Susan B. Kline ~ Business Communications

As you consider your goals for 2017, set an intention for professional messages that are clear, concise and correct.

You may have a unique product and great service, and you’re likely passionate about what you do. To be taken seriously in today’s market, however, you also need to deliver a consistent, direct and focused message to your target audience.  With Susan's support you can get an objective analysis of your written and oral communications and identify the most cost-effective approach for your organization's professional development efforts. Contact Susan.

Improving Your Writing Style: Read Widely PDF Print E-mail
Written by Susan Kline   

As far as English grammar and usage go, we learn a lot from spotting and correcting other people’s errors. But we learn just as much from well-written prose when we relish the reading experience and ask ourselves, “Why was that such a pleasure?” A recent article about outer space in a recent NY Times Sunday Magazine (12.11.16 by Chris Jones) was that kind of experience, illustrated in the passage below.

“The vastness of space almost defies conventional measures of distance. Driving the speed limit to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star grouping to the sun, would take 50 million years or so; our fastest current spacecraft would make the trip in a relatively brisk 73,000 years. The next-nearest star is six light-years away. To rocket across our galaxy would take about 23,000 times as long as a trip to Alpha Centauri, or 1.7 billion years, and the Milky Way is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2017 08:38
Questions and Tips from the Hotline PDF Print E-mail
Written by David - a writer on deadline   

Most of us, even very competent writers, makes occasional errors in English usage. How nice that we avoid common mistakes by following a few rules! Here are a few blunders I’ve noted recently that can be easily corrected:

Punctuation: When two words are used as one adjective before a noun, hyphenation is usually correct (part-time employee, bank-affiliated business, Dallas-based company). Omit the hyphen when the first word ends in the letters -ly (highly rated program, nicely balanced sculpture, happily married couple).

Spelling of like-sounding words: One oft-confused pair is lead (heavy as lead) and led (past tense of the verb to lead). Yes, the past tense of to lead is spelled l-e-d (He led the project. She led a hiking group to the summit.)

Extra syllables: A recent news article referred to the President’s act of “commutating” many prison sentences. Wrong. He commuted those inmates’ sentences – even though it’s correct to say the inmates were granted “commutations.” Likewise, one becomes oriented, not “orientated,” and one takes preventive measures, not “preventative” measures. English usage almost always guides us to cut extra syllables.

For prompt answers to all your questions about grammar and English usage, visit the Grammar Hotline.



Last Updated on Friday, 09 December 2016 15:45

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Affect or Effect - How to choose the right one

Of all the troublesome pairs of words in the English language, affect and effect rate at the top of the list—for good reason. Both words sound alike, are related in meaning, and can be used as either subject or verb. But there are easy ways to distinguish them and determine which word you want. 

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