Archive for the ‘quotations’ Category

Sales & Performance Tips Newsletter Needs Comma Tips

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Most writers tend to "sprinkle" too many commas in their writing. Today's post includes examples from a "sales and performance tips" newsletter that does not use enough commas. The problem involves this comma rule:

An introductory phrase or clause containing three or more words should be set off by a comma.

Whoops #1: If you are struggling with what to delegate use the 70% rule.

The introductory clause in this sentence begins with IF and ends with DELEGATE (8 words). It should be set off with a comma after DELEGATE.

Whoops #2: If you choose a less experienced team member then Direction is the best course of action.

The introductory clause in this sentence begins with IF and ends with MEMBER (8 words). It should be set off with a comma after MEMBER. 

Whoops #3: For the delegation process to be results-centric you have to focus more on the "what" and the "why" and less on the "how".

The introductory phrase in this sentence begins with FOR and ends with RESULTS-CENTRIC (7 words). It should be set off with a comma after RESULTS-CENTRIC. Also, the period at the end of the sentence should be moved inside the quotation marks. (Periods and commas always go inside the quotation marks in the United States.)

Here are all three examples written correctly:

If you are struggling with what to delegate, use the 70% rule.

If you choose a less experienced team member, then Direction is the best course of action.

For the delegation process to be results-centric, you have to focus more on the "what" and the "why" and less on the "how."


IN A MANNER THAT ALLOW–Subject/verb agreement again!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

The Jefferson County, Alabama, tale of financial woe continues, and the grammar in one auditor's letter needs an overhaul as well.  Take a look at this quoted portion of a sentence regarding the need for improvement in the county's financial controls:

"people, processes or systems were not operating in a manner that allow the Commission to prepare financial statements in accordance with U. S. generally accepted accounting principles."

Whoops! The subject of ALLOW is not PEOPLE, PROCESSES OR SYSTEMS (plural), it is MANNER (singular). Therefore, the verb should be ALLOW (singular) except that the first part of the quotation uses WERE, which is past tense, so the verb probably should be changed to WOULD ALLOW.

The auditor does not use ellipsis correctly either. His quote does not begin at the beginning of a sentence. (This is clear because the quotation begins with a lower case letter.) Therefore, he should have placed an ellipsis (three dots) at the beginning of the quotation.

Finally, I think this quotation would read more smoothly if the words GENERALLY ACCEPTED came before U.S.

Here is my suggested revision for this sentence:

"…people, processes or systems were not operating in a manner that would allow the Commission to prepare financial statements in accordance with generally accepted U. S. accounting principles."

 

NOTE: Would you like to learn more about effective proofreading techniques like the ones described above? Check the calendar at www.ruthbeaumontcook.com and sign up for my open enrollment class on Grammar and Proofreading.  Auburn University Montgomery is offering it on April 27.