1. When are “state” and “federal” capitalized? State and federal are capitalized when part of a proper name such as the name of a federal agency or act, etc. (for example Federal Reserve Bank but federal, state, and local laws). The terms federal government and government (referring specifically to the United States government) are now commonly written in small letters. In government documents, however, and in other types of communications where these terms are intended to have the force of an official name, they are capitalized.
2. How are “I,” “me,” and “myself” used? Use I as a subject [Louise and I submitted our reports yesterday.] and after than in comparisons or with understood verbs [She is a faster typist than I (am).]. Use me as an object of a verb [Please put Lila and me on the expense account.] and as the object of a preposition [David assigned the project to Sam and me.]. Use myself when I has already been used as the subject—intensively [I, myself, will handle this.] or reflexively [I hurt myself playing tennis.].
3. What is the difference between “than” and “then”? Than is a conjunction used in comparisons; then (which rhymes with when) is an adverb indicating time [He is older than I am. I will see you at dinner and return your book then.]. Read more ›
How can you reinforce the use of good writing skills in your staff/team’s on-the-job documents? Use these five tips:
1. To ensure complete content and logical organization, encourage writers to list a document’s key ideas before writing. If you’ve asked for a report, for example, ask to see a list of key ideas or a preliminary outline before they start to write. Also, to ensure complete content and an appropriate level of detail, discuss how the information in the report will be used.
After the report is finished, explain what the writer did that helped you access information, what content was especially valuable, and provide one or two suggestions for improvement, as necessary.
2. When you review a document, don’t cross out the writer’s words. Remember that your goal is to produce not only a better document but also a better writer. Poor writers can’t be expected to learn anything if you rewrite documents for them. In fact, rewriting others’ documents only reinforces their perception of themselves as “bad” writers. Instead, as you review each document, bracket the words or phrases that might be left out or changed; then write your suggestions for improvement above. Read more ›