The goal of the June 15 quiz was simple: to show how not knowing several simple rules makes much of your content incorrect.
When you don’t know one rule, you are doomed to continue making that same mistake.
This writing demonstrates a serious lack of knowledge about what? The English language? Basic punctuation? The use of spell check?
The writing here is deplorable. Let’s take a look.
- First rule: The position of the question mark with quotation marks depends entirely on the context of the sentence. Consider sentence #1:
Have you ever heard the common catchphrase, “The little things mean the most?”
So, here’s how to determine the position of the question mark:
Is the catchphrase “The little things mean the most?” In other words, is the catchphrase (a word I’m not especially fond of after writing it several times) a question or a statement?
The little things mean the most?
The little things mean the most.
Here’s my point. If the phrase was a question, the placement of the question mark would be correct. But the sentence is itself a question, so the phrase gets quotes and the question mark is placed outside the quotation marks as the last mark of punctuation.
With question marks and exclamation points and quotes, the placement of the question mark or exclamation point depends entirely on the context of the quote.
2. As a result you begin to attract even more money – and like that snowball, it grows, adding to your savings.
This is one of the worst examples of just plain bad punctuation I’ve ever seen. It would take me a page to explain, so I’m just going to write a list:
Comma after “as a result”
Comma after “money”
Comma after “and”
That comma after “snowball” is iffy
For mercy’s sake, don’t italicize unnecessarily.
I’m not committing to this whole sentence, because I believe I would try to rewrite it in its entirety, but here’s where I’d take this writing:
As a result, you begin to attract more money, and, like a snowball, it grows, adding to your savings.
I think what I seriously don’t like about this sentence is the “it.” Well, whatever. Page after page of poorly expressed prose is discouraging! And this guy claims to be a “best-selling” author!
3. You see, I’ve been working on this package for over several months now. (The training itself, the accumulated work of decades).
Important rule: The end mark of a complete sentence that is inside parentheses is always placed inside the last parenthesis, so that period that’s outside the parenthesis should be inside, not outside.
4. But, but, but — Here’s what my team said…”No [author’s name here], lizinsarasota has not enrolled yet.”
Wow. I hate this hectoring tone. Whine. That’s the word. He whines. Plus, look at that first quotation mark! It’s facing the wrong way. If you use directional quotation marks, it’s a constant issue, so you’ve got to be careful.
5. If you’ve ever dreamt about joing the top 10% of income earners in your industry…now is your chance to make that dream a reality.
I’m not a big fan of “dreamt” (I like “dreamed” better), but I really hate “joing,” which, of course, is not even a word. Sloppy. Very sloppy.
6. It doesn’t matter if you’re an agent in an office or if you own your own business. What I’m about to share with you can (and has) doubled sales time and time again.
“Can doubled”? Remember, you must be able to pull out the entire parenthetical phrase, whether enclosed by commas, parentheses, or dashes, and have a workable sentence. I’d write it like this:
What I’m about to share with you can double your sales.
7. Each module will be delivered to you — once a week over the next 12 weeks. I do this to give you time to breathe, focus on one module at a time — and avoid overwhelm.
What, pray, is “overwhelm”? “Overwhelm” is a verb, not a noun.
I don’t like that first dash, either.
8. This is a lesson I’ve personally used to go from struggling just above the poverty line… to increasing my income TEN TIMES in two years — when I first got started in business.
This is a hot mess, and needs to be completely rewritten.
9. It is due to those four words: “I already know this”.
Yeah, well, buddy, you don’t know jack about punctuation but you’re lecturing me? Quotation marks in American English are always placed outside periods and commas.
10. Here’s the problem if you say “yes”, but you’re not making the kind of income you want.
11. It means you DON’T really “know it”.
See above. And, ditch the caps. It’s immature.
12. If you’re reading this, I trust you to be someone who has the courage to be humble — and listen — and learn.
This person certainly doesn’t have any courage to be humble! I’ve emailed him politely four or five times, suggesting he hire an editor, but nooo….
13. And you’ll recall a time in your life when you though “I already know this”, but was caught off guard by the new insights and experience.
You mean you “thought”? You “was caught off guard”? And there’s that comma outside the quotation mark…again.
14. It’s Status Quo.
Umm, buddy, “status quo” is not a proper noun phrase and so isn’t capitalized.
15. (Regardless if the team won a championship recently or not).
If the material inside parentheses is a complete sentence, put the appropriate punctuation mark inside the last parenthesis.
16. And this, my friend is where the “BIG TRAP” is whenever I hear a student say, “I already know this.”
When you get right down to it, this sentence makes no sense. Punctuation-wise, it’s a mess.
“My friend” is parenthetical and needs a pair of commas surrounding it. Why, oh, why, is “big trap” a) in quotation marks, and b) capitalized?
17. I created this program for the sole purpose of getting sales people to double their income in 35 weeks or less… simply by making small incremental “2% changes” each week.
“Salespeople” is one word. No space on either side of an ellipsis. Don’t use the “%” sign in writing; spell out “percent.” Why is “2% changes” in quotation marks? Why use “small” and “incremental”? Aren’t those words pretty much the same? When you think about it, “2%” is small, too. So, you’ve got three adjectives here that are nearly identical. You need a comma or two:
…small, two percent changes…
18. Yes, you should consider my program even if you “think” you know what you’ll learn and discover already.
Why in heaven’s name is “think” in quotes? And aren’t the words “learn” and “discover” rather, um, close in definition? Yuck!
19. Here’s where your true “high performer” lesson begins.
Ditch the quotes.
20. Do you know the difference between someone who’s just “earning a living,” vs someone who has “created wealth?”
Again, the placement of exclamation points and question marks depends on the context of the sentence, and in this sentence, the question mark should be placed OUTSIDE the quotes. Plus, you can’t have that comma there because of the word “between”; in other words, “between” announces there’ll be two things to compare, and the comma cuts off the second thing. Plus, spell out “versus.”
I just don’t understand how someone who claims to be an international best-selling author could allow such c.r.a.p. to be churned out in his name. It’s mystifying.