Posted by: episystechpubs | September 13, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Adverse or Averse?

Adverse and averse are an especially tricky word pair. Not only are they just one letter apart; they also both suggest negative feelings towards something.

Here are Merriam-Webster’s definitions for adverse and averse:

  • adverse: acting against or in a contrary direction; opposed to one’s interests; harmful
  • averse: having an active feeling of repugnance, dislike, or distaste

Here are some mnemonics to help you remember the difference between adverse and averse, along with some examples from recent newspaper headlines.

Tip: Adverse and bad both contain the letter D. If something is adverse, it is bad.

“Why an adverse drug reaction needs to be reported immediately” (Standard Digital). An adverse reaction is a bad reaction.

“Adverse weather, fruit fly attacks hit mango production this season” (Times of India). Adverse weather is bad weather.

Tip: Averse and avoid both start with av-. If you’re avoiding something, you are averse to it.

“Help your budget-averse college student” (Post-Bulletin). College students avoid budgets. They are budget-averse.

“Averse to owning? Auto subscription services bundle car, insurance, maintenance” (Insurance Journal). Are you avoiding owning a car? You are averse to owning.

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

Did someone forward this email to you? Click here to subscribe.

Don’t want to get Editor’s Corner anymore? Click here to unsubscribe.

Do you have a question or an idea for Editor’s Corner? Send your suggestions or feedback to Kara, <a href="mailto:DBurcher, Jackie, or <a href="mailto:BRitter.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
8985 Balboa Avenue | San Diego, CA 92123
619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 | www.Symitar.com

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Posted by: episystechpubs | September 11, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Revisiting Salutations

Hello! Good morning! Salutations!

A few times a year, I am asked by our readers about appropriate greetings for letters and emails. Even more often, readers ask about how to properly end a correspondence. Here is some great information from a newsletter I receive from GrammarBook.com. It includes information, explanations, and examples of polite, acceptable ways to communicate with business associates.

A business relationship can be close or distant; in either case, the careful writer will remain aware of a professional context with proper boundaries and degrees of distance.

The salutation Dear (Name) can be used as the writer sees appropriate in business correspondence. The name can be the recipient’s first name, full name, or last name preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Ms. If unsure of a recipient’s gender, include the full name and exclude the prefix.

Salutations in business correspondence are followed by a colon if formal, or a comma if informal.

Examples

Dear Susan, (informal, closer relationship)
Dear Mr. Welsh: (formal, relationship not as close)
Dear Mrs. Martinez: (formal, you know she prefers “Mrs.” over “Ms.”)
Dear Ms. Martinez: (formal, she prefers “Ms.” or you aren’t sure of her preference)
Dear Macy Stapleton: (formal, relationship not close)
Dear Tyler Clancy: (formal, gender not known)

In any event, be diligent about spelling names correctly, including a person’s use of hyphens and second capital letters (e.g., Sheila Perkins-McMurtry as opposed to Sheila Perkins Mcmurtry).

In today’s business communication, careful writers will avoid the once-acceptable salutations Dear Sir or Madam and To Whom It May Concern. Such openings suggest the sender did not take time to learn basic details about the recipient, which may not make the best first impression.

To close business correspondence, you can use one of several commonly accepted sign-offs as you believe fit. [KC – Note the case used with these: the initial word is uppercase, and the rest of the words are lowercase. You would follow these sign-offs with a comma and your name.]

Respectfully yours

Kind (or Best) regards

Sincerely yours

With regards

With many thanks

All the best

Sincerely

Best wishes

Cordially

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | September 6, 2018

Editor’s Corner: This is She

Good morning!

I’ve been asked this question quite a few times: “When someone calls on the phone and asks for me, should I respond, ‘This is her’ or ‘This is she’”?

Well, between those two choices, the correct response is “This is she,” and I’ll tell you why. He and she are nominative, meaning they are the subject of the verb. He and she are subjects; him and her are objects. These examples might help:

  • She (subject) gave me a big tip.
  • I (subject) gave a big tip to her (object).

To better understand why “This is she” is correct, maybe it will help to switch the words around. You’ll find that “she is this” makes more sense that “her is this.”

But you do have other choices. If someone calls and asks for you, you can respond with your name, for instance, I would say, “This is Donna.” Or you could simply say, “Speaking.”

Or if you’re in a feisty mood, don’t even give them a chance to ask for you:

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

Did someone forward this email to you? Click here to subscribe.

Don’t want to get Editor’s Corner anymore? Click here to unsubscribe.

Do you have a question or an idea for Editor’s Corner? Send your suggestions or feedback to Kara, <a href="mailto:DBurcher, Jackie, or <a href="mailto:BRitter.

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Posted by: episystechpubs | September 4, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Apart vs. A Part

Dear readers,

In an effort to unclutter your mail boxes, we are trying out a new schedule for Editor’s Corner, starting today. We will be sending you articles twice a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please note the new subscription options at the bottom of each email. If you have comments, questions, ideas, or suggestions for us, feel free to use the link (also below), or just send me a reply.

Thank you all for reading our articles. We hope you find that they are informative and fun. Now for today’s tidbit!

*****************************************************************

Good morning, my little dumplings! I hope you are having a great day so far.

Today, unlike most days, I have a simple message and lesson for you. We are going to talk about the single word “apart,” versus the two words “a part.” Yes, I’ve heard reports that some people here don’t seem to know the difference, so let’s have a look.

apart: (adverb) separated by distance; aside; to one side

Examples:

  • As the two friends aged, their interests grew apart.
  • Apart from salt and pepper, my spice drawer is empty.
  • Bob stood apart from the other dancers; he never liked the smell of men in tights.

a part: (noun) a piece of something; a component; some (but not all) of something; a role in a play or movie; the part of the scalp that shows when you comb a line in your hair

Examples:

  • Josie got a part in the musical Evita.
  • A part of my heart froze when I saw my first gray hair.
  • I have that puzzle, but a part of it is missing and I can’t finish it.
  • I like to wear a part in my hair on the right side.

When you’re writing, consider what you’re talking about. Are you using an adverb? Is something getting separated from something else? You probably need to use apart. Are you talking about a piece of something or a noun? You can probably use a part.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | August 30, 2018

Editor’s Corner: In Behalf of and On Behalf of

Good morning! I’ll assume you’ve had your coffee or tea or Unicorn Frappuccino® and dive right in.

Although they are not phrases we use much in technical writing, the phrases I’m discussing today are fairly common, and they are often misused, so I thought you might like to know the difference and know how to use them correctly.

The phrases are in behalf of and on behalf of. And while many people use the phrases interchangeably, they actually have different meanings. Let’s take a look.

In behalf of means “for the benefit, advantage, or interest of.” It means that someone is acting as an agent, friend, or benefactor. You can think of in behalf of as helping someone. Here are some examples of sentences that use in behalf of correctly:

  • Employees raised $4,000 in behalf of the fire victims.
  • The wealthy patron donated enough money to open a temporary shelter in behalf of the animals displaced by the hurricane.

In contrast, on behalf of means “as the agent of,” “in place of,” or “on the part of.” You can think of on behalf of as representing someone or something. Here are some examples of how to use the phrase on behalf of:

  • The social worker spoke eloquently on behalf of the 11-year-old child.
  • I would like to thank you on behalf of my colleagues who couldn’t be here tonight.
  • Karen has power of attorney, so she can sign the documents on behalf of her father.

And, to help you draw a clearer distinction, here’s an example of both terms used in one sentence:

  • The teachers are meeting with the school board on behalf of their students to finalize plans for a student-run program that provides free school supplies in behalf of transient children.

Most people use on behalf of in both instances. But we’re not most people; so, to recap, you should use in behalf of when you’re talking about helping someone, and you should use on behalf of when you’re talking about representing someone or something else.

Enjoy your day!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Posted by: episystechpubs | August 29, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Palate, Palette, Pallet

Today, I’m going to discuss three commonly confused words: palate, palette, and pallet. I’ll also give you some tips to remember how to spell each word correctly.

Palate

Here’s the definition of palate (from Merriam-Webster):

  • palate: the roof of the mouth separating the mouth from the nasal cavity

Palate can also refer more generally to the sense of taste (as in the phrase, “serves Korean food adapted for the American palate”).

How to Remember Palate

That food you ate was pleasing to your palate. Palate contains the word ate.

Palette

Here’s the definition of palette (from Merriam-Webster):

  • palette: a thin oval or rectangular board or tablet that a painter holds and mixes pigments on

Palette can also refer to a range of elements (other than paint). For example, the Laredo Morning Times recently used the headline, “Jack White expands palette on solo tour,” meaning that the former White Stripes guitarist drew from a range of musical styles.

How to Remember Palette

The suffix -ette (“little”) is common in French, and there are many famous French painters. Imagine a French painter mixing colors on a palette.

Pallet

Here’s the definition of pallet (from Wiktionary):

  • pallet: a portable platform, usually designed to be easily moved by a forklift, on which goods can be stacked for transport or storage

How to Remember Pallet

You can use a wooden pallet as firewood. But first, you need to break it up with a mallet. Pallet is spelled like mallet.

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

Did someone forward this email to you? Click here to subscribe.

Don’t want to get Editor’s Corner anymore? Click here to unsubscribe.

Do you have a question or an idea for Editor’s Corner? Send your suggestions or feedback to Kara, <a href="mailto:DBurcher, Jackie, or <a href="mailto:BRitter.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
8985 Balboa Avenue | San Diego, CA 92123
619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 | www.Symitar.com

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Posted by: episystechpubs | August 28, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Coin a Phrase

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve discussed some terms and mentioned when and where these terms and phrases were coined. Now, someone has asked me about the term “coin a phrase.” Coining a phrase, as many of you know, means to create a new phrase. But where did this come from?

Here’s what I found out from The Phrase Finder:

…Coining, in the sense of creating, derives from the coining of money by stamping metal with a die. Coins—also variously spelled coynes, coigns, coignes, or quoins—were the blank, usually circular, disks from which money was minted. This usage derived from an earlier 14th century meaning of coin, which meant wedge. The wedge-shaped dies which were used to stamp the blanks were called coins and the metal blanks and the subsequent ‘coined’ money took their name from them.

Coining later began to be associated with inventiveness in language. In the 16th century the “coining” of words and phrases was often referred to. By that time the monetary coinage was often debased or counterfeit and the coining of words was often associated with spurious linguistic inventions; for example, in George Puttenham’s The arte of English poesie, 1589:

"Young schollers not halfe well studied… will seeme to coigne fine wordes out of the Latin."

Shakespeare, the greatest coiner of them all, also referred to the coining of language in Coriolanus, 1607:

"So shall my Lungs Coine words till their decay."

Quoin has been retained as the name of the wedge-shaped keystones or corner blocks of buildings. Printers also use the term as the name for the expandable wedges that are used to hold lines of type in place in a press. This has provoked some to suggest that “coin a phrase” derives from the process of quoining (wedging) phrases in a printing press. That is not so. “Quoin a phrase” is recorded nowhere and “coining” meant “creating” from before the invention of printing in 1440…

“Coin a phrase” itself arises much later than the invention of printing—the 19th century in fact. It appears to be American in origin—it certainly appears in publications there long before any can be found from any other parts of the world. The earliest use of the term that I have found is in the Wisconsin newspaper The Southport American, July 1848:

"Had we to find… a name which should at once convey the enthusiasm of our feelings towards her, we would coin a phrase combining the extreme of admiration and horror and term her the Angel of Assassination."

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

Did someone forward this email to you? Click here to subscribe.

Don’t want to get Editor’s Corner anymore? Click here to unsubscribe.

Do you have a question or an idea for Editor’s Corner? Click here to provide suggestions or feedback.

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Posted by: episystechpubs | August 27, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Kitty

I recently wrote an article about slush funds, and I received a fascinating tale from one of you readers who used to work in a bank. From Marilyn:

Internal auditors went crazy when they discovered tellers who had a “kitty” for balancing at the end of the day. Bad tellers would hide the amount they were out of balance (if over for the day) and use it for the day they ended up short. One day, the internal auditor found, in her opinion, a large “kitty” (less than $5) that an absent teller had stashed away in her paper clip tray. She gasped and said “Oh boy! Just look at the kitty I found today!”

Why is a teller’s “illegal” fund called a kitty?

I’m familiar with the term “kitty” when playing cards, to refer to the money or chips that people put down for bets. I am guessing that the teller’s stash is being referred to similarly, as a small collection of funds. Let’s see what else we can find out from Merriam-Webster and the Online Etymology Dictionary!

From M-W:

kitty (noun):

1: a small bowl or other receptacle

2a

(1): a fund in a poker game accumulated by taking one or two chips from each large pot and used (as to pay expenses or buy refreshments) for the players

(2): a pool that belongs to all players in a game but that participates in the scoring or settlement of certain hands as though it were a player opposed to the bidder

2b: a sum of money or collection of goods usually accumulated by occasional small contributions and often administered by or for the contributors: pool, fund

<enough in the kitty to make the trip — E. K. Gann>

<a campaign kitty raised by oil and utility companies — Time>

<the ground crew’s kitty of cigarettes — Saul Levitt>

2c: (called) the widow in skat, pinochle, and other games (also called the blind)

And from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

kitty (n.2)

"pool of money in a card game," 1884, American English, of uncertain origin. OED connects it with kit (n.1) in the 19c. sense of "collection of necessary supplies;" but perhaps it is rather from northern England slang kitty "prison, jail, lock-up" (1825), a word itself of uncertain origin.

By the Widow, or as it is more commonly known as "Kitty," is meant a percentage, taken in chips at certain occasions during the game of Poker. This percentage may be put to the account of the club where the game is being played, and defrays the cost of cards, use of chips, gas, attendance, etc. The Kitty may, however, be introduced when no expenses occur. ["The Standard Hoyle," New York, 1887]

I prefer this kind of kitty. One hundred percent legal and extremely tender!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Posted by: episystechpubs | August 23, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Expletives at the Beginning of Your Sentence

Good morning! For some time now, I’ve wanted to cover the overuse of grammatical expletives to start sentences. But it’s been difficult to figure out how to explain this quasi-rule simply. I think it would be best to start with a definition: grammatical expletives are words and phrases that do not “add to sense or meaning.” You can think of them as filler. Swear words are a type of expletive—they don’t add grammatical value; they are emotional filler. But swear words are not the expletives I will be dealing with today: at least not during work hours!

I want to discuss a particular expletive that people often use to begin sentences: There is/There are. Although I don’t know of a specific rule that says you cannot start sentences with these words, experts agree that, usually, they just clutter your writing.

Using a few examples, I’ll show you that the words There is/There are, in many cases, are not necessary at the beginning of a sentence. Often, this expletive—like empty calories in your diet—doesn’t add any nutritional value.

Sentence beginning with expletive Sentence without expletive
There is a madman that lives in the house on the hill. A madman lives in the house on the hill.
There is a Membership Status field in the Account record that allows credit unions to designate a non-member status. The Membership Status field in the Account record allows credit unions to designate a non-member status.
There are five different types of parameters involved in inventory control for traveler’s checks. Five different types of parameters are involved in inventory control for traveler’s checks.
There are a variety of settings or user preferences that I can change for you. I can change a variety of settings or user preferences for you.
There are jobs running. Jobs are running

I am not saying that you should never use There is/There are to start a sentence. Sometimes the phrase cannot be edited out as simply as I’ve shown above, and sometimes the phrase is useful. For example, you might choose to say, “There is no reason to be upsetrather than “Don’t be upset.”The later sounds a little too much like an order. You always need to consider the situation, your tone, who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about, etc. But for the purposes of professional, minimalist writing, you’ll find you can usually omit this expletive or revise your sentence to make it more concise.

What I’m asking you to do is this: when you are writing in a professional capacity, and you start a sentence with there is or there are, ask yourself if you can revise the sentence to get rid of the expletive. If you can, you probably should, just for the sake of cleaner, clearer writing.

If you want more information on this topic, check out these links:

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Posted by: episystechpubs | August 22, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Slush Fund

Dear Editrix,

What is a slush fund?

Sincerely,

Curious in Cincinnati

Dear Curious,

This was certainly an interesting read, although I hope your tummy’s ready for the etymology! Here is the definition of a slush fund and its etymology from Wikipedia:

A slush fund, also known as a black fund, is a fund or account maintained for corrupt or illegal purposes, especially in the political sphere. Such funds may be kept hidden and maintained separately from other funds that are used for legitimate purposes. They may be employed by government or corporate officials as part of efforts to discreetly pay influential people in return for preferential treatment, advance information (for example, to acquire non-public information in financial transactions) or some other service

The term slush fund was originally a nautical term: the slush was the fat or grease skimmed from the top of the cauldron when boiling salted meat. Ship officers would sell the fat to tallow makers, with the resulting proceeds kept as a slush fund for making small purchases for the ship’s crew.

Of course, I don’t like political corruption very much, so I prefer maintaining a slushie fund instead. Here’s what the internet has to say about the Slurpee® and slushie arena:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Older Posts »

Categories