WRITING: AS CLEAR AS A BELL, AS WELL July 20, 2017

WRITING:  AS CLEAR AS A BELL, AS WELL                                         July 20, 2017 Hello, fans of writing and grammar! Welcome back! A couple of weeks ago, I said that in recent years “as” has often been used incorrectly in writing with or without punctuation, as the case may be, to indicate an addition or a comparison and that we would cover those issues regarding “as” very soon. Let’s gain a better understanding of how to use “as” and whether (and how) to punctuate around it. To that end, examples and brief explanations follow.  (Yes, we’ve actually seen such examples of incorrect usage and much more!)   Comparison:  Comma NOT needed with “as well.” Wrong:  You sing as well, as he does.  You sing, as well as, he does.  You sing, as well as he does. Correct:  You sing as well as he does.  [He sings well. So do you.] See why no comma is needed in that correct usage?   Addition (Like “too,” “also,” “In addition”/”Additionally”):  Comma IS needed with “as well.” Wrong:  The judge could award joint custody as well. Correct: (a)  The judge could award joint custody, as well.  [The judge could award joint custody, too.  The judge could award joint custody, also.  The judge also could award joint custody.] (b)  As well, the judge could award joint custody.  [This form is less common.] [Also, the judge could award joint custody.] See why the comma is needed in the correct usage of an addition? See the difference? It’s really very easy to do: A comparison needs no comma while an addition does need a comma. You just need to get used to it. The old adage still applies: Practice makes perfect. If you forget correct usage and applicable punctuation for “as well,” just rephrase to use “too” or “also” (most often). When writing, please pause for a minute to read, think whether what you’re doing makes sense, and then correct your copy. As we always say, “Accuracy = Credibility!” Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus. We have a seemingly endless list of grammar topics to discuss, so stay tuned for more next week and beyond....

WRITING: EDITING FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

WRITING:  EDITING FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS                        July 14, 2017   Editing goes hand in hand with writing and speaking. It is NOT only about using the text that you see–recommending corrections, improvements, rephrasings, completions, clarifications, better word choices, etc. It’s also about reading between the lines for what may be there that should not be and for what is not there that should be.   SUBTLETIES As a part of that, reading the text aloud can reveal subtle or not-so-subtle tones and nuances that may have sneaked their way into your writing and need to be fixed. A tone may need to be lessened, for example, from bossy or nasty to one of requesting or encouraging. Specifics may help, too. Example: From:  I need that letter on my desk by 3 p.m. To:  Please give your proposed letter to me by 2:30 so that I can review it and have a final copy ready for our department’s 4 p.m. meeting. That way, the boss will be happy with both of us.   Or, a tone may need to be strengthened from wimpy to nicely firm.  Example: From: If it isn’t too much trouble, do you think you might be able to move your car from the end of the driveway pretty soon? To:  Would you please move your car in fifteen minutes? It’s blocking the rest of us in the driveway, and I have to be at the doctor’s office in an hour. Thank you.   Negative connotations, outright insults, and any other text that detracts should be stricken from any generic writing or discussion.   HONEY + WIIF THEM? Have you considered all options, and have you honestly tried to do so objectively? Don’t be too hasty. The old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” can be helpful in practice. When you need readers or listeners to see your side of a problem and to do their best for you, you really should cover your assets and prove why they should help you. Also, you should end your letter or conversation with a pleasantly direct request that asks for exactly what you need and, if applicable, requests or suggests that the issue be resolved by a certain date or time. Show what’s in it for them and for you, and keep your writing thorough but brief. Along the way, correct punctuation can clarify intent and meaning. Keep doing your best in writing/editing and speaking, always with your readers or listeners in mind.   LIKE...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON: July 14, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON: July 14, 2017   GREAT NEWS! Dancing with the Stars just earned 7 Emmy Award nominations: 1-5:  “Outstanding” Costumes, Makeup, Hairstyling, Lighting,   Camera/Video Costumes for Variety Nonfiction or Reality Programming, Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (non-prosthetic) Technical Direction, Camera Work, Video Control for a Series   6-7:  “Outstanding Choreography”! Derek Hough, “Kairos” Mandy Moore, “On Top of the World” and “Carol of the Bells” We all know that everything Derek does is fabulous and that certain of his choreographies are absolutely mind blowing. What he accomplishes gives tribute to the stunning training that he (along with sister Julianne and Mark Ballas) received as children in Europe. He really deserves to win! And I don’t say that to take anything away from the awesome Mandy Moore. She, too, has become a dance legend in her own right. You don’t get chosen to choreograph for an entire show of a dozen or more dancers by not having your ducks in the best row possible. Both of these nominees are truly amazing and deserving. I’m not sure about your level of excitement, but I can’t wait to see whether one or both of them will win! If they do win, I hope that their winning choreographies will be shown on the Emmys, at least in part, so that we can be reminded visually of what’s winning and we can celebrate all the harder with them. MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  69th annual Emmy Awards–Sunday, September 17th—on CBS (not ABC, where DWTS shows). DWTS has tough competition again in “So You Think You Can Dance” and also in “The Real O’Neals,” so keep your fingers crossed.   DIDN’T RECEIVE MY POSTS?  If you know someone who signed up for this blog not long ago but has not received posts, please encourage that person to sign up again. A few days ago we discovered that some registrations recently were grabbed by our spam folder (no clue why), so we just instructed our e-mail program that all new user registrations must go only to our inbox. Thank you!        ...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: July 13, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: July 13, 2017 It’s official! Julianne Hough married Brooks Laich and Peta married Maksim Chmerkovskiy, both this past Saturday, July 8. Peta and Maks had advertised for many months that they would have a big and fancy wedding, and they did; they tied the knot at Oheka Castle on Long Island, NY. Can you imagine? An actual castle! “US Weekly” covered it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Julianne and Brooks exchanged vows very simply in a field adjacent to Coeur D’Alene Lake in Idaho. “People” Magazine was there for this one. Both sound lovely, and you might find photos and narrative on them at those Web sites. Word #1 is that the brides’ dresses, arrangements, locations, etc. suited their personalities perfectly. Word #2 is that because Peta and Julianne run in different circles, there was very little difficulty about which well-wishers would go where. Of course, Val and Jenna attended Peta and Maksim’s wedding and showed some PDAs in the process. Will Carrie Ann be next? We hope to learn her and Robb’s plans soon. Not too long after that, I’d like to hear whether Emma and Sasha have reached some decisions for their own special wedding plans. Which pro(s) get your vote(s) to win a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Choreography on Dancing With The Stars? The qualifying nomination period seems to be from late spring 2016 to the end of the 2017 spring season. I think that Emma should be in there for sure, and a few others. Julianne and Derek’s special performance this spring also could be a contender. Write in about this and we’ll talk about it. Season 25 is only 2 months away! In mid-September Dancing With The Stars will return for a fall season, probably opening with the usual glitz and glamour and excitement. Isn’t that what we want? You bet it is! Do you have any DWTS news to share? Bring it on! See you back here very soon! Take care.  ...

WRITING: Are We Almost There? July 6, 2017

WRITING:  Are We Almost There?                                          July 6, 2017   Are “almost” and “nearly” interchangeable in writing and speaking? I don’t think I ever heard anyone say “nearly” when I was growing up. Instead, as far as I can recall, everyone said “almost.” Of course, down the line in my education I learned about its similarity to “almost.” I must admit it: “Almost” is the first word I think of whenever I’m mentioning not quite getting there. To many of us their definitions are identical. So, are they interchangeable? Most of the time. The differences seem to come regionally and in people’s educational levels and social standing. “Nearly” seems to be more sophisticated. Using one versus the other really is not a big deal, though. You can take it from here.   Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus.    ...

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