is the only correct form of the word.

Correct: We will continue the process regardless of the cost.

It's is the contraction of the words "it is."

It's clear that we must block their bid
with a higher offer.

Its is the possessive form of "it."

That division has increased its
efficiency by 10 percent this quarter.

Use like as a preposition to introduce a phrase.

His desk looks like a train wreck!

Use as or as if as a conjunction to introduce a clause.

Please follow the procedure as it is outlined in the employee handbook.
It looks as if we will have to go back over the budget.

The adjective loose means "unfastened" or "free."

It seems a valve has come loose from
the camshaft.

The verb lose means "to misplace" or "to fail to keep control of."

We don't want to lose that account because of a misunderstanding.

Partly is an adverb meaning "in some but not all parts."

Your report is partly correct, but the
figures on clocked overtime hours
need to be rechecked.

Partially is an adverb meaning "to some extent, but not totally."

Your reasoning is partially valid,
but it has some weaknesses.

Waver is a verb that means "to falter due to indecision."

We will never waver on our road to
product excellence.

A waiver is a noun that means "a surrender of certain rights."

Each employee must sign the waiver regarding privacy of company e-mail.

The preceding tips are from
Write for Business:
A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating

Coming in the March Issue:
“Avoiding Sentence Errors”

Write for Business: A Compact Guide
to Writing and Communicating

is available for purchase at

Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating
is available for purchase at 1-800-261-0637 ext. 10,
or on the Web at www.upwritepress.com.

"Writing E-Tips" is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105.
Copyright © 2005, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved.