Writing eTips UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You
January 2008 UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You

Writing is a craft, not an art.

—William Zinsser

Word Pair of the Month: perspective, prospective

Ah, the power of a single syllable. In these two almost-sound-alike words, a three-letter prefix makes a big difference in meaning.

Perspective means, “a person’s ‘take’ on something—the way he or she looks at it.”

From my perspective as a lifelong Wisconsinite, a foot of snow isn’t that daunting.

Prospective is an adjective that means “forthcoming,” “expected,” or “eventual.”

We look at everyone who walks into the office as a prospective client and treat him or her accordingly.

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January Writers’ Forum Topic

We received some interesting answers to this month’s forum questions: How do you plan to improve your writing in 2008? How will you apply your new skills to your business? We were happy to see that improving writing is high on the list for many.

Lorena Diaz of Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote that her retail business places a high premium on writing skills: We send out a lot of print and email ads and correspondence, and we want to sound like the educated professionals we are! To that end, my company has added a new perk this year: full payment of employee tuition for writing classes at the local community college, whether taken during or outside of the workday.

Editor’s comment—Tuition reimbursement is not unusual. You might want to see if it’s available at your place of employment. It’s a great way to hone your skills or increase your knowledge about your business, and it could move you up the corporate ladder.

On the other side of the country, Christopher Anderson of Greenbelt, Maryland, is looking to improve his writing in order to move up and out of his current job: I’m a level two worker in a packaging firm, and I want to move up, so I read everything I can about improving myself. That’s why I take your newsletter, and it’s encouraged me enough that now I am taking college classes in communications with an emphasis on public-relations writing. I plan to eventually work my way into the Marketing Department.

Ed.—Smart move. Education is a great investment, especially if you have a good idea of where you want to go. And good writing skills are welcome anywhere.

Other Feedback:

Lloyd Wittstock of AIOIC in Minneapolis, Minnesota, had this to say about our recent “That Little Extra” feature, in which we recommended using macros for inserting often-used elements into your writing: Another method is to use an initialism such as SBSG to represent the slogan in your example (Service is our business; satisfaction our goal) and then create an autocorrect entry that substitutes the full phrase every time you type the initialism and hit the space bar. (Autocorrect is found under Tools.)

If you sometimes need the actual initialism or acronym—such as for your company name—you can make a second trigger word that is just a little different (for instance, with a "2" after the word to be autocorrected). So, for example, typing NATO gives you NATO, but NATO2 gives you North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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Coming in February:
Organization: Creating Strong Headings
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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2008, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.