August 2014  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Test Your Writing Acumen

Sentences are the basic building blocks of all writing. In English, to be complete, a sentence requires a subject and a predicate, and it must express a complete thought. Do you fall victim to the incomplete-sentence syndrome, that of writing sentences that are missing one or more vital elements? Test your understanding by marking each of the following word groups as a complete (C) or an incomplete (I) sentence.

  1. Because we feel that the new guidelines are critical to our success.
  2. Believing that the project was effective.
  3. Bettina was in charge of finding the contractors for the job.
  4. The manager who achieved the highest weekly sales numbers.
  5. Be prepared to challenge any plans presented at the meeting.
  6. If the advantages will far outweigh the problems.
  7. Provides a solid basis for the hypothesis.
  8. In spite of all his good intentions.

You can check your answers at the end of this newsletter.

Filling Out Forms

Forms are everywhere, and filling them out is a common business task. Besides the tax forms, fax forms, order forms, invoice forms, employment forms, financial forms, legal forms, and incident forms, there are forms for leasing equipment, contracting for services, registering bylaws, and more. Here are some tips to help you fill out any form precisely and completely.

  • Prewrite. Although filling out a form seems simple (after all, you’re just filling in blanks), read through the entire form before writing anything. Then gather all the necessary information to complete it.
  • Draft. Read the directions carefully and fill in the blanks completely and correctly. Be as thorough as possible.
  • Revise. After you’re finished, review your responses. Have you completed every field? Are your answers complete and correct?
  • Refine. Go over all spelling, especially of any names used. Double-check any numbers or data to be sure they are exact and correct.

Finally, if you are filling in a form by hand, use a good-quality pen to avoid skips or blots. Also, most forms require that you print rather than use cursive. In either case, be certain your penmanship is legible.

You can find more about filling out forms beginning on page 141 in Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace.

Trainer Tip

Two elements that are key to any training program are understanding and reward. If employees understand why they need the training and how it will benefit them, whether that’s moving up the pay scale or adjusting to new procedures or equipment, they will be more receptive and ready to absorb the information. Other rewards may involve personal satisfaction, job security, or extra time off.

That Little Extra

When you do something day after day, week after week, month after month, you may lose sight of why you went into your field in the first place. Put the passion back in your work by remembering the “why” of your job. Make a list of the positive aspects of your work and jot down your favorite moments on the job. Consider especially how your job allows you to connect with others and improve their lives. When you focus on what is good and right about your work, each day will seem brighter and more purposeful.

   

August 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 is the most important writing rule you use in your business communications?

Email your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write “August 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. Because we feel that the new guidelines are critical to our success.
    (I)ncomplete. The word “because” is a subordinating conjunction, making this an adverb clause and an incomplete thought.
  2. Believing that the project was effective.
    (I)ncomplete. This is a participial phrase that functions as an adjective.
  3. Bettina was in charge of finding the contractors for the job.
    (C)omplete. The sentence contains a subject and a predicate and forms a complete thought.
  4. The manager who achieved the highest weekly sales numbers.
    (I)ncomplete. This is a subject without a predicate.
  5. Be prepared to challenge any plans presented at the meeting.
    (C)omplete. Though this sentence appears to lack a subject, the subject is the understood “you.”
  6. If the advantages will far outweigh the problems.
    (I)ncomplete. This is the first half of a conditional sentence, one that states a wish or condition contrary to fact. It needs a final thought to complete it. (If the advantages will far outweigh the problems, implement the plan.)
  7. Provides a solid basis for the hypothesis.
    (I)ncomplete. This is a predicate without a subject.
  8. In spite of all his good intentions.
    (I)ncomplete. This is a prepositional phrase that functions as an adverb.

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 Communication Process

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