September 2013  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

“We have too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them.”

—Abigail Adams

Word Pair of the Month: quote, quotation

Of this pair, the word most often misused is “quote.” Many writers and speakers use “quote” as a noun, but it is actually a verb. “Quotation” is the correct noun form.

Incorrect: Use this quote to introduce your speech.
Correct: Use this quotation to introduce your speech.
Correct: In this report, I$rsquo;ll quote a few experts.

Feel free to quote this information, especially if the quotation helps a colleague.

September Writers’ Forum Question

In this age of texts and tweets, spelling seems to have fallen by the wayside. Has a world of truncated spelling affected you at all? How important is spelling anyway? And how do you maintain correct spelling in your office correspondence?

Janalee Calvert, an office manager in Mobile, Alabama, has a serious opinion about this matter:

We run a business and need to project a businesslike attitude. That means perfect spelling and grammar in everything we write, from advertisements to project proposals to white papers. Misspellings are sloppy, and that suggests sloppiness in other areas. We spell-check everything, and then run it past a human proofreader. There$rsquo;s no room for spelling errors in business.

Kia Chang of Minneapolis-St. Paul wrote:

My parents were immigrants who didn$rsquo;t speak English, and they had a difficult time because of it. That$rsquo;s why they encouraged me to work hard in school to learn English, and to learn it correctly. I actually taught them English by having them do English homework with me every night. Spelling was a big thing in our house, and it included learning Latin roots. At the time I thought it was a pain, but now I$rsquo;m glad for the experience because spelling has become second nature to me. I went right to work after high school and worked all through college. I$rsquo;m sure my strong, accurate writing had a lot to do with my eventual promotions, despite my not having an advanced degree. If you$rsquo;re serious about your career, get serious about your language skills.

George Baumann of Portland, Oregon, felt the need to vent about this subject:

I actually received a job résumé as a text, complete with shortened spellings! Let$rsquo;s just say the texter didn$rsquo;t get the job. Come on, young people! I know the world is changing and moving faster, but there is always room for decorum, respect, and effort, none of which is displayed well by texts or wrong spellings. Call me an old fogy, but I$rsquo;m the one doing the hiring. You$rsquo;ll just have to learn to dance to my tune.

Finally, Frank O$rsquo;Day of Cincinnati tickled us with this amusing answer:

R U KDDNG? Hu needs 2 spl? I cn cmunik8 jst fine w-out it.

A Final Thought

We worry about the animal species that are going extinct, but many of the world$rsquo;s languages are high on the endangered list as well. According to the National Geographic$rsquo;s Enduring Voices Project, by the year 2100, more than half of the world$rsquo;s 7,000-plus languages will have disappeared. Why does a language die? One reason involves an oral versus a strong written tradition. If a language has no written form, it is more likely to vanish. Writing is critical not only to the development of a language but also to its preservation. So do your part. Keep writing—correctly. Let$rsquo;s pass on more than emoticons, truncated spelling, and creative (incorrect) grammar to our future generations.

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