July 2010  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

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and Oklahoma Conferences

Members of the UpWrite Press staff will be on hand at the Missouri ACTE Annual Summer Conference and Trade Show. Stop by Booth #F97 on July 26 & 27 to visit.

You can also find us at the Oklahoma CareerTech Summer Conference and Expo on August 2 & 3. Come to Booth #132 to chat and browse our products.

"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think."

—Edwin Schlossberg

Word Pair of the Month: oral, verbal

This month’s words are often used interchangeably, referring to spoken language. However, the fact is that oral more accurately refers to spoken words, while verbal refers to any use of words, whether spoken or written. Keeping these definitions in mind, you might use your verbal skills to compose a clear, well-written paper, and then use your oral abilities to deliver that paper in front of an audience. The difference between these words becomes important legally when referring to an oral contract, which is strictly a spoken agreement, not one that is written down.

July Writer's Forum Question

Ah, summer. The warm air and long days pull at us to abandon the mundane, to trade in the minivan for a convertible, to run off and join a circus, maybe, or at least to treat the kids to a few days at a water park. Still, there has to be a crew at the office to keep things running while others are off doing their summer thing. Share your story with us, and let us know how your office handles summer vacations (short of shutting down until fall) without letting the business suffer.

Keisha Donaldson of San Antonio wrote of her humbling vacation experience:

I’d been hesitant to go on vacation for fear the office would fall apart without me. I spent the week before I left making notes for the others on my team, making sure they had all my contact information, going over and over everything, making them promise to call me every day. Well, they didn’t, and whenever I checked in, I was always assured things were okay. I was a nervous wreck the whole time, and when I got back I found they had done fine without me. The only indication I had even been gone was a pile of non-urgent messages and papers on my desk to go through. Although I was an important part of the team, I discovered I wasn’t the whole ball of wax. I had pretty much spoiled my vacation worrying about work and wasn’t any more rested when I got back. You can bet I won’t do that again!

Jack Song of San Francisco had a similar jolt during a vacation with his family:

We had a big deal in the works when my vacation came up, but I figured I could handle both. I kept checking in on my Blackberry “leash,” spending more time in the hotel business center than with my family on the beach. My wake-up call? I overheard my five-year-old talking to another kid at breakfast, and saying, “That’s my daddy. He’s too important to play with us.” I stuck my Blackberry in the bottom of my suitcase and didn’t look at it again until we were sitting in the airport on the way home. You gotta choose your priorities. Oh, and the deal went through fine after I got back.

Lara Danisovitch of Chicago is an office manager for a small editorial service. Here’s her way of handling office vacations:

We have only 27 employees, so we ask people to please plan ahead for their vacations. There’s a large year-at-a-glance calendar on the break-room wall, and we all mark our vacation weeks in advance. Generally, we work in two- to four-person teams, depending on the project, so if one person from a team will be gone, the others need to be there to keep things moving and make decisions. As far as dates go, it’s “first come, first served,” although bartering is allowed. It’s worked pretty well for us, but I don’t know if the system would do for a larger organization.

A Final Thought

We’ve noticed that in recent years, Latin classes have practically disappeared at the high school level. Some recent ads for language faculty specified teachers of Chinese, Japanese, and even Tagalog. The fact is that as our school language curriculums expand, the focus on an English language foundation seems to be diminishing. This is really a shame, because English is deeply rooted (pun intended) in ancient languages such as Latin. Maybe that’s part of the reason spelling ability has fallen drastically. Studying Latin word roots puts English in perspective and helps lay a groundwork for proper spelling and pronunciation.

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Write for Business Blog

Here are the early July posts from our writing staff:

Staff Articles

Using the Right Word

Writing Rules


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Writing the Letter of Reference

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