April 2013  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Test Your Writing Acumen

This month, let’s check your skill with a potpourri of grammar points. Look at each of the following sentences and decide if it is grammatically correct or incorrect.

  1. At least we could of gone to the party for a little while.
  2. With all the options available, we can’t hardly go wrong.
  3. Though we invited the treasurer and the secretary, neither have arrived.
  4. Jim feels badly about the misunderstanding.
  5. Neither Dev or Ari was prepared for the meeting.
  6. We can leave early because Leon was closing up the shop tonight.
  7. Mari’s results were different from Jojene’s.

Answers can be found near the end of this newsletter.

Writing to Persuade

In persuasive writing, organize your ideas for the best effect. Follow the AIDA model: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Your Opening

Grab the reader’s Attention and present your appeal. Focus on your reader’s needs, and consider the outcome you want. For example, the opening in a flier for an office-cleaning company might present this creative concept:

Do you wish you could order “clean” a la carte?

Your Middle

Build Interest and Desire by presenting facts and examples that show your product or idea to be interesting and desirable. Also address any concerns you think your reader may have. This provides you the opportunity to answer questions up front. For example, notice how our cleaning company focuses on cost savings:

Kustom Kleen will clean just what you want cleaned, and charge you just for that. Our quick and easy checklist allows you to customize your office cleaning week by week, minimizing costs.

Your Closing

To close, present your strongest argument and suggest a particular Action. Definitely include a response card, a phone number, an email address, or a Web site for further information. Make it easy for the reader to contact you:

So give Kustom Kleen a call at 555-1212 today. We’re so sure you’ll be delighted with our customized cleaning that we’ll give you a one-month no-contract trial period. If you’re not completely satisfied at the end of the month, we’ll part company as friends, no muss, no fuss. So give us a call. Let us be your custom cleaning solution.

You can find more information on persuasive writing beginning on page 123 in Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace.

Trainer Tip

Your company’s stylebook is an important training resource. Although it does not have to be extensive (some are a couple of typed pages), this manual of policies for formatting written materials has a powerful effect. It usually includes requirements for things like paragraph indents, spacing, fonts, and headings, as well as preferred punctuation and spelling for company-specific terms. Using the stylebook as a reference, all employees can apply the company’s rules and standards to their written documents and so present standard, uniform communications.

That Little Extra

People make mistakes, and sometimes you must address their errors. While you don’t need to coddle workers, neither do you need to intimidate them. Be instructive and helpful when addressing a problem, and temper your correction with a positive comment about the employee’s performance. Always aim to preserve the person’s dignity. Employees who sense they are respected will usually try hard to do a better job.


April 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.

What’s your biggest annoyance with the written materials that come across your desk? What mistakes do you see most often?

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

Answers to This Month’s Quiz

  1. At least we could of gone to the party for a little while.
    Incorrect Don’t use “of” in place of “have.”
    Correct: “could have gone”
  2. With all the options available, we can’t hardly go wrong.
    Incorrect Do not use a double negative.
    Correct: “we can’t go wrong” or “we can hardly go wrong”
  3. Though we invited the treasurer and the secretary, neither have arrived.
    Incorrect The pronoun “neither” is singular and so requires a singular verb.
    Correct: “neither has arrived”
  4. Jim feels badly about the misunderstanding.
    Incorrect The linking verb “feels” must be followed by the adjective “bad,” not the adverb “badly.”
    Correct uses: Jim feels bad that miscommunication has badly affected the business-client relationship.
  5. Neither Dev or Ari was prepared for the meeting.
    Incorrect Use the correctly paired conjunctions: neither/nor, either/or.
    Correct: “Neither Dev nor Ari was . . . .”
  6. We can leave early because Leon was closing up the shop tonight.
    Incorrect Shifting from one tense to another within a sentence is usually not acceptable.
    Correct: “We can leave early because Leon is closing up the shop tonight.”
  7. Mari’s results were different from Jojene’s.
    Correct In most cases, and especially in formal writing, use “different from” (not “different than”) when contrasting items.

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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The Traits of Writing: Ideas

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