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Dec 30, 2014
Effective writing skills can save time for your readers in understanding, reduce misinterpretations, and drive the end result you wish to achieve. Use these hacks to boost your productivity at work!
#1. It’s vs. Its
• “12 most unforgivable writing mistakes” by Jacqui MacKenzie (Ragan) http://bit.ly/1vqzoJ2
• “7 Awkward (But Common) Grammar Mistakes” by Lisa Toner (HubSpot) http://bit.ly/1xXzGrM
• “11 Infographics That Will Help You Improve Your Grammar and Spelling” by Aleksandra
Todorova (Visual.ly) http://bit.ly/1yih30D
• “10 Functions of the Comma” by Mark Nichol (Daily Writing Tips) http://bit.ly/1zZz1W8
• “Rules for Capitalization in Titles” by Carla Lowe (Daily Writing Tips) http://bit.ly/1HJSRd6
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For Effective Communication at Work
It’s = a contraction of “it is” or
Its = a possessive pronoun
indicating an object belonging
#2. Affect vs. Effect
Affect = verb meaning “to
Effect = noun referring to the
outcome or result
#3. Then vs. Than
Then = used to indicate
Than = used when making
#11. Commas (8 uses)
1. Separate elements in a series:
“Our growth is affected by the
market size, competition, the
economy, and product
Q: Do we need a comma
before the last element?
“…economy, and product
This is called an “Oxford comma.”
A: It’s up to you. But…
Sometimes, not using the Oxford
comma can cause ambiguities,
especially in longer, more complex
Whether you choose to use the
Oxford comma or omit it, make
sure you stay consistent throughout
the same piece of writing.
2. Separate independent clauses:
An independent clause is a sentence
that can stand on its own.
“I like the Marx Brothers, but she
thinks they’re too silly.”
If the second part of the sentence
makes a complete sentence on its
own, add a comma. If it doesn’t,
leave it out.
3. Separate introductory word or
“Last month, we had a 15%
increase in revenue.”
4. Separate an optional
“We have, in a manner of
speaking, won despite our loss.”
Use ‘–’ em dashes, instead of
commas, to emphasize the
interruption of the statement.
Use ‘( )’ parentheses to diminish the
optional element as an aside.
5. Separate coordinate
Coordinate adjectives are adjectives
that parallel each other in modifying
“Ivan shared a brilliant, innovative
idea at the team meeting this
6. In letters and emails:
Use a colon in a formal salutation.
7. In numbers:
8. In dates:
“January 1, 2015”
#4. A lot vs. Alot
“We received a lot of feedback
from the team on the new
Alot is not a word!
#5. Lose vs. Loose
Lose = verb (past tense: lost)
Loose = adjective referring to
something that doesn’t fit or
#6. Fewer vs. Less
Fewer = use with countable
Less = use with uncountable
#7. Farther vs.
Farther = used to indicate
distance or length
Further = used to indicate more
of something, as in furthermore
#8. Principal vs.
Principal = noun: highest in rank
or the main participant;
adjective: the most important of
Principle = noun referring to a
fundamental truth, law or
#9. i.e. vs. e.g.
i.e. = id est, latin term which
means “that is” or “in other
e.g. = exempli gratia, latin term
which means “for example”
• First and last word in a title
• All nouns, pronouns, verbs,
adjectives, adverbs, and
subordinating conjunctions (as,
• “to” as part of an infinitive
• All articles (a, the), prepositions
(to, at, in, with), and
coordinating conjunctions (and,
Never use hyphens for:
• Fractions, used as nouns
• Verb and preposition
combinations (“look out”)
• Between adverbs, ending in “-ly”
and adjectives (“beautifully
Use hyphens for:
• Prefixes (“ex-”, “self-”, “all-”)
• Avoid confusion (“re-lay” vs.
Beware of arbitrary
“You can sit in the Best Cubicle
with a View today.”
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