Writing E-Tips
January 2005   
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"I have never been able to understand why it is
that just because I am unintelligible nobody understands me."

-- Milton Mayer

Common Grammar Problems to Avoid

"It ain't the heat; it's the humility."

-- Yogi Berra

Using the Right Word, Part II

     From Mrs. Malaprop to Yogi Berra, there have always been those who have mangled the English language. But while twisted words might be amusing, word errors in a business communication could be extremely embarrassing. Using the correct word in writing indicates not only your eloquence, but also your attention to detail. This month we continue offering sets of words that are often confused—and that often pass through spell-checkers. Always proofread your words to make sure you have used them correctly.

The preposition beside means "next to."

I sat beside the vice president in the meeting.

The preposition besides means "other than."

Besides voting on the budget, we made no important decisions.

Besides can also be an adverb meaning "also."

We attended the June convention but will have to go to the one in September besides.

Censor means "to delete anything objectionable."

We had to censor some of the more inflammable language.

Censure is stronger, meaning "to condemn or criticize."

The writer of the appalling letter was censured by the committee.

Compose means "to create or form by bringing parts together."

The committee is composed of board members, students, and community volunteers.

Comprise means "to consist of or include." Do not use the phrase is comprised of.

The committee comprises board members, students, and community volunteers.

Discreet means "showing good judgment, unobtrusive."

The reprimand was handled in a discreet, professional manner.

Discrete means "distinct or separate."

The employee was asked to keep personal communications discrete from the office mail.

Farther refers to physical distance.

Jared's office is farther away from the mail room than Sandy's is.

Further means "to a greater extent" when referring to time, quantity, or degree.

They looked further into the matter but discovered that no rules had been broken.

Imply means "to suggest, hint, or communicate indirectly."

I did not mean to imply that I would ignore the problem.

Infer means "to deduce or conclude from."

The customer incorrectly inferred that I was ignoring the problem.

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

Coming in the February Issue:
“Common Grammar Problems to Avoid:
Using the Right Word, Part III”

“E-Mail for Success—A Workshop Approach to
Writing and Sending E-Mail”

It’s a new generation in on-site training! Visit us online
at www.upwritepress.com for more on this
exciting new concept in business writing.

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.

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"Writing E-Tips" is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc.
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Copyright © 2005, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved.