May 2013  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

—Neil Gaiman

UpWrite Press will be attending the ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) 2013 Conference.

We’ll be at booth 1622. Please stop by and visit.

One lucky organization will receive a free pilot training package!

Word Pair of the Month: partly, partially

Okay, let’s get picky. Both of these words are adverbs that mean “incompletely”; but there is a delicate difference between the terms. Partly literally means “not in all parts,” while partially means “not totally.” It’s similar to the difference between the adjectives fewer and less: fewer is used when speaking of something that can be counted (as partly may be used) while less refers to something that cannot be counted (as partially may be used). In example, you would have fewer eggs in a carton that is partly full, but less water in a glass that is partially full.

For more about this distinction, check H. W. Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, or visit Merriam Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary online.

May Writers’ Forum Question

Every office puts out memos, and on occasion a memo will seem (shall we say it?) silly. Share with us the “funniest” memo you’ve seen. (Please withhold names of individuals and companies. We will publish these anonymously.)

No one volunteered any submissions this time around (it can be a sensitive subject), so we thought we’d share a pair of links to instructive examples online.

  • “Heating Issues”: Sometimes there’s a valid reason to avoid direct language in business writing. This isn’t one of those cases. Don’t let indirect language become such a habit that it colors all your writing.
  • “Re: The Corporate World”: This meandering paragraph starts off seemingly positive and ends apparently negative. Also bear in mind that it’s merely an excerpt from a longer message. We can only imagine the reader’s confusion after wading through the entire thing. The lesson: Keep messages short and focused in order to be clear.

You also might enjoy Business Insider's list of "17 Ridiculous Office Rules That Companies Actually Enforce."

A Final Thought

With the nicer spring weather blowing in, take some time to enjoy it. Park a little farther from the office, or bicycle to work if you can. At the very least, get out on your lunch break and walk a little, focusing on the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors. If you are near a park, enjoy the greenery and blossoms before heading back to work. A little fresh air will make your afternoon a lot more pleasant.

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Coming in June

The Traits of Writing: Organization

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