December 2008
Writing eTips UpWrite Press

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”

Joseph Pulitzer

Word “Pair” of the Month: vain, vane, vein

Once more, this trio of soundalikes offers different meanings.

The adjective vain means “self-centered” or “conceited,” as in this sentence.

He’s so vain he can’t imagine being wrong.

Vane is a noun that refers to an instrument that turns with the wind.

The weather vane rotated quickly, heralding an approaching storm.

Finally, the noun vein refers to a blood vessel in the body or a deposit of ore in the earth. Both meanings are demonstrated in the following sentences.

The prospector thought the vein of gold was rich, but it was quickly mined out.

The old printer boasted that instead of blood, he had ink in his veins.

Our Staff Writers’ Blog

Get the latest insights into writing from our staff writers. So far in December, Joyce Lee offers some wisdom about planning a presentation and Dave Kemper has good advice about persuasive writing: “It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…or is it?” Be sure to visit our blog for these and other great articles!

December Writer’s Forum Question:

This month we focused on the upcoming holidays, asking, How does your company handle holiday greetings? Do you send cards to clients? Does your holiday correspondence include or purposely exclude advertising? How do you word your greetings to avoid offending diverse populations?

Most of our respondents said their businesses send nonspecific holiday cards wishing peace and prosperity. Some stay with traditional paper cards, and some choose e-cards, but almost all limit advertising to just the company name and maybe a logo.

Alicia Peterson of Healthwise in Boise, Idaho, writes that her organization sends an e-card designed by the company marketing team. The card thanks customers for their business and states, “In lieu of paper cards, we have made a donation to the Heifer Project.” She further explains that this charity gives gifts of animals such as cows, sheep, and even water buffalo, along with necessities like milk and trees, to people in impoverished countries.

Peterson adds. “We do not advertise in this correspondence we just wanted to say thanks and talk about helping others. And since it’s electronic, it’s also a ‘green’ message.”

Mark DuBois, of Teaneck, New Jersey, says his company also opts for the electronic greeting.

“Our sales department sends out fun animated e-cards with the words ‘Wishing you peace in this holiday season.’ We figure that covers everyone, no matter what they celebrate.”

Maria L. Sanchez, an office manager for a manufacturer in San Antonio, says her company still sends paper cards but agrees with a nondenominational message.

We try to cover all the bases with cards that read “Merry Christmas/Feliz Navidad/Happy Hanukah/Happy Kwanzaa” on the covers. Then on the inside, the greeting says, “However you celebrate the season, may your holidays be bright.” We print our company name on the inside, but we don’t advertise any of our products.

Jacob Weiner of Queens, New York, likes the personal touch his company is able to offer.

We’re a tiny accounting firm—just six accountants, two secretaries, and an office manager who doubles as our advertising copywriter, so we all personally sign the cards we send to our clients. We think it reinforces the friendly, approachable image we like to maintain.

However you handle your holiday greetings, good wishes are always welcome and in good taste. We at UpWrite Press wish you joy and peace at this wonderful time of year.

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