Tag Archives: Writing

Exemplary Examples

Just a couple of common mistakes from my writing course today:

Example is not spelled exemple

Exemplary is not spelled examplary

Research is non-count. If you want a count noun with a similar meaning, try using “studies” or “tests” instead. “I completed research for the scientist.” OR “I completed three studies for the scientist.”

Have something with – I’ll have a burger with fries, please. Not have something to.

A student told me of a quote in Russian that shows a good attitude to failure: “He who doesn’t take risks doesn’t drink champagne.” I know of a quote from sports that means the same thing: “You miss all of the shots you don’t take.”

These and those: “These” talks about things we have already discussed, or the first of two groups. “Those” talks about the second of two groups.  “These are good, but those are bad.”

The Introduction

The introduction of a written piece is where the writer needs to make the reader curious. I received this from a student the other day, and though it is a bit casual, it really made me want to read more. (I had asked the student to debate pet ownership.)

“Should people have a pet in their houses? No, they shouldn’t. If you need to be caring, you should teach it. You should think about gardening. It is cheaper, nicer, and could produce tomatoes.”

Your Application

Just a quick note today. When you submit your job application online, make sure that your filenames are descriptive. Instead of submitting “newestresumecopy2.pdf” or “aplicagionforjobletter.pdf,” chose a simple format that can help a hiring manager. Choose a format that works for both your resume and cover letter and includes your name.

“DaveHendersonResume.pdf” or “CoverLetterDaveH.pdf” are two formats that I have seen and found helpful in the past. Good luck in your job search!

Formal Letters for Business and University, Part 2

Continuing on from last week, where we learned about the addresses and dates on our letter, we’ll take a look at the start and end of our letter.

The salutation is the “hello” of the letter. There are several common choices, depending on how well you know the recipient.

If you don’t know their name, use “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To whom it may concern,” to start your letter. If you have spoken to them on the phone, sent emails, or have met them once or twice, use “Dear Mr. Familyname,” or “Dear Ms. Familyname.” If you know them well, or see them often, “Dear Firstname” is acceptable.

The closure comes at the end of the letter. There is some personal choice here, but “Yours truly,” and “Sincerely” are always correct. In casual situations, you could use “Thanks,” or “Cheers,” if you know the recipient really well. Leave two blank lines, so you have room to sign your name, and then print your name with a period at the end, like this:

Sincerely,

Dave Henderson.

Name that text!

You’ll find that some people have very strict requirements for the layout of papers. Perhaps this is for a university essay, or maybe a contract for your work, but the details count. Here are some examples of common layout instructions.

This sentence is justified left.

This sentence is justified centre.

This sentence is justified right.

This paragraph is written with box justification, which changes the size of the space between the words. It’s very hard to read quickly, and should be avoided. This paragraph is written with box justification, which changes the size of the space between the words. It’s very hard to read quickly, and should be avoided. This paragraph is written with box justification, which changes the size of the space between the words. It’s very hard to read quickly, and should be avoided. This paragraph is written with box justification, which changes the size of the space between the words. It’s very hard to read quickly, and should be avoided. This paragraph is written with box justification, which changes the size of the space between the words. It’s very hard to read quickly, and should be avoided. This paragraph is written with box justification, which changes the size of the space between the words. It’s very hard to read quickly, and should be avoided.

These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines. These are single-spaced lines.

These lines are double-spaced. This style is quite common in schools and universities, because

it leaves space for editors or markers to add comments. These lines are double-spaced. This

style is quite common in schools and universities, because it leaves space for editors or markers

to add comments. These lines are double-spaced. This style is quite common in schools and

universities, because it leaves space for editors or markers to add comments. These lines are

double-spaced. This style is quite common in schools and universities, because it leaves space

for editors or markers to add comments. These lines are double-spaced. This style is quite

common in schools and universities, because it leaves space for editors or markers to add

comments.

This text is bold. Bold text is often used for headings.

 This text is underlined. Underlined text is also used for headings, but not as often as bold text.

This text is in italics. Italics are sometimes used for quotations or foreign word, but the most common use is to emphasize a word or phrase.

The Period

People often don’t know that English has three (or four) names for this punctuation mark. If you use the wrong one, Canadians will understand you, but you will sound strange.

At the end of sentence, it is called a period, or a full stop in England.

In mathematics, it is called a point. For 3.14, say “Three point one four.”

On the internet, we say dot. For google.ca, say “google dot sea eh.”