Welcome to thewriterstoolkit.com!

The exercises at this site supplement your textbook. Work through the punctuation and grammar exercises first and then work on writing style. The more you practice, the stronger your skills will become. However, the most important step is applying the principles that you are learning to your own writing.

All the best,    

Dona Young    

 

The Writer's Handbook - A Guide for Social Workers

To purchase this book, click here.

The Writer's Handbook
Brief Contents

Introduction ix
Note to Students xi
Note to Instructors xiii
Note about APA Style xv
Online Learning xvii
Contents xxiii

Part 1: Academic and Professional Writing 1

Chapter 1 Academic Writing 3
Chapter 2 Documentation and Forms 19
Chapter 3 Research and Evidence-Based Practice 33
Chapter 4 Literature Review 51
Chapter 5 Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice 77
Chapter 6 APA Citation Style 89

Part 2: Process and Structure 109

Chapter 7 Writing as Process 111
Chapter 8 Dynamic Sentences 131
Chapter 9 Cohesive Paragraphs and Transitions 155

Part 3: Mechanics of Writing 169

Chapter 10 Comma Rules 171
Chapter 11 Semicolon Rules 193

Part 4: Grammar for Writing 203

Chapter 12 Verbs 207
Chapter 13 Pronouns 227
Chapter 14 Modifiers 245

Part 5: Editing for Clarity 259

Chapter 15 Active Voice 261
Chapter 16 Parallel Structure 273
Chapter 17 Conciseness 283
Chapter 18 Formatting 299

Part 6: More Mechanics 319

Chapter 19 Word Usage 321
Chapter 20 Colons, Dashes, and Ellipses 341
Chapter 21 Capitalization and Number Usage 351
Chapter 22 Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 367

Quick Guide for Job Search Tools 379
Keys to Activities 403
Glossary 419

Introduction

Clear and effective writing is an essential communication skill for social workers. We often share our practice experiences with other professionals through publishing our research, submitting reports to supervisors, judges and doctors, and documenting the experiences of our clients. When a research article or a court report demonstrates critical thinking and is clear, concise, and accurate the reader is more likely to consider the outcomes and recommendations. As a result, our writing impacts countless lives.

Writing is not a gift but a skill that is developed with effort over time. Some people write well because they learned from early training. Others develop those skills later in life. The writing courses required for social work education can help build those skills. Writing, critical thinking, and research are essential skills in the profession.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which accredits social work programs, has identified several core competencies that support the use of effective writing. The first core competency is that students will “identify as a professional social worker and conduct [themselves] accordingly” (2.1.1), including demonstrating “professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication” (CSWE, 2010, p. 3). Communication includes spoken and written communiqués. The ability to write is a necessary skill and part of our professional identity as social workers.

Critical thinking is an essential skill in the profession. Clarifying the importance of critical thinking, the CSWE core competency states that students will achieve the following:

Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments (2.1.3) . . . distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom [and] demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues (CSWE, 2010, p.4)

This competency clearly identifies the importance of written communication in all aspects of service provision.

Academic research leads to evidence-based practice, which is crucial for effective social services. The sixth CSWE core competency directly relates to research. How do we find, understand, and evaluate the evidence that does or does not support a particular policy or treatment approach? This competency states that students will “[e]ngage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research (2.1.6)” including the use of “practice experience to inform scientific inquiry [and] . . . research evidence to inform practice (CSWE, 2010, p. 5). Academic and professional writing requires an effective argument supported by evidence and explaining counter-arguments.

Practitioners must be able to explain to clients and supervisors the reasons one strategy or approach is encouraged over another. Research can support these recommendations and further our ability to be effective practitioners. However, literature reviews demonstrate gaps in the research, and these need to be filled by social work practitioners. The only way social work practitioners will be considered credible by scholarly journals is by conducting ethical research, guided by sound research principles. There are many important discoveries in the field that must be reported through clear scholarly writing. This text will guide you through the principles of scholarly and professional writing.

Remember, no one starts out being able to write well. Many students struggle to develop writing skills just as they struggle with other skills, such as learning math or using a computer effectively. Do not let your struggles hold you back. Writing is a skill that can be learned and developed, and writing skills are essential to the social work professional.

 

Andrea Tamburro, MSW, Ed.D., ACSW              
BSW Program Director              
Indiana University – Northwest Campus              

A Note to Students

Different Voices

As you go through your academic and professional career, you must adapt each piece of your writing for your audience. One aim of this textbook is to assist you in developing your voice—or rather, your various voices. For example, for academic papers, your audience expects a formal style, and that style may include passive voice; in contrast, for your daily professional writing, such as e-mail messages and letters to clients, a less formal, direct style of writing is more effective.

An element of voice is formatting: formatting speaks to your audience at a glance. Each document that you produce, from a simple e-mail message to an academic paper, must be formatted according to guidelines and protocol. Only by developing expert formatting skills will you be able to adapt each piece of your writing for purpose and audience.

Since your academic papers in social work are formatted in the American Psychological Association (APA) style, Chapter 6, “APA Citation Style,” provides information to get you started formatting papers in APA style. (Also note that references at the end of each chapter of this book are formatted in APA citation style.) Moreover, Chapter 18, “Formatting” gives you additional details about APA formatting as well as the guidelines that you need to produce professional letters, memos, and e-mail messages.

Textbook Focus

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers first gives you an overview of the kind of writing that you will do in your field. Then the remainder of the book focuses on principles that lead to correct and credible writing.

     Part 1, Academic and Professional Writing, examines the qualities of academic writing as well as the expectations of professional writing in the field. In Chapter 2, you become familiar with forms used in the day-to-day operations of social work, preparing you to document your practice. Chapters 3 and 4 provide the basics of how to evaluate, conduct, and present research, including a literature review. Chapter 5 gives insight into critical thinking; chapter 6 covers APA citation style, the required style of documentation in your chosen profession.

     Part 2, Process and Structure, reviews core principles for composing and revising. Chapter 7 covers the writing process; chapter 8, the sentence core; and chapter 9, cohesive, coherent paragraphs.

     Part 3, Mechanics of Writing, presents comma and semicolon rules, taking the guessing out of punctuating and reinforcing the sentence core.

     Part 4, Grammar for Writing, covers core elements of structure such as verbs, pronouns, and modifiers.

     Part 5, Editing for Clarity, presents principles that lead to a clear and concise writing style.

     Part 6, More Mechanics, provides correct use of the minor marks of punctuation as well as capitalization and number usage.

Finally, the Quick Guide for Job Search Tools gives a step-by-step process so that you can prepare your career portfolio.

Each chapter builds on the previous, so do not take any shortcuts. By learning foundational principles first, complex topics become easy. This book applies the method of principle and practice: As you learn each principle, practice it until you integrate it into your writing.

In Part 2, you tune into the process of writing, learning first to push through editor’s block. Then in Parts 3 through 6, you learn expert editing skills. Here is your first goal when it comes to the process of writing:

Compose freely and then edit ruthlessly.

By working through each chapter and doing the activities as prescribed, you build your skills, filling knowledge gaps that may keep you from doing your best. To give yourself immediate reinforcement for practice on exercises, refer to Keys to Activities located at the back of the book. For additional practice, visit the book’s website at www.thewriterstoolkit.com.

Learning involves change, and change is challenging, even painful at times. Commit yourself to the learning process as well as the writing process, and you will become an expert editor. Do the work, and you will see the results! Good luck on your journey.

Write to Learn—Edit to Clarify

A Note to Instructors

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers is designed to prepare social work professionals for all types of writing required in their field. In addition to social work content, The Writer’s Handbook covers essential writing topics in a user-friendly format: principles are sequenced from the simple to the complex, using a narrative style to engage learners.

While writing is a core activity in all professions, in the field of social work correct and credible writing is critical: at times, people’s lives depend on it. Therefore, even those who are challenged by writing must become proficient writers to be effective in the field.

A traditional approach to improving writing skills has been to work with learners individually, giving feedback and coaching. Though time-consuming, this approach is powerful; however, significant accountability seems to remain in the hands of the instructor rather than in the hands of the learner.

As an alternative, The Writer’s Handbook quickly gives learners a set of principles on which to base writing decisions. Learners also acquire a common vocabulary to discuss editing, making peer editing activities productive and even fun. The Writer’s Handbook can be used effectively for group instruction or individual study:

  • Present chapters in workshop format.
  • Encourage learners to work on learning activities on their own or with a peer, using the keys at the back of the book or completing the practice exercises at the book’s website, www.thewriterstoolkit.com.

The Writer’s Handbook charts an instructional design that is in tune with the taxonomy of educational objectives. As a result, learners readily fill knowledge gaps that may have been hindering their progress. For example, the taxonomy reveals why learners have a more difficult time with higher-order principles of writing (such as analysis and synthesis) when they do not first understand lower-order principles (such as summarization). The taxonomy also gives insight into how a graduate student can write an insightful analysis of a complex theory but still have difficulty with run-on sentences or subject-verb agreement.

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers aims to provide writers at all levels the tools that they need to succeed in their academic studies as well as their professional careers.

  • Part 1, Academic and Professional Writing, sets the tone by giving learners a clear understanding of the types of writing and the quality that is expected in the field of social work.
  • Part 2, Process and Structure, provides a foundation for composing and editing, from controlling the sentence core to developing cohesive paragraphs.
  • Part 3, Mechanics of Writing, teaches commas and semicolons while further reinforcing the sentence core, ensuring that fragments and run-ons are no longer issues.
  • Part 4, Grammar for Writing, fills knowledge gaps, giving learners insights into their own language patterns and control over them.
  • Part 5, Editing for Clarity, reinforces expert editing skills by having learners apply active voice and parallel structure. Students also learn how to format business documents such as letters, memos, and reports.
  • Part 6, More Mechanics, covers the fine details of editing, such as word usage, colons, apostrophes, capitalization, number usage, and so on.

The Writer’s Handbook also provides instructors and learners with a common vocabulary for punctuation. This approach makes it easier to learn the rules and to provide feedback efficiently. The methodology integrates principles of structure with principles of style so that a learner’s writing becomes clear and concise as well as correct.

Another critical element of all writing is formatting, which speaks to readers at a glance. To help your students gain control of formatting early on, have them review Chapter 18, “Formatting,” and then Chapter 6, “APA Citation Style.”

Experiment using individual chapters as workshops or use them for activity-based learning. If your students need additional practice, have them visit the website, www.thewriterstoolkit.com, for a full range of interactive activities.

To contact me for additional assessments and other supplemental materials, go to www.youngcommunication.com, where you will find a contact form. I look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions.

All the best,              

Dona Young              

Note about APA Style

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers aims to assist writers at all levels build their skills so that they produce correct, clear, and concise writing. Those aims align naturally with the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines for writing. Therefore, principles presented in the book’s chapters on grammar, punctuation, style, and tone all support guidelines presented in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

This book also presents and illustrates basic elements of APA formatting to get learners started. Though covering all elements of APA style is beyond the scope and mission of this book, APA guidelines are noted in various chapters throughout the book. In addition, the following chapters have specific parts dedicated to helping students learn APA formatting and citation:

  • Chapter 4, Literature Review, walks learners through a step-by-step process to write a literature review, providing an example of a student’s paper formatted in APA style.
  • Chapter 6, APA Citation Style, covers basic elements of the style, giving learners another example of APA formatting in which the elements of APA citation style are discussed and illustrated.
  • Chapter 18, Formatting, includes information about APA formatting that writers struggle with, such as setting paragraph controls and creating a running head. In addition, this chapter provides support in creating other professionally written communications, such as e-mail and business letters.
  • Chapter 21, Capitalization and Number Usage, reviews the differences between title case and sentence case as well as provides basic points about how to display numbers in APA documents.
  • The student website, www.thewriterstoolkit.com, provides additional resources.

In addition to basics of APA style, this book aims to assist writers in improving their writing skills in a full spectrum of professional documents, including case documentation as well as daily writing activities, such as e-mail. By improving their writing skills as well as becoming well versed in various styles of formatting, social work graduates will enter the field well equipped for any kind of writing.

In fact, social workers rank at the top of professions in which correct and credible writing is critical. Their clients’ lives depend on it. When a case goes to court, a judge depends on documentation the social worker provides so that a fair decision can be made.

Many books and websites are dedicated to APA style, some of which are published by the American Psychological Association. This book recommends that writers use those primary sources as their ultimate guide for making decisions about details in APA style and formatting.

Online Learning

Online Classes

Communicating effectively online is a critical element of most professions today, and online classes give you an exceptional opportunity to hone your skills to prepare for your career. The following information gives you a general idea of how to participate in online classes.

When you arrive to your online class, review the tabs for the various pages at your online learning site. For example, here are some of the tabs for a typical online class:

  • Home
  • Syllabus
  • Announcements
  • Forums
  • Learning Modules
  • Messages
  • Gradebook
  • Chat Room

Experiment by navigating to each of the tabs that your instructor has included for your class.

Many online classes work in teams, and an important component of online classes is forum discussions. In forums, students post responses to questions and develop dialogues with their teammates.

Forums

By clicking on the tab marked Forums, you will see the current forums that your instructor has posted. Each week or so, your instructor will add new forums for your class. If a forum is locked, it means that your instructor has not yet opened that forum for your class, or the forum is completed and thus closed.

In general, forum consists of two types of activities: substantial postings and discussion responses.

  • A substantial posting is a response to a forum question in which the writer starts a new thread for the posting.
  • A discussion response is a comment in response to a substantial posting.

For each forum, read the full description by clicking on View Full Description so that you clearly understand how to compose your substantial response. Your teammates or classmates will post discussion responses so that together you can develop a dialogue about the topic in that forum.

For substantial postings, summarize key points from your readings. For all postings, use your own words, sharing your insights and giving examples about how you are applying new principles. In other words, do not paraphrase from your readings. By summarizing your own understanding, you are learning principles as well as reinforcing your teammates’ understanding of the readings.

Learning online is a team effort, and when all team members participate fully, the outcomes are outstanding.

  • What is an effective substantial posting?

To write a substantial response, summarize principles from your readings along with your insights and how you are applying what you are learning. Your teammates will respond to your posting by validating your points and adding new information.

P
=    Principle, explain principles and key points from readings
E
=    Evidence, support main points with facts and details
E
=    Examples, give examples and share insights
R
=    Recap, summarize and recommend outcomes or next steps

 

The following is the start of a substantial response:

Chapter 1 covered principles about academic writing, which is also known as scholastic writing because of the stringent requirements for using research effectively and writing in the correct style. For example, in the field of social work, writers must use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation style. Also, when referring to an author, use the author’s last name. Never refer to an author by only his or her first name.

Before reading the next example, use the PEER model to analyze the above: can you find key points, facts, details, or examples?

The following is not a substantial response:

I liked reading the chapter about academic writing because I learned a lot about how to write a paper, which can really be hard at times. Academic writing is important because that’s the kind of writing that is expected in our classes, but I’ve never been really good at writing papers but now I feel more confident.

Can you see the difference between the two postings? In the first example, the writer explains a key principle. In the second posting, the writer does not tie his or her experience to a principle from the chapter.

Substantial postings are generally two to three paragraphs or longer. Effective substantial postings spark a discussion among teammates.

  • What is an effective dialogue posting or response?

As you respond to your teammates, validate points that resonate with your own experience. Add new information to extend the reader’s knowledge, and share how you are applying what you are learning.

S
=    Support, support teammates by making thoughtful postings
A
=    Apply, apply key points and explain your results
V
=    Validate, validate points by sharing your own experiences
E
=    Extend, extend learning by including new information that adds value
R
=    Respect, respect others and the learning environment: learn what is expected, follow best practices, and do the work on time

Support the learning environment by giving feedback without being critical. Be accepting and forgiving, and your teammates will respond in kind.

More about Forums

Even after reading the above, you may still be confused about what a forum is. Your instructor understands that you may feel confused and will patiently guide you through the process.

Do your part by reading course materials and thinking things through. Any new experience is difficult in the beginning—that is why you need to give your best until you understand what is expected. It may take as long as a week to feel comfortable at your class site: every time that you go back, you will feel more confident. The following is an example of a forum.

Here are some questions you might discuss in forum:

  • Forum 1: Introduction and Advocacy Interests
    Instructions: In this forum, you will get to know your classmates. Since supporting social and economic justice is an essential aspect of social work, in your response include information about an issue you advocate.

    1. Share general background information about yourself—what things would you like for us to know about you?
    2. What areas of social work practice interest you and why?
    3. What is an issue that you want to advocate for or against? Please explain the issue and describe how you might do this.
  • Forum 2: Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment

    In some ways, interacting on the Internet is different from interacting in person; however, all communication has some elements in common.

    How can we co-create a respectful and productive learning environment in class and online?

    1. What can classmates do to help you feel safe to express yourself?
    2. What can you do to provide feedback in a supportive and respectful way?
    3. What can classmates do to help you hear and understand their feedback?
    4. If you were to write a list of rules for online etiquette, or “netiquette,” what would be some of your rules?
    5. Finally, describe three ways to have a discussion online that enable members of the discussion to disagree respectfully.

    In each forum, for your substantial response, start a new thread. Please post one paragraph for each topic. Once you have posted your forum, respond to other postings.

Online Classroom Management

Though e-communication is different from face-to-face communication, keep the human elements of communication in mind: your online class is an interactive process among people who have feelings and expectations. Communication is about building relationships based on trust and respect.

Stay in tune with your teammates’ and professor’s expectations by respecting ground rules and following best practices. Manage deadlines by setting internal due dates in advance of the deadlines your professor establishes.

Best Practices Online

To support the context of building relationships based on trust and respect, here are some best practices for online classes.

  1. For all e-mail messages, use a salutation that includes the recipient’s name; also include a closing.
    Best Practices, Email
  2. Always follow standard rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.
  3. Avoid using abbreviations and never use text message language in e-mail messages.
  4. When you reply to a message, do not delete the thread. By leaving the history, your reader understands the context in which to reply to your message.
  5. Update the subject line so that the recipient can file your message effectively.
  6. When you send assignments as e-mail attachments, label your work correctly.
  7. Respect all due dates: if you are not able to meet a due date, ask in advance for an extension.
  8. Before you ask for help, read your syllabus, reading schedule, assignments, e-mail messages, and forum descriptions two or three times.
  9. Read forum instructions before you read an assigned chapter. Then read the chapter thoroughly, highlighting key points, taking notes, and jotting down your insights.
  10. If you wish, compose your forum response in Word and then copy and paste it to your online forum. (If you compose in Word, always allow the site to clean up your work before pasting it.)
  11. When you save an assignment to Word, use the following format to label it: your last name and the specific assignment; separate each part with a dot (no spaces needed); for example:
    Jordan.APA Formatting
  12. Proofread and edit your writing carefully before you post.
  13. Proofread and edit your writing carefully again after you post.
  14. Work independently: try to figure things out on your own before asking questions. This approach prepares you for what will be expected in your profession.
  15. Build your expertise in formatting; review Chapter 18, “Formatting” early on, paying special attention to setting paragraph controls and learning spacing guidelines.
  16. Save and file all class communications; keep track of all of your assignments and grades.
  17. Finally, keep human elements of online communication alive by respecting your classmates and professor: following protocol is one way to show respect.

In summary, to adapt to what is expected:

  • Know best practices and follow them.
  • Use salutations and closings when you write an e-mail.
  • Never use text message language.
  • Label your assignments correctly.
  • Try to figure things out before you ask for help.
  • Post in advance of due dates.

Become confident in your ability to communicate effectively—the more you put into class, the more value you gain.

Contents

Brief Contents vii
Introduction ix
Note to Students xi
Note to Instructors xiii
Note about APA Style xv
Online Learning xvii

Part 1: Academic Writing and Professional Writing 1

Chapter 1: Academic Writing 3

Scholastic Writing 3
Academic Writing and Purpose 4
Response Strategy 5
Viewpoint and Voice 6
Verb Signals 8
Verb Tenses 8
Structure for Academic Papers 9
Thesis Statements 11
The PEER Model 12
Introductory Paragraph 13
Latin Terms for Academic Writing 14
Academic Writing Versus Professional Writing 15
Project-Based Learning Recap 15
Writing Workshop 16

Chapter 2: Documentation and Forms 19

National Association of Social Work (NASW) 20
NASW Standards 20

NASW Standard 1.01 Commitment to Clients 20
NASW Standard 1.07 Privacy and Confidentiality 22
NASW Standard 1.08 Access to Records 23
NASW Standard 3.04 Client Records 24

Social History 24
New Client Intake 26
Treatment Plan 28
Case Notes 29
Recap 31
Writing Workshop 31

Chapter 3: Research and Evidenced-Based Practice 33

Research 33
Collecting and Conducting Research 35
Quantitative Research 36
Qualitative Research 38
Reliability and Validity 38
Credible Research 39
Action Research 42
Interviews 43
Displaying Research 44
Graphics: Charts, Graphs, and Tables 44
Recap 48
Writing Workshop 48

Chapter 4: Literature Review 51

The Process 51
Journal Article Review 52
Critique of the Literature 53
Research and Thinking Skills 55
Project-Based Learning 69
Recap 69
Writing Workshop 70

Chapter 5: Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice 77

Critical, Creative, and Reflective Thinking 77
The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives 78
Reflective Practice 82
DEAL Model 84
Recap 86
Writing Workshop 86

Chapter 6: APA Citation Style 89

Plagiarism 90
What to Credit 90
Working Bibliography 91
APA Citation System 93
APA Style 94
Quotations 103
Recap 107
Writing Workshop 107

Part 2: Process and Structure 109

Chapter 7: Writing as Process 111

Process to Product 112
Pre-Writing and Composing 113
Problem, Purpose, and Plan 115
Planning Tools 117
Composing Tools 120
Proofreading and Editing 121
Revising 122
Voice and Audience 123
Critical Voices 125
Recap 126
Writing Workshop 127
Skills Workshop 129

Chapter 8: Dynamic Sentences 131

What Is a Sentence? 131
What Is the Sentence Core? 132
What Is a Subject? 134
What Is a Grammatical Subject? 134
What Is a Real Subject? 135
What Is a Verb? 136
What Is a Compound Subject? 139
What Is a Compound Verb? 140
What Is a Compound Sentence? 141
What Is a Phrase? 141
What Is a Dependent Clause? 144
How Do You Correct a Fragment? 145
Why Is the Sentence Core Important? 147
Does Sentence Length Affect Readability? 149
What Is Information Flow? 150
Recap 151
Writing Workshop 152

Chapter 9: Cohesive Paragraphs and Transitions 155

Cohesive and Coherent Paragraphs 155
Information Flow 158
Paragraphs and Viewpoint 161
Transitional Sentences 163
Transitional Paragraphs 163
Connectors as Transitions 164
Coordinating Conjunctions 165
Subordinating Conjunctions 165
Adverbial Conjunctions 166
Recap 167
Writing Workshop 168

Part 3: Mechanics of Writing 169

Chapter 10: Comma Rules 171

Rule 1: The Sentence Core Rules (SCR) 172
Rule 2: Conjunction (CONJ) 172
Rule 3: Series (SER) 174
Rule 4: Introductory (INTRO) 176
Rule 5: Nonrestrictive (NR) 177
Rule 6: Parenthetical (PAR) 179
Rule 7: Direct Address (DA) 181
Rule 8: Appositive (AP) 182
Rule 9: Addresses and Dates (AD) 184
Rule 10: Word Omitted (WO) 185
Rule 11: Direct Quotation (DQ) 186
Rule 12: Contrasting Expression or Afterthought (CEA) 188
Recap 189
Writing Workshop 190
Basic Comma Rules (chart) 191

Chapter 11: Semicolon Rules 193

Rule 1: Semicolon No Conjunction (NC) 195
Rule 2: Semicolon Bridge (TRANS) 197
Rule 3: Semicolon Because of Comma (BC) 198
Writing Style: Punctuation and Flow 200
Recap 201
Semicolon Rules (list) 201
Writing Workshop 201

Part 4: Grammar for Writing 203

English and Its Varieties 204
Language Use and Context 205
Global Communication and Formal English 205
Workshop Activity 206

Chapter 12: Verbs 207

Action Verbs (chart) 208
Verbs in Past Time 209
Regular Verbs in Past Time 210
Irregular Verbs in Past Time 211
The –S Form: Third Person Singular 213
Verb Tense and Consistency 214
Active Voice 215
Parallel Structure 217
Mood 219
Past Subjunctive 220
Present Subjunctive 221
Recap 221
Writing Workshop 222
Skills Workshop (Irregular Verb Inventory) 223
Irregular Verb Chart 224
Standard Verb Tenses 225

Chapter 13: Pronouns 227

Personal Pronouns: Four Cases (chart) 228
Subjects Versus Objects 228
Pronouns Following Between and Than 231
Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 233
Point of View and Consistency 235
Relative Pronouns: Who, Whom, and That 237
Relative Pronouns: That and Which 239
Indefinite Pronouns 240
APA Style and Pronoun Usage 241
Recap 244
Writing Workshop 244

Chapter 14: Modifiers 245

Modifiers: The Basics 246
Modifiers and Verbs 247
Comparative and Superlative Modifiers 248
Implied Words in Comparisons 249
Modifiers and Their Placement 250
More on Correct Placement 252
Double Negatives 253
Hedges and Emphatics 254
Fillers and Tag-ons 255
Quantifiers 255
Recap 256
Adjectives and Adverbs (chart) 257
Writing Workshop 258

Part 5: Editing for Clarity 259

Chapter 15: Active Voice 261

Grammatical Subjects Versus Real Subjects 261
Active Voice 262
Passive Voice, the Tactful Voice 264
Nominals 266
APA Style, Active Voice, and Tone 269
Style and Process 270
Recap 270
Writing Workshop 271

Chapter 16: Parallel Structure 273

Nouns 274
Adjectives 274
Phrases 275
Clauses 275
Tenses 276
Lists 277
Correlative Conjunctions 280
Recap 280
Writing Workshop 281

Chapter 17: Conciseness 283

Put Purpose First 284
Eliminate Redundant Pairings 285
Cut Redundant Modifiers 287
Cut Vague Nouns 288
Eliminate the Obvious 289
Update Outdated Phrases 290
Avoid Legalese 291
Use Simple Language 292
Modify Sparingly 294
Edit Out Background Thinking 295
Leave Out Opinions and Beliefs 296
Recap 297
Writing Workshop 297

Chapter 18: Formatting 299

Special Features and White Space 299
Bullet Points and Numbering 300
Formatting Features and Marks 303
Font Size and Color 304
White Space and Balance 304
Paragraph Settings 306
Creating a Header for Letterhead or APA Running Head 307
Parts of a Business Letter 308
Blocked Letter Format 309
E-Mail Messages 310
E-Mail Format 311
Business Memorandum or Memo 312
Fax Cover Sheet 313
Business Letters: Connect - Tell - Act 314
The Direct Message 315
The Indirect Message 315
APA Formatting for Academic Papers and Reports 316
APA Checklist 316
Recap 318
Writing Workshop 318

Part 6: More Mechanics 319

Chapter 19: Word Usage 321

Pretest 322
Section 1: Similar Words: Tricky Combos 323
Section 2: Social Work Terms 330
Section 3: Spelling Tips 333
Section 4: A Sampling of Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes 334
Recap 336
Writing Workshop 336
Posttest 337
Spelling Lists 1 to 5 338

Chapter 20: Colons, Dashes, and Ellipses 341

The Colon 341
The Dash 345
The Ellipses 346
Recap 348
Writing Workshop 349

Chapter 21: Capitalization and Number Usage 351

Section 1: Capitalization 351
Proper Nouns and Common Nouns 352
Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions 353
First Words 354
Hyphenated Terms 354
APA Style: Title Case and Sentence Case 354
Organizational Titles and Terms 355
Two Common Capitalization Errors 355
Global Communication and the Rules 356
Section 2: Number Usage 357
Number Usage in APA Style 358
Dates and Time 360
Address and Phone Numbers 361
Two-Letter State Abbreviations 363
Recap 364
Writing Workshop 365

Chapter 22: Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 367

Section 1: Quotation Marks 367
Quotation Marks with Periods and Commas 368
Quotation Marks with Semicolons and Colons 368
Quotation with Questions and Exclamation Marks 369
Short Quotes and Long Quotes 369
Quotation within a Quotation 369
Section 2: Apostrophes 370
Possessives 370
Inanimate Possessives 372
Contractions 372
Section 3: Hyphens 373
Word Division 373
Compound Modifiers 374
Compound Numbers 374
Prefixes 375
Recap 376
Writing Workshop 377

Quick Guide for Job-Search Tools 379

Career Portfolio 379
Skills, Not Titles or Degrees 380
Transferable Skills 381
Work Experience 387
Business Cards 389
Networking 389
Job-Search Letters 390
Cover Letters 390
Follow-Up Letters and Thank-You Notes 392
The Résumé 394
Chronological Formatting 394
Electronic Formatting (E-Résumés) 396
Quick Introductory Pitch 398
Recap 399
Writing Workshop 399
Résumé Worksheet 401

Keys to Activities 403
Glossary 419

 

The Writer's Handbook - 12 Workshops for Effective Writing

The Writer's Handbook: 12 Workshops for Effective Writing is now available. Click here to buy.

Use The Writer’s Handbook: 12 Workshops for Effective Writing as a supplement to The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers: Together they provide an excellent foundation for a writing class dedicated to social work majors.

For those professors who have adopted the workbook for a class, contact us for the teacher’s manual.

The Writer's Handbook
Brief Contents

About the method ix
Process Messages xi
Contents xiii

Workshop

Chapter 1 Get Started Quickly 1
Chapter 2 Put Purpose First 17
Chapter 3 Punctuate for Purpose, Not Pauses 37
Chapter 4 Keep Verbs Active 55
Chapter 5 Use Pronouns Correctly 71
Chapter 6 Be Concise 85
Chapter 7 Control Your Tone 95
Chapter 8 Use Words Effectively 103
Chapter 9 Avoid Writing Traps 119
Chapter 10 Write Effective Grants and Proposals 135
Chapter 11 Develop a Task-Group Charter 157
Chapter 12 Create Engaging Presentations 183

Best Practices for E-Communication 193

Quick Editing Tips 201

Keys to Activities 207

About the Method

As a supplement to The Writer’s Handbook, this book presents 12 workshops that develop editing skills needed to produce effective writing.

Each workshop can be completed in about an hour. The workshops are sequenced so that one concept leads to the next, simplifying the learning process. The workshops are designed to present a minimum of theory followed by practice. For more detailed explanations, refer to The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers.

  • The first step is gaining control of the writing process. Once you compose as a separate activity from editing, you are ready to build editing skills step by step. This first step is critical to the entire process.
  • The next step is working on the mechanics of writing. Punctuation is the key to effective editing because you focus on the sentence core: the most basic and powerful unit of editing.
  • Though you can work on your own, you gain more value by working with a partner or in a small group. By discussing principles, you are more likely to apply them.

Once you can compose freely, each editing principle that you apply improves your results. By gaining control of the sentence core, you gain control of the quality of your writing. By working in teams, you view solutions from several different perspectives, gaining insight and learning principles at a deeper level.

Principles of one topic are linked to principles of another topic—that is why it sometimes feels difficult to make progress. This book helps you focus on the sentence core so that you readily learn to make decisions that lead to accurate, clear, and concise writing. As you learn each new principle, your editing skills improve and, thus, the quality of your writing improves.

These workshops organize essential topics to expedite learning so that you develop proficiency. This approach simplifies the learning process, but your ultimate challenge is to apply what you are learning in your own writing. Only you can do that.

Write to Learn—Edit to Clarify

Contents

Brief Contents vii
About the method ix
Process Messages xi

Workshop 1: Get Started Quickly 1

Workshop 1 Inventory   1
Activity 1.1, What is difficult about writing?   2
Activity 1.2, Do you have a writing block?   3
Writing Tools   4
Activity 1.3: Mind Map   5
Activity 1.4: Freewriting   5
Activity 1.5: Fishbone Diagram 6
Templates 7
Academic Writing: Summaries and Arguments 7
Sentence Prompts 8
Activity 1.6: Sentence Prompts 9
Activity 1.7: Process Message 9
Workshop Assignments 9

Application 1.1: What Is Difficult about Writing? 9
Application 1.2: Goals and Objectives 10
Application 1.3: Journaling 11
Application 1.4: Work Journal 11
Pre-Assessment 12

Time Management Tips for Writing 13

Workshop 2: Put Purpose First 17

Workshop 2 Inventory 17
Purpose: Problem and Plan 18
Purpose and Process 19
Activity 2.1: Analyze the Revision 20
Activity 2.2: Revise for Purpose 20
Information Flow 21
Cohesive and Coherent Paragraphs 23
Cohesive Paragraphs 24
Activity 2.3: Revise for Cohesion 24
Coherent Paragraphs 25
Activity 2.4: Revise Information Flow 27
Your Voice 28
Summarizing and Paraphrasing 29
Activity 2.5: Summarizing and Paraphrasing 30
Revising Sentences 31
Activity 2.6: Revising Sentences 32
Workshop Assignments 33

Application 2.1: Editing E-Mail 33
Application 2.2: Editing Paragraphs 33
Application 2.3: E-Mail Etiquette 34
Pre-Work for Workshop 3: Conjunctions as Signals 34

Workshop 3: Punctuate for Purpose, Not Pauses 37

The Plan 37
Pretest 38
Workshop 3 Inventory 39
Part 1: Comma Rules 40
Conjunctions as Comma Signals (chart) 41
Comma Rules (list) 46
Activity 3.1: Comma Practice 47
Part 2: Semicolon Rules 48
The Comma Versus the Semicolon 50
Activity 3.2: Commas and Semicolons 51
Posttest 52

Workshop 4: Keep Verbs Active 55

The Plan 55
Pretest 56
Workshop 4 Inventory 56
Part 1, Verbs—Tense and Mood 57
Irregular Verb Inventory 58
Regular Verbs in Past Time 59
Third Person Singular: The –S Form 59
Verb Tense and Consistency 60
Subjunctive Mood 60
Statements Following “Wish” or “If” 60
Present Subjunctive 61
Activity 4.1: Tense, Agreement, Consistency, and Mood 62
Activity 4.2: Subjunctive Mood 63
Activity 4.3: Consistent Tense 63
Activity 4.4: Past Tense 63
Part 2, Active Voice 64
Activity 4.5: Active Voice 65
Nominalization 66
Activity 4.6: Nominalization 67
Posttest 68
Irregular Verb Chart 69

Workshop 5: Use Pronouns Correctly 71

The Plan 71
Pretest 72
Workshop 5 Inventory 72
Part 1: Pronoun Case 73
Pronouns Following Than 75
Activity 5.1: Pronoun Case 76
Part 2: Point of View 77
Point of View and Voice 77
Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 78
Activity 5.2: Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 79
Viewpoint and Consistency 80
Activity 5.3: Consistent Point of View 81
Activity 5.4: Pronoun Consistency 82
Activity 5.5: Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 82
Posttest 83

Workshop 6: Be Concise 85

Workshop 6 Inventory 85
Eliminate Redundant and Outdated Expressions 86
Choose Simple Language 86
Activity 6.1: Avoid Redundancy—Eliminate Unnecessary Words 87
Activity 6.2: Replace Wordy and Outdated Language 88
Activity 6.3: Remove Redundancy from Paired Expressions and Modifiers 88
Replace Formal Words with More Common Words 89
Avoid Dated Expressions 89
6.4: Get Rid of Empty, Redundant, and Outdated Language 90
Edit Out Background Thinking, Feelings, and Opinions 91

Activity 6.5: Editing for Background Thinking 91
Activity 6.6: Editing to Get to the Point 91
Activity 6.7: Editing to Stay on Point 92

Workshop 7: Control Your Tone   95

Workshop 7 Inventory   95
The You Point of View   96
Activity 7.1 and 7.2: The You Viewpoint   97
A Positive Focus   98
Writing in the Affirmative   98
Activity 7.3: A Positive Focus   99
A Thinker or Feeler Approach 100

Workshop 8: Use Words Effectively   103 

Pretest: Similar Words   103
Tricky Combos   104
Tricky Verbs   106
Tricky Pronouns   107
Tricky Prepositions   109
More Similar Words   110
Activity 8.1: Similar Words   112
Gender-Neutral Language   113
Unbiased Language   113
Activity 8.2: Gender-Neutral and Unbiased Language   114
Posttest   116

Workshop 9: Avoid Writing Traps 119

The Plan 119
Workshop 9 Inventory 120
Pretest 120
Part 1: Plurals and Possessives 121
Nouns as Possessions 121
Singular Possessives 121
Activity 9.1: Possession and Word Order 122
Singular Nouns Ending in S 122
Regular Plural Possessives 123
Irregular Plural Possessives 123
Activity 9.2: Singular and Plural Possessives 124
Academic Degrees—Showing Possession 124
Group Words 125
Nouns in Series 125
Abbreviations 125
Possessives Standing Alone 125
Activity 9.3: Possessives Standing Alone 126
Activity 9.4: Possessive Review 126
Part 2: Capitalization 127
Proper and Common Nouns 127
Academic Degrees and Capitalization 128
Organizational Titles and Terms 128
Hyphenated Terms 129
Activity 9.5: Capitalization Review 129
Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions in Titles 130
APA Style: Title Case and Sentence Case 130
Activity 9.6: Capitalizing Book and Article Titles in APA Style 131
Posttest 132

Workshop 10: Write Effective Grants and Proposals 135

Grant Proposals 135
Request for Proposal (RFP) 136
Formal Proposals 137
Table 10.1. The Foundation Center – Components of a Proposal 137
Basic Parts of a Proposal 138

Statement of Need 138
Project Description 138
Organization Information 138
Budget 139
Evaluation 139
Authorization 139

Community Relationships 139
Cover Letter 140
Letter Proposal 140

Statement of Need 140
Description of Project 141

Proposal Details 141

What Is Your Vision? 142
What Is Your Project? 142
Who Will Do the Work? 143

Figure 10.2. Cover Letter for Grant Proposal 144
Figure 10.3. Grant Proposal 146
Letter of Inquiry 149
Executive Summary 150
Workshop Assignments 151

Application 10.1: Writing a Proposal, Part 1 151
Application 10.2: Writing an Executive Summary 151
Application 10.3: Identifying Resources for Grant Proposal Writing 152

Grant Proposal and Presentation Rubric 153
Informal Proposals 154

Workshop 11: Develop a Task-Group Charter 157

Exploring Group Dynamics 158
Forming a Group 159
Answering Core Questions 159

Purpose 160
Processes 160
Participation 161
Feedback 161
Diversity 161

Averting Groupthink 162
Writing a Task-Group Charter 162
Developing Purpose, Plan, and Results 163

Defining Purpose 163
Forming an Action Plan 165
Planning Logistics or Group Operations 165
Determining Results 166

Identifying Roles 167
Plus-Delta Feedback 168
Establishing Ground Rules 168
Giving Feedback 169
Constructive Feedback and Requests 172
Receiving Feedback 174
Writing in a Group 175
Workshop Assignments 176

Application 11.1: Writing a Proposal, Part 2 176
Application 11.2: Task Group Meeting 176
Application 11.3: Warm-Up Activities or Check In 177
Application 11.4: Developing Ground Rules 177
Application 11.5: Understanding How Groups Function 178
Application 11.6: Analyzing Group Dynamics 179

Template for Task-Group Charter 180

Workshop 12: Create Engaging Presentations 183

Workshop 12 Inventory 183
Respect the Purpose 184
Prepare 185

Determine the Purpose 185
Identify the Audience 186
Develop Your Topic: Map It Out 186
Choose a Design for Your Slides 186
Sketch Your Plan 187
Compose with Text and Graphics 187
Format Each Slide 187
Edit Text and Graphics 188
Prepare Your Handouts 188

Practice 189
Present 189
Let It Flow 190
Use Signal Anxiety to Your Benefit 190
Workshop Assignments 191

Application 12.1: Develop a PowerPoint for Your Proposal 191
Application 12.2: Analyze Presentation Tools 191

Best Practices for E-Communication 193

E-Mail Inventory 193
Professional Communication 194
E-Mail Facts 194
Best Practices for E-Mail 195
Social Media 198
E-Time Management 198
Voicemail Messages 200
Audiovisual Connections 200
Communication and Relationships 200

Quick Editing Tips 201

Keys to Activities 207

 

The Writer's Handbook

The Writer's Handbook
Brief Contents

Part 1: Foundations 1

Chapter 1 The Writing Process 3
Chapter 2 The Sentence 27
Chapter 3 Paragraphs and Transitions 51

Part 2: The Mechanics of Writing 67

Chapter 4 Comma Rules 69
Chapter 5 Semicolon Rules 97

Part 3: Grammar for Writing 111

Chapter 6 Verbs 115
Chapter 7 Pronouns 137
Chapter 8 Modifiers 157

Part 4: Editing for Clarity 175

Chapter 9 Active Voice 177
Chapter 10 Parallel Structure 191
Chapter 11 Conciseness 203
Chapter 12 Formatting 221

Part 5: More Mechanics 241

Chapter 13 Word Usage 243
Chapter 14 Colons, Ellipses, and Dashes 261
Chapter 15 Capitalization and Number Usage 273
Chapter 16 Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 291

Quick Guide to Academic Writing 305

Quick Guide to Job-Search Tools 321

Keys to Activities 345

Glossary 379

Index 389

Introduction

Writing depends on structure for sense and credibility and, at the same time, structure can interfere with writing. For example, when you stop composing to struggle over correct grammar or punctuation, you do so at the expense of losing your ideas.

Writing involves critical thinking, bringing higher levels of understanding to unique topics or problems. In contrast, structure is about syntax: how words string together for different effects. Structure, for the most part, involves applying finite rules; in contrast, writing entails creativity, curiosity, and inquiry.

Writing is a complex problem-solving activity, and learning about structure adds another layer of complicated information to an already challenging pursuit. That is because elements of structure are linked: to understand one principle, you must also understand a myriad of other concepts, making it easy to become confused. So why even discuss structure?

One reason is that using correct and effective structure adds clarity and credibility to writing. Another is that as you mull over your words to string together in more effective ways, you are likely to gain more insight into your topic.

The Writer's Handbook simplifies essential topics and orders them so that one concept builds to the next. Complex principles become easier to understand because you review foundational principles first.

The Writer's Handbook takes you step by step on a path that leads to correct, clear, and concise writing. As you learn each new principle, your editing and revising skills will improve, and thus the quality of your writing will also improve—as long as you apply what you are learning.

By the time that you finish this book, you will have significantly improved your writing skills—or more specifically, your revising and editing skills. Good luck on your journey, and remember that practice makes progress: Now go for it!

 

Dona Young              

A Note to Students

The Writer's Handbook untangles structure, easing you into complex concepts by first covering foundational principles. This book applies the method of principle and practice: as you learn each principle, practice it until you integrate it into your writing.

Part 1, Foundations, reviews core principles for writing and revising. In Chapter 1, you learn about the writing process; in Chapter 2, you review the sentence core; and in Chapter 3, you learn how to structure cohesive, coherent paragraphs.

The sentence core is where structure and writing cross paths: controlling the sentence core is key to producing correct and reader-friendly sentences. Once you understand the sentence core, issues of style such as using the active voice, applying parallel structure, and being concise become easy.

Part 2, The Mechanics of Writing, presents comma and semicolon rules, taking the guessing out of punctuating and reinforcing the sentence core.

Part 3, Grammar for Writing, covers the basics of verbs, pronouns, and modifiers, other core elements of structure.

Part 4, Editing for Clarity, presents principles that lead to a clear and concise writing style.

To achieve excellent results, do the exercises in the prescribed manner. Improving writing skills is a bit tricky: the more you write, the stronger your skills will become; but first, stop the habit of editing and revising as you compose:

Compose freely and then edit ruthlessly.

Once you start working on Part 3, Grammar for Writing, this book helps you identify the difference between local language patterns and Standard English (also referred to as Edited English).

As you may know, everyone speaks a local language to one degree or another. In fact, no geographical location exists in the United States (or anywhere in the world, for that matter) where Standard English is spoken "purely." In every location, people have their own particular way of using English that varies slightly in terms of grammar, word usage, and pronunciation.

Since no one speaks or writes English perfectly, perfection is not your goal. Instead, focus on improving your skills until you become competent and confident; you then have more options for how you use language in formal situations.

This book helps you improve your writing skills because it helps you become an expert editor. Start the process by taking the pretest at the end of Chapter 1. Your score will give you a starting point from which you can gauge your current skills and track your development.

Work through each chapter and do the activities as prescribed. To give yourself immediate reinforcement for your practice, refer to the keys to the exercises. You will find the keys to the practice exercises, the skills workshops, and the editing workshops at the back of the book in Keys to Activities, starting on page 345. Visit the book's Web site at www.youngcommunication.com for additional practice on the topics presented in this book and more.

Learning involves change, and change is challenging, even painful at times. That is why you must commit yourself to the learning process as well as the writing process. If you commit yourself, you will become an expert editor by the time that you finish this book. In fact, you may even become an incurable editor! Good luck on your journey.

 

Write to Learn—Edit to Clarify

 

Dona Young              

A Note to Teachers

The Writer's Handbook is a supplemental handbook for any class that requires writing. The Writer's Handbook covers similar content as other handbooks while sequencing principles from the simple to the complex and using a narrative style to engage learners.

Writing is a core activity in education as well as the professions. Even those who are challenged by writing must learn to write effectively or be seriously limited in their career options. Professionals in all fields communicate in writing: e-communication has sealed the importance of writing—if not for eternity, at least for the present.

A traditional approach to improving writing skills has been to work with learners individually, giving them feedback and coaching. This approach is powerful, yet it also consumes time while keeping significant accountability in the hands of the teacher rather than in the hands of the learner.

As an alternative, The Writer's Handbook quickly gives learners a set of principles on which to base writing decisions. Learners also acquire a common vocabulary to discuss editing, making peer editing activities productive and even fun. The Writer's Handbook can be used effectively for group instruction or individual study:

  • Present chapters in workshop format.
  • Encourage learners to work on learning activities on their own or with a peer, using the keys at the back of the book or the practice exercises at the book's Web site, www.youngcommunication.com.

The Writer's Handbook charts an instructional design that is in tune with the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. As a result, learners readily fill knowledge gaps that may have gone undiagnosed. For example, the Taxonomy reveals why learners have a more difficult time with higher-order principles of writing if they do not first understand lower-order principles. The Taxonomy also gives insight into how a graduate student can write an insightful analysis of a complex theory but still have difficulty with run-on sentences or subject-verb agreement.

Once learners understand the sentence core, they are on the path to understanding structure. Sentence fragments and run-ons are no longer mysteries, and advanced principles such as parallel structure and consistent viewpoint become easily achievable. Even the graduate student who analyzes complex theories gains more credibility by presenting ideas in a style that is engaging as well as correct.

The Writer's Handbook also provides teachers and learners with a common vocabulary for punctuation. This approach makes it easier to learn the rules and to provide feedback efficiently. The methodology also integrates principles of structure with principles of style so that a learner's writing becomes clear and concise as well as correct.

Experiment using individual chapters as workshops; or instead, incorporate more activity-based learning by having learners read a chapter and then teach the principles to each other in small groups.

Have your students take the pretest at the end of Chapter 1. For additional pre- and posttests as well as other supplemental materials, please contact me at www.youngcommunication.com. I look forward also look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions.

 

All the best,              

 

Dona Young              

Contents

Part 1: Foundations 1

Chapter 1: The Writing Process 3

Process to Product 4
Pre-Writing and Composing 5
Problem, Purpose, and Plan 7
Planning Tools 8
Composing Tools 12
Proofreading and Editing 13
Proofreader's Marks 15
Revising 16
Voice and Audience 16
Critical Voices 18
Recap 20
Writing Workshop 21
Sample Journal 22
Skills Workshop (Pre-Assessment) 22

Chapter 2: The Sentence 27

What Is a Sentence? 27
What Is the Sentence Core? 28
What Is a Subject? 30
What Is a Grammatical Subject? 30
What Is a Real Subject? 31
What Is a Verb? 32
What Is a Compound Subject? 35
What Is a Compound Verb? 36
What Is a Compound Sentence? 37
What Is a Phrase? 37
What Is a Dependent Clause? 40
How Do You Correct a Fragment? 41
Why Is the Sentence Core Important? 43
Does Sentence Length Affect Readability? 45
What Is Information Flow? 46
Recap 47
Writing Workshop 48
Skills Workshop 49
Editing Workshop 50

Chapter 3: Paragraphs and Transitions 51

Cohesive and Coherent Paragraphs 51
Information Flow 54
Paragraphs and Viewpoint 57
Transitional Sentences 59
Transitional Paragraphs 59
Connectors as Transitions 60
Coordinating Conjunctions 61
Subordinating Conjunctions 61
Adverbial Conjunctions 62
Recap 63
Writing Workshop 64
Skills Workshop 65
Editing Workshop 66

Part 2: The Mechanics of Writing 67

Chapter 4: Comma Rules 69

Rule 1: The Sentence Core Rules 70
Rule 2: Conjunction (CONJ) 70
Rule 3: Series (SER) 72
Rule 4: Introductory (INTRO) 74
Rule 5: Nonrestrictive (NR) 75
Rule 6: Parenthetical (PAR) 77
Rule 7: Direct Address (DA) 79
Rule 8: Appositive (AP) 80
Rule 9: Addresses and Dates (AD) 82
Rule 10: Word Omitted (WO) 83
Rule 11: Direct Quotation (DQ) 84
Rule 12: Contrasting Expression or Afterthought (CEA) 86
Recap 87
Writing Workshop 88
Skills Workshop 88
Basic Comma Rules (chart) 88
Editing Workshop 95

Chapter 5: Semicolon Rules 97

Rule 1: Semicolon No Conjunction (NC) 99
Rule 2: Semicolon Bridge (BR) 101
Rule 3: Semicolon Because of Comma (BC) 102
Writing Style: Punctuation and Flow 104
Recap 105
Semicolon Rules (list) 105
Writing Workshop 105
Skills Workshop 106
Editing Workshop 109

Part 3: Grammar for Writing 111

English and Its Varieties 112
Language Use and Context 113
Global Communication and Formal English 113
Workshop Activity 114

Chapter 6: Verbs 115

Action Verbs (chart) 116
Verbs in Past Time 117
Regular Verbs in Past Time 118
Irregular Verbs in Past Time 119
The –S Form: Third Person Singular 121
Verb Tense and Consistency 122
Active Voice 123
Parallel Structure 125
Mood 127
Past Subjunctive 128
Present Subjunctive 129
Recap 129
Writing Workshop 130
Skills Workshop (Irregular Verb Inventory) 131
Irregular Verb Chart 134
Standard Verb Tenses 135

Chapter 7: Pronouns 137

Personal Pronouns: Four Cases (chart) 138
Subjects Versus Objects 139
Pronouns Following Between and Than 141
Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 143
Point of View and Consistency 145
Relative Pronouns: Who, Whom, and That 147
Relative Pronouns: That and Which 149
Demonstrative Pronouns 150
Indefinite Pronouns 151
Recap 153
Writing Workshop 153
Skills Workshop 154
Editing Workshop 156

Chapter 8: Modifiers 157

Modifiers: The Basics 158
Modifiers and Verbs 159
Comparative and Superlative Modifiers 160
Implied Words in Comparisons 161
Modifiers and Their Placement 162
More on Correct Placement 164
Double Negatives 165
Hedges and Emphatics 166
Fillers and Tag-ons 167
Quantifiers 167
Recap 168
Adjectives and Adverbs (chart) 169
Writing Workshop 170
Skills Workshop 171
Editing Workshop 173

Part 4: Editing for Clarity 175

Chapter 9: Active Voice 177

Grammatical Subjects Versus Real Subjects 177
Active Voice 178
Passive Voice, the Tactful Voice 180
Nominals 182
Style, Tone, and Meaning 185
Style and Process 186
Recap 186
Writing Workshop 187
Skills Workshop 188
Editing Workshop 190

Chapter 10: Parallel Structure 191

Nouns 192
Adjectives 192
Phrases 193
Clauses 193
Tenses 194
Lists 195
Correlative Conjunctions 198
Recap 199
Writing Workshop 199
Skills Workshop 200
Editing Workshop 201

Chapter 11: Conciseness 203

Put Purpose First 204
Eliminate Redundant Pairings 205
Cut Redundant Modifiers 207
Cut Vague Nouns 208
Eliminate the Obvious 209
Update Outdated Phrases 210
Avoid Legalese 211
Use Simple Language 212
Modify Sparingly 214
Edit Out Background Thinking 215
Leave Out Opinions and Beliefs 216
Recap 217
Writing Workshop 217
Skills Workshop 218
Editing Workshop 218

Chapter 12: Formatting 221

Formatting Basics: Special Features and White Space 221
Bullet Points and Numbering 222
Sections and Headings 224
Formatting Features and Marks 225
Font Size and Color 227
White Space and Balance 228
White Space Guidelines 229
Basic Parts of a Letter 230
Blocked Letter Format 231
Basic Parts of an E-Mail Message 232
E-Mail Format 233
Business Memorandum or Memo 234
Fax Cover Sheet 235
Business Letters: Connect - Tell - Act 236
The Direct Message 237
The Indirect Message 237
Academic Papers and Reports 238
Recap 239
Writing Workshop 239
Editing Workshop 239

Part 5: More Mechanics 241

Chapter 13: Word Usage 243

Pretest 244
Similar Words: Tricky Combos 245
Spelling Tips 252
A Sampling of Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes 253
Recap 255
Writing Workshop 255
Skills Workshop 256
Posttest 258
Spelling Lists 1 to 5 259

Chapter 14: Colons, Ellipses, and Dashes 261

The Colon 261
The Dash 265
The Ellipses 266
Recap 268
Writing Workshop 269
Skills Workshop 270
Editing Workshop 272

Chapter 15: Capitalization and Number Usage 273

Capitalization 273
Proper Nouns and Common Nouns 274
Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions 275
First Words 276
Hyphenated Terms 276
Organizational Titles and Terms 277
Two Common Capitalization Errors 277
Global Communication and the Rules 278
Number Usage 279
Basic Number Rules 280
Dates and Time 282
Address and Phone Numbers 283
Two-Letter State Abbreviations 285
Recap 286
Writing Workshop 287
Skills Workshop 288
Editing Workshop 290

Chapter 16: Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 291

Quotation Marks 291
Quotation Marks with Periods and Commas 292
Quotation Marks with Semicolons and Colons 292
Quotation with Questions and Exclamation Marks 293
Short Quotes and Long Quotes 293
Quotation within a Quotation 293
Apostrophes 294
Possessives 294
Inanimate Possessives 296
Contractions 296
Hyphens 297
Word Division 297
Compound Modifiers 298
Numbers 298
Prefixes 299
Recap 300
Writing Workshop 301
Skills Workshop 302
Editing Workshop 303

Quick Guide to Academic Writing 305

Modes of Writing 305Essay Questions 307
Viewpoint and Voice 309
Verb Signals 310
Verb Tenses 311
Basic Structure for Academic Papers 312
The PEER Model 313
Introductory Paragraph 314
Latin Terms Apropos for Academic Writing 315
Academic Writing Versus Business Writing 316
Recap 317
Skills Workshop 317

Quick Guide to Job-Search Tools 321

Career Portfolio 321
Skills, Not Titles or Degrees 322
Transferable Skills Work Experience 329
Business Cards
Networking
Job-Search Letters
Cover Letters
Follow-Up Letters and Thank-You Notes
The Résumé
Chronological Formatting
Electronic Formatting (E-Résumés)
Quick Skills Pitch Recap 341
Writing Workshop 341
Résumé Worksheet 343

Keys to Activities 345

Glossary 379

Index 389

Business Communication and Writing

Business Communication and Writing
Brief Contents

Unit 1 Writing Skills 1

1 Communication and the Writing Process 5
2 What is Good Business Writing? 43
3 Developing and Revising Short Business Messages 77

Unit 2 Professional Communication 105

4 Office Communications 111
5 Persuasive Communication 143
6 Verbal Communication Skills 179
7 Cultural Competence 223

Unit 3 Applications and Careers 223

8 Teamwork and Conflict Resolution 257
9 Getting a Job 301
10 Communicating on the Job 351

The Writer’s Handbook Quick Guides 389

Part 1: The Mechanics of Writing 391
Part 2: Grammar for Writing 409
Part 3: Similar Words 427
Part 4: Formatting Business Documents 437
Part 5: Research: Collecting, Conducting, and Displaying 447

Glossary 465

Index 481

Note to the Student

Welcome to Professional Writing. Here are some major elements about the design of this text:

  1. Orientation and Assessment. The text takes a diagnostic approach by pro-viding pretests that give you a realistic picture of your skills and learning gaps. After you complete the assessments, your skill profile will reveal the areas of grammar, punctuation, word usage, and writing style that you need to work on. The Orientation and Assessment is located on pages ix through xvi.
  2. The Writer’s Handbook Quick Guides. The Quick Guides are located at the last section of this text and are tied to skill development. The Quick Guides introduce you to The Writer’s Handbook, which is a separate text that walks you step by step through an effective process to improve grammar and punctuation skills as well as improve writing style. Without expertise in these areas, business writers can lose credibility.

    The Quick Guides are designed for you to use individually, as part of a team, or in whole-class instruction.

    1. Parts 1 and 2 contain materials to assist you with developmental gaps in punctuation and grammar.
    2. Parts 3 and 4 deal with formatting business messages and conducting research.
    By fully developing these topics and more, The Writer’s Handbook is an important supplement to Business Communications and Writing. To support learners in overcoming their learning gaps, The Writer’s Handbook includes numerous exercises along with keys, functioning as both a learning tool and a reference guide.
  3. Methodology. You will learn to make editing decisions based on structure, first at the sentence level and then at the paragraph level.

    1. Unit 1 of the text focuses on structure not on content. After you have developed an editing strategy, you will move from simple pieces to more complex activities.
    2. Units 2 and 3 of the text relate to composing, editing, and revising business correspondence, reports, presentations, proposals, and research projects (including newsletters and Web sites), among other applications.
  4. Coaching Tips. Throughout the text, you will find coaching tips that offer guidance to assist your understanding of topics.

One of the premises of this text is that you will feel more freedom to write by becoming competent with mechanics (grammar and punctuation) and then syntax (active voice, parallel structure, removing redundancy, and information flow). Decisions about style are easier when you can understand and manipulate core sentence elements. Then, after you are proficient with structure and style, you will be ready to compose, edit, and revise effective business documents.

Learning is a process, and you are encouraged to use mistakes as learning opportunities rather than moments of failure. In the first chapter, you may be asked to write about your past experiences with writing. Once you understand that writing is difficult for everyone at times, you may no longer feel isolated in your mistakes or fears about writing.

You also have access to various types of resources and instructional assistance online at the Web site, www.youngcommunication.com.

Thank you for giving this class your best and for using this text to its max. Set your goals high, and you will achieve career success.

Write to Learn—Edit to Clarify

 

Dona Young   

Online Classes

To tailor learning for classes that have an online component, the last activity in each chapter is devoted to online learning.

Many online classes work in teams, and an important component of online classes is forum discussions. In forums, students post responses to questions and develop dialogues with their teammates.

Regardless of whether your class meets on site or online, communicating online will be an important element of your class and your career. Thus, let’s take a look at what online learning entails.

Forum Discussions

In a forum discussion, you will respond to questions and discuss what you are learning with your teammates. When you participate in forum, include key points from the chapter so that your teammates can learn from your posting. Share your insights about what you are learning and how you will apply it.

  • What is an effective substantial response?

    To compose a substantial response, summarize key principles from the chapter along with your insights and how you are applying what you are learning. Your teammates will respond to your posting by validating your points and adding new information.

    P = Principle explain key principles from the chapter
    I = Insight share insights that result from your learning
    E = Example give examples to show how you are applying what you are learning

    The following is the start of a substantial response:
    Chapter 1 covered principles in effective communication. An important part communicating is listening, which is something that’s hard for me to do effectively. For example, I always start to think about a response before the other person is even finish talking. To be a good listener, I need to learn how to become actively engaged in what the other person is saying. One technique that can help is mirroring. Mirroring is when . . . .

    The following is not a substantial response:
    I liked reading the chapter because I learned a lot about communication, which can really be hard at times. Communication is important, but I’ve never been a very good communicator and need all the help I can get. I’ve noticed other people aren’t good at communicating either.


Can you see the difference between the two postings? In the first example, the writer shares his or her experience and then begins to explain a key principle. In the second posting, the writer does not tie his or her experience to a principle from the chapter.

Substantial postings are generally two to three paragraphs or longer. Effective substantial postings spark a discussion among teammates.

  • What is an effective dialogue posting?

    As you respond to your teammates, validate points that resonate with your own experience. Add new information from the chapter to extend the reader’s knowledge. Share how you are applying what you are learning.

    S = Support support teammates by making thoughtful postings
    A = Apply apply key points that you are learning and explain your results
    V = Validate validate points by sharing your own experiences
    E = Extend extend the learning by including new information that adds value to the discussion


Online Classroom Management: Ground Rules

Communication is about building relationships based on trust and respect. Though electronic communication is different from face-to-face communication, you achieve the best results when you keep the human elements of communication in mind. By respecting your readers, you will achieve success in professional environments.

In other words, your class is an interactive process among people, not simply computer screens.

Here are some ground rules to help support that context:

  1. For all e-mail messages, use a salutation that includes the recipient’s name; also include a closing.
  2. When you reply to a message, do not delete the thread. By leaving the history, your reader understands the context in which to reply to your message.
  3. Upgrade the subject line so that the recipient can file your message effectively.
  4. Send assignments as e-mail attachments.
  5. When you save your assignment to Word, use the following format to label it: your last name and the name of the assignment; separate each part with a dot (no spaces needed); for example:

    “Jordan.Week 6.Complaint Letter”
  6. Respect all due dates: if you are not able to meet a due date, ask in advance for an extension.
  7. Each week, post a substantial response to the forum question.
  8. Respond to your teammates’ in their forums by validating one of their key points and adding one of your own.
  9. Understand that the more you participate, the more value you will achieve. As a result, minimum standards are not spelled out in numbers.
  10. Think of an online class as a part-time job in which you have leadership responsibilities—try to figure things out on your own before asking for help.

Your questions are welcome, but read your syllabus, reading schedule, assignments, e-mail messages, and forum descriptions before you seek outside assistance.

For example, when your class begins, here are some questions you might discuss:

Question 1

Forum: What’s difficult about writing?
Everyone has challenges with writing. The first step in improving any skill is to get a realistic understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.
Description: This is your chance to be honest and “say it like it is” when it comes to writing—what’s difficult about writing for you?

Question 2

Forum: Welcome to Class
Get to know your classmates by sharing some information about your background, interests, and goals.
Instructions: Tell us about yourself. When you post your response, you will be expected to start a new thread and post a substantial response.

To be successful in an online class, you must develop special skills:

  1. Read all instructions two or three times so that you understand exactly what is expected.
  2. Work independently—try to figure things out on your own before asking questions. This is good preparation for what will be expected of you on the job.
  3. Adapt to what is expected: start using salutations and closings when you write an e-mail, label your assignments correctly, and so on.
  4. Read the assigned chapter before doing the weekly assignment. Each chapter contains valuable information for doing the assignment correctly.
  5. Become confident in your ability to communicate effectively—the more you put into class, the more value you will gain.
Contents

UNIT 1: WRITING SKILLS 1

Unit 1 Opener 3

The Writer’s Handbook 3
Paragraph Settings for Formatting 3

Chapter 1: Communication and the Writing Process 5

Objectives 6

Section A: Communicating on the Job 6

Communication and Diversity 7
What Is Communication? 8
The Communication Exchange 8
Communication and Relationships 9
Listening Skills 12
Micro-Messages 14
The Smallest Team Unit: Working with a Partner 15

Section B: Writing as Process 16

Phases (Not Stages) of Writing 17
Critical Voices: Yours and Theirs 17
The First Steps of Composing 20
Tools to Organize and Prioritize 20
Composing Tools: Freewriting and Focused Writing 22

Section C: Purpose and Audience 25

Purpose 23
Academic Versus Business Writing 24
Modes of Writing 24
The Journalist’s Questions 25
Purpose Statements and Thesis Statements 26
Purpose and Process 27
Audience: Your Reader and Client 28

Section D: Controlling Tone 29

An Objective Response 29
The “You” Point of View 31
A Positive Attitude 31
Gender-Neutral Language 32
Slang, Slanted Language, and Jargon 32
Text Messaging Language 33
A Thinker or Feeler Approach 34
Chapter 1 Summary 36
Chapter 1 Checklist 36
End-of-Chapter Activities 36

Chapter 2: What is Good Business Writing? 43

Objectives 44

Section A: Simple, Clear, and Concise Style 44

Control Sentence Structure 44
Control Sentence Length 45
Control Sentence Content 46
Use Active Voice 46
Be Concise 49
Build Old to New Information Flow 50
Use Parallel Structure 52
Avoid Misplaced Modifiers 53
Use Conjunctions to Show Relationships 54
Bridge Ideas Effectively 55

Section B: Effective Tone 58

Focus on the “You” Point of View 58
Turn Nominals into Active Verbs 60
Use Real Subjects and Strong Verbs 62
Use Voice to Control Level of Formality 64
Choose Simple Language 66
Focus on the Positive 67
Use Voice to Control Tone 68
Chapter 2 Summary 69
Editing Checklist 69
End-of-Chapter Activities 70

Chapter 3 Developing and Revising Short Business Messages 77

Objectives 78

Section A: Developing Paragraphs 78

Cohesive Paragraphs 79
Coherent Paragraphs 81
Composing and Editing Paragraphs 82

Section B: Eliminating Empty Information 82

Background Thinking 83
Your Opinions and Beliefs 83
Reader’s Perceptions 84
Hedges and Emphatics 85
Fillers and Tag-Ons 86

Section C: Revising 87

Basic Structure: The Beginning, Middle, and End 90
Process and Structure 91
The PEER Model 91

Section D: Transitions and Connectors 93

Conjunctions as Connectors 93
Adding Flow to Choppy Writing 95
Phrases as Transitions and Connectors 96
Transitional Sentences and Paragraphs 97
Chapter 3 Summary 98
Chapter 3 Checklist 99
End-of-Chapter Activities 99

UNIT 2: PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION 105

Unit 2 Opener 107

The Entrepreneurial Project 107

Chapter 4: Office Communications 111

Objectives 112

Section A: E-Mail 112

E-Mail Facts 114
Best Practices for E-Mail 115
Purpose: Why Send an E-Mail? 117
E-Mail Format and Structure 118
E-Mail Versus Text Messaging 120

Section B: Business Letters 121

Purpose: Why Send a Letter? 121
Structuring Your Message 122
The Direct Message 122
The Indirect Message 124
Business Letter Format 126

Section C: Memos, Faxes, and Voice Mail 129

Memos and E-Memos 129
Memos and E-Mail 130
Structuring the Message 131
Faxes 132
What is a Fax? 132
Formatting a Fax Cover Sheet 133
Voice Mail 135

Chapter 4 Summary 137
Chapter 4 Checklist 137
End-of-Chapter Activities 138

Chapter 5: Persuasive Communication 143

Objectives 144

Section A: What Is Persuasion? 145

The Process of Informal Persuasion 145
Guidelines for Informal Persuasion 146
Client Relationships 149

Section B: Formal Persuasion 150

Product, Service, System, or Idea 150
Purpose 151
Audience 151
Motivation 152
Resistance 153
Evidence 154
Benefits 154
Credibility 155
Action Plan 155
Customer Service: Building Customer Loyalty 155

Section C: Writing Persuasively 158

Visual Persuasion 158
Routine Requests and Favors 161
Feasibility Reports 162
Complaints or Claims 164
Apologies: Responding to a Complaint 167
Sales and Marketing Letters 170
Chapter 5 Summary 171
Chapter 5 Checklist 172
End-of-Chapter Activities 172

Chapter 6: Verbal Communication Skills 179

Objectives 180

Section A: Informal Speech 180

Language Patterns 180
Edited American English and Community Dialect 181
Vocal Elements 182
Body Language 184
Micro-Messages 185
Anxiety 186

Section B: Giving and Receiving Feedback 187

Feedback Versus Evaluation 188
Objective Feedback Versus Subjective Evaluation 189
Specific Feedback Versus General Comments 191
Negative Feedback Versus Constructive Feedback 192
Constructive Feedback 192
Positive Feedback 194
Guidelines for Receiving Feedback 195
Perfection 196

Section C: Meetings and Agendas 197

Meetings 197
Establishing Ground Rules 200
Agendas as Planning Tools 201

Section D: Presentations 204

Choosing a Topic 204
Organizing Your Message 204
Knowing Your Topic 205
Presenting 206
Establishing Ground Rules for Feedback 206
Using Technology for Visual Support 207
Preparing a PowerPoint Presentation 207
Chapter 6 Summary 212
Presentation Evaluation Checklist 212
End-of-Chapter Activities 213

UNIT 3: APPLICATIONS AND CAREERS 223

Unit 3 Opener 221

Project 1: The Insurance Project 221

Project 2: Training for Success 222

Chapter 7: Cultural Competence 223

Objectives 222

Section A: Cultural Diversity 224

Culture Determines Communication 225
Global Communication and Diversity 226
Succeeding Across Cultures 227

Section B: Communication Styles 228

The Role of Context 230
Individualist Versus Collectivist Thinking 232
Business Cards, Greetings, and Naming 235
Best Practices for Intercultural Communication 236
Global E-Mail 237
International Conference Calling 239

Section C: Generational Diversity 240

Micro-Messages 240
Generational Styles 240
Veterans 241
Boomers 242
Gen Xers 242
Nexters 243

Section D: Personality Differences 244

Extraverts and Introverts 243
Sensors and Intuitors 244
Thinkers and Feelers 247
Judgers and Perceivers 248
Global Learners and Analytic Learners 249
Chapter 7 Summary 250
Chapter 7 Checklist 251
End-of-Chapter Activities 251

Chapter 8: Teamwork and Conflict Resolution 257

Objectives 258

Section A: Working in Teams 258

Characteristics of Effective Teams 259
Leadership and Management Style 260
Decision Making 261
Active and Engaged Team Members 262
Team Process 262
Gender Differences in Team Communications 264
Cooperation Versus Competition 265
Resistance and Team Thinking 266
An Open Mind 266

Section B: Developing a Team Strategy 269

Developing a Common Understanding 269
Establishing Purpose, Plan, and Results 270
Assigning Team Roles 274

Section C: Resolving Conflict 275

Identifying Conflict 276
Establishing Ground Rules 277
Giving and Receiving Feedback 277

Section D:Writing a Proposal 283

Client Relationships 283
Cover Letter 284
Formal Proposals 284
Letter Proposals 287
Team Writing 290
Chapter 8 Summary 291
Team Communication Checklist 292
End-of-Chapter Activities 292

Chapter 9: Getting a Job 301

Objectives 302

Section A: Job Survival Skills 302

Skills, Not Titles or Degrees 302
Transferable Skills 303
People Skills 303
Knowledge Base 305
Job Duties 306
Personal Qualities 308
Others’ Perceptions 309
Work Experience 311

Section B: Networking 313

Building a Network 313
Nurturing Network Relationships 316

Section C: Job Search Letters and Résumés 317

Researching Companies 317
Basic Guidelines for Letters of Application 318
Cover Letter 319
Employment Ads 320
Contact Letter 322
Follow-Up Letters and Thank You Notes 323
The Résumé 324
Basic Parts of a Chronological Résumé 326
Basic Parts of a Functional Résumé 328
Electronic Résumés 330
Résumés Versus Curricula Vitae 333
Career Portfolios 334

Section D: The Interview 336

Dress for Career Success 336
Be Prompt 337
Be Prepared 338
The Traditional Interview 339
The Behavioral Interview 340
Salary Requirements 342
Follow-Up 342
Job Offer 343
Chapter 9 Summary 344
Chapter 9 Checklist 344
End-of-Chapter Activities 345

Chapter 10: Communicating on the Job 351

Objectives 352

Section A: Leadership 352

Aspects of Leadership 353
Collaborative Versus Heroic Leadership 357
Nature or Nurture? 357
The Leader in You 358
Your Heroes 362

Section B: Performance Feedback, Objectives, and Action Plans 364

Performance Feedback 364
Feedback Systems 367
Job Descriptions 369
Action Plans 370

Section C: Purpose Statements 372

What Is Purpose? 372
Purpose Guides Work Choices 374
Purpose Drives Companies 376

Section D: Web Writing and Design 378

Writing for the Web 378
Designing Web Sites 379
Chapter 10 Summary 382
Chapter 10 Checklist 382
End-of-Chapter Activities 383

The Writer’s Handbook Quick Guides 389

Part 1: The Mechanics of Writing 391

The Plan 391
Pretest 392
Learning Inventory 393
Section A: Basic Comma Rules 394
Section B: Basic Semicolon Rules 400
Punctuation Practice 404
Key to Learning Inventory 407

Part 2: Grammar for Writing 409

The Plan 409
Pretest 410
Learning Inventory 412
Grammar Essentials 412
Section A: Verb Basics 412
Section B: Pronoun Basics 414
Section C: Parallel Structure 417
Section D: Modifiers 418
Grammar Practice 420
Posttest 424
Key to Learning Inventory 426

Part 3: Similar Words 427

The Plan 427
Pretest 428
Similar Words: Tricky Combos 429
Posttest 436

Part 4: Formatting Business Documents 437

Paragraph Settings for Formatting 437
Print Preview 438
Hard Copy Versus Soft Copy 438
Bullet Points and Numbering 439
Basic Parts of a Letter 440
Basic Parts of an E-Mail Message 442
Basic Parts of a Memo 444
Formatting Features and Marks 445

Part 5: Research: Collecting, Conducting, Displaying, and Citing 447

Collecting and Conducting Research 447
A Review of the Literature 448
Action Research 449
Surveys, Focus Groups, and Interview 450
Displaying Research 452
Quotations 452
Graphics: Charts, Graphs, and Tables 455
Citing Research 459
Plagiarism 459
What to Credit 460
Develop a Working Bibliography 461
Some Common Elements 462
The Writing Interview 463

Glossary 465

Index 481

A Guide for Business Writing

A Guide for Business Writing
Brief Contents

Chapter

1       Process and Purpose 1
2       The Sentence Core 21
3       Conjunctions 41
4       Comma Rules 51
5       Semicolons and Other Marks 75
6       Verbs 91
7       Active Voice 109
8       Parallel Structure 123
9       Pronouns 133
10     Point of View 147
11     Conciseness 157
12     Tone 175
13     Paragraphing and Formatting Basics 193
14     Formatting Letters, Memos, and E-Mail 205
15     Persuasive Communication 219
16     Writing Persuasively 237
17     Best Practices for E-Mail 263
18     Job Search Tools 277

More Mechanics 303

Part 1: Capitalization and Number Usage 305
Part 2: Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 323
Part 3: Similar Words and Spelling Tips 335

Quick Reference to Similar Words 341
Keys to Exercises 357
Index 375

Introduction

This book is for those who need to write effectively to survive on the job or pursue higher education.

Though writing is an art, editing is a science. Effective editing takes the mystery out of how to produce clear, correct, credible writing. Each time that you apply a proven editing principle, you will see results. As you develop expert editing skills, you also gain more insight into how to use writing to build strong client relationships.

A Guide for Business Writing starts with the simple elements of writing. By revisiting core principles, you are able to fill learning gaps that now hinder your progress. Trust the process: to transform your writing, focus on the simple, not the complex. This book walks you step by step through a process, giving you all the tools you need to succeed.

If you now make writing decisions on the basis of guesses rather than educated choices, you are cheating yourself. For example, one of the biggest myths of writing is that commas are placed on the basis of pauses. When you find a pause, how do you know whether to place a comma, a semicolon, or a period at the break? In fact, how do you know that you are even pausing at a grammatical break?

  • In about an hour or two, you can learn how to punctuate correctly, saving yourself time and frustration from that point on.
  • As you learn how to punctuate correctly, you gain a sense of structure, with natural breaks in grammar becoming apparent.
  • As you develop a sense of structure, principles of editing, such as active voice and conciseness, become easy to apply.

No magic bullet exists; but if you do the work, you will see results. Spend an hour or less on each chapter, and the world of editing will open for you: you will gain a new lease on writing and the potential it offers your life and career.

Follow the plan below:

  1. Before you start the first chapter, complete the pre-assessment.
    The pre-assessment is on pages xi through xvi. Feel free to copy the assessment. Your score will indicate your current skill level, revealing your learning gaps. When you complete the book, take the post-assessment and compare your results.
  2. Complete the brief exercises interspersed throughout each chapter.
    The Practice exercises give you an opportunity to apply new principles. The keys are located at the back of the book.
  3. Do the Writing Workshop and Editing Workshop exercises.
    At the end of each chapter, the Writing Workshop gives you a reflective topic for journaling. The Editing Workshop gives you drafts and revisions: work on drafts before reviewing the revisions.
  4. Apply the principles in your own writing.
    Learning involves change: give yourself time to improve. In general, it takes about a week to become comfortable applying a new principle. When you do not apply what you are learning, the knowledge quickly becomes lost: if you don't use it, you lose it.

If writing has always been a challenge, give this method a chance—the way the topics are sequenced support you in your success. Thousands of business professionals have improved their writing skills using this approach. In some ways, the plan is foolproof, so do not second-guess yourself or cut corners.

For a quick review, see the abridged version of this book, Eleven Steps to Instantly Improve Your Writing.

Good luck on your journey: practice makes progress—repetition is key to improving any skill. You may find that building editing skills turns you into the writer that you have always wanted to be. In the process, you may also become an incurable editor.

Do the work, and you will see the results—go for it!

Dona Young               

Acknowledgements

At one time, writing was an excruciatingly painful experience for me. That's because I would try to edit my words while they were still in my head. I also thought that when I sat down to write, I should have the answers. I did not understand that writing itself was a problem-solving activity, a discovery process.

When my teacher Dr. Ralph W. Tyler told me that he spent part of every day writing himself clear-headed, I listened. He also said, "The house you live in is your mind, your own integrity—don't worry about the rest."

The more I wrote, the more I was able to write. Writing helped me learn what I needed to know. You see, the way to learn about a topic, even if it is your own life, is to write about it. As John Dewey once said, "You become what you learn."

Writing was not enough, though. Once my words were on the page, I had no clue how to edit or revise them. I felt like a "broken record" and based my decisions on guesses; this approach was frustrating and made me want to give up. So I took classes and read books and learned to edit; I also taught others what I was learning, and they in turn taught me: my best teachers have always been my students.

In time, I realized that learning how to edit was the key that unlocked my ability to write. Editing allowed me to push the pause button between my thinking and my writing. Editing kept me engaged with my topic in a different way from the way writing did. With each edit, I reached a deeper understanding and expressed myself with more clarity.

Writing, or composing, is a reflective process but one that is highly focused: when you stop to think about what you are writing, you lose your thoughts. In contrast, editing gives you tools to work with your words in slow motion, allowing you to revisit your ideas to refine and clarify them.

To those of you who think that you are not writers, know that writing is a gift available to all who beckon its call; and learning to edit effectively will give you access to writing in a fresh and exciting way. To those of you who think that building your editing skills will not improve your critical thinking skills, keep an open mind.

You do not need to be a creative writer to reap the benefits of writing, which are intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. As you write, if you listen closely enough, you will hear a still, small voice that will lead you to the answers that you seek. Writing makes it easier to hear that still, small voice because writing, similar to reading, is a meditation.

When you can take the words that are in your head and put them on the page, you will have begun to liberate yourself from whatever is holding you back. Writing will help you find the truth, writing will help you find hope, and writing will even help you find yourself.

My teachers, my students, my friends, and my family have all helped me on this journey. Thank you.

Write to learn—edit to clarify.

All the best,              

Dona Young              

Contents

Introduction ix
Pre-Assessment xi
Acknowledgements xvii

Chapter 1 Process and Purpose 1

Composing vs. Editing 2
Planning Tools 3
Purpose and Process 6
Micro-Messages 9
Reader Expectations 10
Style, Voice, and Audience 11
Critical Voices 14
Quantum Learning 15
Recap 16
Writing Workshop 16
A Sample Journal Entry 18
Editing Workshop 19

Chapter 2 The Sentence Core 21

What Is a Sentence? 21
What Is the Sentence Core? 22
What Is a Subject? 24
What Is a Grammatical Subject? 25
What Is a Real Subject? 26
What Is a Verb? 27
What Is a Compound Subject? 30
What Is a Compound Verb? 31
What Is a Compound Sentence? 32
What Is a Phrase? 33
Why Is the Sentence Core Important? 35
Recap 37
Writing Workshop 38
Editing Workshop 39

Chapter 3 Conjunctions 41

Why Are Conjunctions Important? 41
What Are Coordinating Conjunctions? 42
What Are Subordinating Conjunctions? 42
What Are Adverbial Conjunctions? 44
What Is a Fragment? 46
How Do You Correct a Fragment? 46
Recap 48
Writing Workshop 49
Editing Workshop 49

Chapter 4 Comma Rules 51

Rule 1: The Sentence Core Rules 52
Rule 2: Conjunction (CONJ) 53
Rule 3: Series (SER) 55
Rule 4: Introductory (INTRO) 57
Rule 5: Nonrestrictive (NR) 58
Rule 6: Parenthetical (PAR) 60
Rule 7: Direct Address (DA) 63
Rule 8: Appositive (AP) 64
Rule 9: Addresses and Dates (AD) 66
Rule 10: Word Omitted (WO) 67
Rule 11: Direct Quotation (DQ) 68
Rule 12: Contrasting Expression or Afterthought (CEA) 70
Recap 70
Comma Rules (chart) 71
Writing Workshop 72
Editing Workshop 73

Chapter 5 Semicolons, Dashes, and Ellipses 75

The Semicolon 76
Rule 1: Semicolon No Conjunction (NC) 76
Rule 2: Semicolon Transition (TRANS) 78
Rule 3: Semicolon Because of Comma (BC) 79
The Colon 81
The Dash 83
The Ellipses 84
Writing Style: Punctuation and Flow 85
Recap 87
Semicolon Rules (chart) 87
Writing Workshop 88
Editing Workshop 89

Chapter 6 Verbs 91

Action Verbs (list of) 92
Verbs in Past Time 93
Regular Verbs in Past Time 93
Irregular Verbs in Past Time 95
The –S Form: Third Person Singular 97
Linking Verbs 98
Subjunctive Mood 99
Past Subjunctive 100
Present Subjunctive 101
Recap 102
Writing Workshop 102
Editing Workshop 103
Irregular Verb Inventory 104 / 105
Irregular Verb Chart 106
Standard Verb Tenses 107

Chapter 7 Active Voice 109

Grammatical Subjects Versus Real Subjects 110
Active Voice 111
Passive Voice, the Tactful Voice 113
Nominals 114
Style, Tone, and Meaning 118
Style and Process 119
Recap 119
Writing Workshop 120
Editing Workshop 121

Chapter 8 Parallel Structure 123

Noun for Noun 124
Adjective for Adjective 126
Phrase for Phrase 126
Clause for Clause 127
Tense for Tense 128
Correlative Conjunctions 129
Recap 130
Writing Workshop 131
Editing Workshop 131

Chapter 9 Pronouns 133

Personal Pronouns: Four Cases (chart) 134
Subjects Versus Objects 135
Pronouns Following Between 138
Pronouns Following Than 139
Who, Whom, and That 141
Indefinite Pronouns 143
Recap 144
Writing Workshop 145
Editing Workshop 145

Chapter 10 Point of View 147

Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 148
Point of View and Consistency 150
Point of View and Voice 152
Recap 154
Writing Workshop 155
Editing Workshop 155

Chapter 11 Conciseness 157

Compose to Learn—Edit to Clarify 158
Put Purpose First 158
Eliminate Redundant Pairings 159
Cut Redundant Modifiers 160
Cut Vague Nouns 162
Eliminate the Obvious 163
Update Outdated Phrases 163
Avoid Legalese 165
Use Simple Language 166
Modify Sparingly 167
Modify Correctly 169
Edit Out Background Thinking 170
Leave Out Opinions and Beliefs 170
Recap 171
Writing Workshop 172
Editing Workshop 173

Chapter 12 Tone 175

Client Relationships and Trust 176
Micro-Messages 177
Diversity: A Catalyst for Misunderstanding 177
Generational Diversity 178
Cultural Diversity 180
Personal Diversity: Thinkers and Feelers 181
Analytical Versus Global Learners 182
The You Viewpoint 183
A Positive Focus 184
Clear, Accurate Language 185
Apologies Necessary 186
Bad News Messages 188
Recap 190
Writing Workshop 190
Editing Workshop 191

Chapter 13 Paragraphing and Formatting Basics 193

Paragraphs 194
Information Flow 197
E-Mail Messages 199
Side Headings 199
Formatting Features and Marks 200
Bullet Points and Numbering 201
Recap 201
Writing Workshop 202
Editing Workshop 203

Chapter 14 Visual Persuasion:

Formatting Letters, Memos, and E-Mail 205
White Space and Balance 206
Computer Settings 207
Business Letters 208
Standard Business Letter (example) 209
E-Mail Messages 210
E-Mail Formatting 211
Fax Cover Sheet Format 212
Business Letters: Connect – Tell – Act 213
The Direct Message 214
The Indirect Message 214
Recap 215
Writing Workshop 216
Editing Workshop 217

Chapter 15 Persuasive Communication 219

The Process of Persuasion 220
The Role of Trust in Informal Persuasion 220
Guidelines for Informal Persuasion 221
Client Relationships 224
Formal Persuasion 224
Purpose 225
Audience 225
Motivation 226
Resistance 227
Evidence 228
Benefits 228
Credibility 229
Action Plan 229
Customer Loyalty 230

Customer Feedback 230
Disenfranchised Customers 231

Visual Persuasion 232

Paragraphing 232
Headings and Subheadings 232
Subject Lines 233

Recap 233
Writing Workshop 234
Editing Workshop 235

Chapter 16 Writing Persuasively 237

Routine Requests and Favors 237
Feasibility Memos 240
Complaints or Claims 241
Sales and Marketing Letters 248
Writing a Proposal 249
Client Relationships 250
Cover Letter 251
Formal Proposals 251
Letter Proposals 254
Team Writing 258
Recap 259
Writing Workshop 260
Editing Workshop 261

Chapter 17 Best Practices for E-Mail 263

E-Mail Facts 264
E-Mail Format 265

Salutations 265
Closings 266

White Space 267
E-Mail Guidelines 268
E-Mail Versus Text Messaging 270
Thinking Points 270
Recap 274
Writing Workshop 274
Editing Workshop 275

Chapter 18 Job Search Tools 277

Career Portfolio 277
Skills, Not Titles or Degrees 279
Transferable Skills 279

Working with People 279
Identifying Knowledge You Can Apply 281
Working on Tasks 282
Identifying Personal Qualities 284
Asking for Feedback 286

Work Experience 286
Business Cards 288
Networking 289
Job-Search Letters 290
Cover Letters 290
Follow-Up Letters and Thank-You Notes 292
The Résumé 294
Chronological Formatting 294
Electronic Formatting (E-Résumés) 296
Quick Skills Pitch 298
Recap 299

More Mechanics 303

Part 1 Capitalization and Number Usage 305

Capitalization 305
Proper Nouns and Common Nouns 306
Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions 307
First Words 308
Hyphenated Terms 308
Organizational Titles and Terms 309
Two Common Capitalization Errors 310
Global Communication and the Rules 311
Number Usage 312
Ten Basic Number Rules 312
Dates and Time 315
Address and Phone Numbers 315
Two-Letter State Abbreviations 317
Recap 319
Writing Workshop 320
Editing Workshop 321

Part 2 Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 323

Quotation Marks 323
Quotation Marks with Periods and Commas 324
Quotation Marks with Semicolons and Colons 324
Quotation Marks with Questions and Exclamations 325
Short Quotes and Long Quotes 325
Quotation within a Quotation 325
Apostrophes 326
Possessives 326
Inanimate Possessives 328
Contractions 328
Hyphens 329
Word Division 329
Compound Modifiers 330
Numbers 330
Prefixes 331
Recap 332
Writing Workshop 333
Editing Workshop 333

Part 3 Similar Words and Spelling Tips 335

Pretest 336
Spelling Tips 337
A Sampling of Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes 338
Recap 340

Quick Reference to Similar Words 341

Keys to Practice Exercises 357

Index 375