January 2012  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Happy New Year to All Our Readers!

All of us at UpWrite Press wish you and yours a pleasant and prosperous 2012.

Test Your Writing Acumen

This month’s brainteaser is all about spelling. Plurals often present problems, especially the plurals of words that end in o. To test your skill with these words, select the correct spelling from the choices given in parentheses in each sentence below.

  1. We had a huge crop of (tomatoes, tomatos) this year.
  2. Even with the advent of MP3 players, (radioes, radios) have maintained their popularity.
  3. How many (typos, typoes) did you find in her letter?
  4. We went out for (tacoes, tacos) after the show.
  5. I especially want to see the (Picassos, Picassoes) at the Art Institute.
  6. The (piccoloes, piccolos) played a stirring obligato above the melody.

Answers can be found at the end of this newsletter, along with the rule that explains each.

The Art of Persuasive Writing

When writing to persuade, follow these strategies:

  • Consider what the reader needs. Focusing on how your product or service can make life easier for the reader will garner immediate attention.
  • Develop trust and credibility. The hallmark of good business today is honesty. Increasingly, readers expect companies to communicate like real people. So present all your facts and give your argument in a straightforward manner. Be sure your claims are realistic, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Show respect for your product and for your reader.
  • Support your claims with solid evidence. Use facts, statistics, and comparisons, as well as other types of evidence such as examples, testimonies, and anecdotes.
  • Use clear, powerful words. Search for those golden words that create a positive image for your product, such as “value,” “discount,” and “benefit.”
  • Arrange your message with the AIDA formula. Grab your reader’s Attention; create Interest and Desire; and call for an
    Action, which can include anything from clicking a link to writing a check.

For more help with persuasive writing, see pages 123-134 in Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace—just one of the handy business-writing materials from UpWrite Press.

Teacher Tips

If you need to plan a training session for a specific group of workers, consider including those workers in the planning. Ask what their biggest problems are with the topic. Do they have any suggestions for alleviating those problems? Then develop the session using their input. When your workers are included in planning this way, they will be more inclined to actively participate in training programs.

That Little Extra

Every language contains idioms—common phrases that, when taken literally, can be confusing. Examples are bite your tongue, it’s a piece of cake, that drives me up the wall, and so on. If these idioms were translated word for word into another language, imagine the confusion!

And it works both ways. Suppose someone writing in French included the idiom avaler des couleuvres, which means “to deal with embarrassment” but literally translates “to swallow grass snakes.” Now there’s a head scratcher!

Idioms are an integral part of our language, but to facilitate clear communication with an international audience, it’s best to avoid them.


January Writers' Forum Topic

Here’s your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we’ll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini.

Okay, the holidays are over. So how did the partying go in your office? In fact, how does your office handle parties and celebrations? Does one person handle the arrangements, or is there a committee? Perhaps your office bans parties completely. Share your thoughts—maybe others can take tips from the way you handle the situation.

E-mail your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write “January Writers’ Forum” in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

Solution to this month’s brainteaser:

  1. tomatoes—Add es to words that end in o preceded by a consonant.
  2. radios—Add an s to words that end in o preceded by a vowel.
  3. typos—If the word is a shortened form of a longer word (“typo” is short for “typographical error”), add an s to make it plural. Other examples include “hippo” and “limo.”
  4. tacos—Add an s to form the plural of terms that originate from other languages but have become common in English.
  5. Picassos—If a proper name ends in o, make it plural by adding an s.
  6. piccolos—Add an s to form the plural of a musical term ending in o.

We Want to Hear from You!

This is your chance to be part of the UpWrite Press newsletters and blogs. What writing topics do you want to hear about? Have you any favorite communications tips you’d like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas and you could see your name in Writing eTips or the Mid-Month Mini.

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Coming in February

Writing the Collection Letter

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