Tag Archive for: business writing

affect or effect

Affect or Effect?

 

2024 Grammar-for-Grownups Top 10

 

Number 8: Affect and Effect

 

This question pops up in almost every #IAAP CAPstone Business Writing Specialty Certificate course, and this semester’s cohort had the same question.

 

Question: “Mandi, is there a trick to remembering when to use affect or effect?”

 

Answer: Oh, how I wish there were a simple gimmick to help us remember when to use affect or effect. Alas, that’s why it’s so tricky; there’s no sure-fire memorable saying to help with this sometimes confusing word choice. And, it’s not as simple as saying affect is a verb and effect is a noun. So, how do we know when to use which word?

 

Below is what I shared with the cohort. It boils down to word substitution—but I’ve found it really works.

 

Effect is a noun. When effect is being used as a noun, it means “result.”

 

One effect of Tropical Storm Bob was closed beaches in Mobile Bay.

 

Translation: One result of Tropical Storm Bob was closed beaches in Mobile Bay.

 

Another way to look at it is if you can put an or the in front of it, use effect.

 

Affect is a verb. When affect is being used a verb, it means “to change or influence.”

 

Tropical Storm Bob affected our vacation plans.

 

Translation: Tropical Storm Bob changed our vacation plans.

 

Life would be sweet if it really were that simple, but here’s the catch. Effect also can be used as a verb. And when effect is a verb, it means “to cause.” [Think of cause and effect.]

 

This new HR policy will effect a change in our organizational chart.

 

Translation: This new HR policy will cause a change in our organizational chart.

 

This word substitution works for me. I’m curious if you have any other memorable tricks for effect and affect—and effect. Please share in the comments.

 

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

Prefer Performance to Chronology in Your Résumé

It’s Interview Time: What’s the One Detail Most Interviewees Forget?

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

irregardless

Is it “Irregardless” or “Regardless”?

2024 Grammar-for-Grownups Top 10

Number 10: Irregardless

 

We just completed the eight-week intensive #IAAP CAPstone Business Writing Specialty Certificate course. Congratulations to the 48 participants who completed the course requirements successfully! It was my pleasure to work with you and get to know you during our time together, even though most of it was on Zoom.

 

During the final two weeks of the course, we focused on the rewriting phase of the overall business writing process. Participants emailed questions throughout the week, and we answered them during our Friday Feature session on Zoom. We called it the Friday Feature because we featured the grammar, punctuation, and capitalization questions that puzzled some of us. I’ve whittled these questions into a Top 10 list. These were the most regularly asked questions during the course. We’ll begin with number 10.

 

Question: “As far as wacky words, I have an executive who always uses irregardless instead of regardless. Can you please clarify during our discussion on Friday?”

 

Answer: It won’t take long to answer this one. Irregardless is not grammatically acceptable. Don’t use it. Avoid it when speaking, and definitely don’t write it. Regardless is always the acceptable version.

 

Example: I’ll be at the school regardless of what time the student awards program ends.

 

Example: We decided to rent a car and drive to Kansas City regardless of the 11-hour time commitment.

 

Never use irregardless. You’ll notice even your spellcheck rejects it.

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

Prefer Performance to Chronology in Your Résumé

It’s Interview Time: What’s the One Detail Most Interviewees Forget?

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

 

sticky notes

Sticky Notes to the Rescue

Currently I’m facilitating an eight-week Business Writing Specialty Certificate Course for the CAPstone program through IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals).

During Week Four’s session on weeding out wasted words, one of the participants sent
me this sticky note reminder she now uses as she composes and edits her emails. Sticky
notes to the rescue!

What about you? Do you have sticky notes pasted prominently around your work area?
Please take a photo and share it with us here. We all need reminders—and I can’t wait to
see some of the notes you write to yourself.

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

Prefer Performance to Chronology in Your Résumé

It’s Interview Time: What’s the One Detail Most Interviewees Forget?

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

capitalization competency

Capitalization Competency: More Capital Ideas

Capitalization rules are easy; it’s the exceptions that drive us crazy. 

 

Which is correct?

These reports were provided by the city of Jackson. 

OR

These reports were provided by the City of Jackson.

 

Isn’t this a great question? And, get ready for a lot of twists and turns with the answer. This question exemplifies why capitalization rules are simple—but the exceptions drive us crazy.

 

Correct: These reports were provided by the city of Jackson. 

Capitalize the word city only when it is part of the corporate name of the city as in Kansas City or Mexico City. Otherwise, it is proper to write the city of Overland Park or the city of Madison.

 

So far, so good. Now let’s address the word state. Capitalize the word state only when it follows the name of a state:

 

New York State is a popular destination for international tourists.

Washington State is the nation’s top apple producer.

The state of Mississippi is known for its burgers, blues, and barbeque.

Political candidates flock to the state of Iowa in the month’s leading up to the primary elections.

 

Now, here’s where it gets tricky: Do not capitalize state when used in place of the actual state name.

 

Lesley is an employee of the state.

She is a state employee.

 

However, people working for state government write it as State. Often with internal governmental correspondence, the names of countries, national divisions, and governmental groups, the common noun IS capitalized when replacing the full name. In other words, when the government rather than the actual place is the intended meaning, the word state is usually capitalized.

 

The motion was filed by the State yesterday.

 

Well, this is about as clear as mud. I use four primary style guides as references, and all four books list slightly different rules. Indeed, many of the capitalization rules in the Associated Press Stylebook contradict rules listed in other grammar guides. My recommendation: Refer to the rules I’ve distilled for you above, and be consistent. Be consistent not just within the document but within your entire organization. 

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

Prefer Performance to Chronology in Your Résumé

It’s Interview Time: What’s the One Detail Most Interviewees Forget?

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

Photo by Pieter van de Sande on Unsplash

Grammar Grappler #29: Postpone Reading This Until Later

“Larry decided to postpone sending the email until later that afternoon.”

“I’m going postpone doing my geometry homework until later.

 

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “postpone until later”? It kind of just rolls off the tongue, but it’s poor usage.

Postpone automatically indicates later. If you postpone studying, it means you’re not going to study until later.

So, the practical grammar tip here is to always eliminate “until later.” Just say postpone.

After all, you’ve never heard someone decide to postpone studying until earlier.

 

 

To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

How Do You Handle Virtual Meeting Whiners?

Use this App to Capture Fresh Presentation Ideas

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

Grammar Grappler #26: Is it “free rein” or “free reign”?

A fellow Amory Panther brought this confusing word pair to my attention through Facebook. Let’s see how well you choose the correct word in this sentence: Read more

Grammar Grappler #24: Why Sign it “Sincerely”?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a guideline on how to capitalize complimentary closes for business letters and emails. When your complimentary close is more than one word, you don’t capitalize the second word. For instance: Read more

Grammar Grappler #17: The Tattletale of Email

When do you use bcc: appropriately? Read more

Grammar Grappler #14: Deciding Between That and Which

Time for a quick pop quiz. Please choose the correct word for each of these sentences. Read more

grammar tip

Grammar Grappler #10: Its and It’s and Its’

You will see this word written one of three ways:

Its

It’s 

Its’

How do we know when to use which one correctly? Even seasoned professional proofreaders can get in a hurry and miss this commonly confused and misused word. It’s not tricky when you use this quick and easy proofreading hack. Read more