A few words about hyphens.

Most of the time, you hyphenate a compound adjective when it precedes the noun it modifies, like so:

I need a full-time assistant.

You do not hyphenate a compound adjective when it follows the noun it modifies, like this:

I need an assistant full time.

So, my friends, this is incorrect:

You don’t have to hire an executive assistant full-time to see results quickly.

It even sounds different: a full-time assistant; an assistant full time. You can hear the difference.

However, I would write it like this, for clarity:

You don’t have to hire a full-time executive assistant to see results quickly.

In fact, I think you can say this: Even New York Times best-selling authors could benefit from hiring top-quality editorial talent.

Just sayin’.

March 2017 REAL ESTATE (mostly) Quiz!

Hi all! This is mostly real estate-related material today.

What’s wrong with these sentences? (Could be more than one thing!)

  1. Relax and enjoy Florida at it’s finest in this one-of-a kind amazing home.
  2. Its a combination of hardware and software.
  3. Clark Construction Group’s seismic renovations help Ventura County Medical Center ensures facility will stand up to quakes.
  4. Your team is paramount in ensuring your business run as efficiently as possible.
  5. For those writers willing to commit to a regular weekly piece of content, we offer the perk of being featured on the Contributor Sidebar of our blog home page.
  6. We simply require that all writers commit to write with some sort of frequency and that all articles are submitted to our editor by noon they day before they’re set to be published.
  7. Regardless, our goal is to provide each individual with the resources and support they need to find their own success — whether that’s quitting a job to invest or simply creating additional passive income.
  8. I am the Founder and CEO of XYZ. I created this site in 2004 to create a place where investors could learn, network, market and make deals in a safe online environment..
  9. I’ve been interviewed, quoted, and referenced by top media outlets including: The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, CBS News Radio, The Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, US News & World Report, and more.
  10. Additionally, some of my articles from the XYZ blog can be found syndicated on Reuters, Fox Business News, Chicago Sun-Times, etc..
  11. With financial barriers removed now that you have plenty of available credit from the previous day’s exercise you’ll be encouraged to sign up for the advanced course where you’ll supposedly learn everything you need to know to get rich in real estate.
  12. Unfortunately, the guru you were so excited to see probably won’t even be there because these extras are usually coordinated by their other students.
  13. Before signing up for any course take 5 minutes to Google the guru and get both positive and negative feedback so you can make an informed decision.
  14. When was the last time you showed a coworker, employee, referral partner, or investor how grateful you were for their help?
  15. This area is also very equestrian Friendly and many of the homes have beautiful staples and hangers.
  16. Explain what the member will learn from your presentation – why should they come to your presentation?
  17. These small cardboard boxes have been distributed Sunday School.
  18. Finally, even though a new member is still developing their relationships in the chapter, they still have a whole network behind them!
  19. Once a pattern is identified as a problem, practitioners must now breakdown that pattern to find the root cause of the dysfunction.
  20. Please call us at 1-888-874-2004 Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4:30 PM PST.
  21. Player’s are more powerful, more athletic and better equipped at an earlier age to perform at the highest levels while older players are extending their careers at incredibly high performance levels.
  22. On the Miami-Dade PD range, run by range master, Steve Mesa, the cast of Miami Vice is taught weapon handling and shooting by Mesa and Mick Gould.

Bonus: What’s the #1 misspelled word in the Sarasota, Florida, Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

Leaders LEAD

Is leadership a top-down or bottom-up process? I’ve thought a lot about this question since the ’80s, when I was dating a musician whose music was amazing. I’d watch him playing and think: Is he reaching up to God, or is God reaching down to him? When we attempt perfection, are we worshiping God?

Well, I think leadership is a two-way street: God is reaching down, while we are reaching up. And one of the big things I like about editing is that perfection is possible. Am I worshiping God by trying to be perfect? You bet!

And perhaps that’s why I don’t “get it” when I see so-called leaders make such a deliberate hash of their promotional materials. Case in point. I belong to an international referral network organization. I have learned so much about my business from the members, who are some of the sharpest, smartest people I’ve ever met. Many of them are true role models, people you want to emulate. But the organization’s leadership? Not so much.

How can you be a “leader” when the first promotional piece a new member receives contains, according to my count, seven misspelled words, 37 punctuation mistakes (for my purposes, these are errors in capitalization, hyphens, italics, and spacing), 22 grammar mistakes (mostly noun-pronoun and noun-verb agreement mistakes), 13 “inconsistencies” (like when there are three different copyright notices, certain phrases aren’t spelled the same way, etc.), nine times when the mistakes were what I characterize as “judgement calls,” and two times when I would have to ask what was meant, because, either way, you don’t do what was done. I wasn’t even harsh: I bet someone else could make a case for higher numbers. (And, no, I didn’t count anything in two categories. And, for purposes of the count, I only counted the three different ways the pagination/copyright notices were displayed as three mistakes, not once for each time they appeared. So, no, I didn’t pad my numbers.)

This organization. 1500 or so businesses in my franchise area. 1500 people receive this particular promotional piece every year, and it was updated in 2016. 100 individual mistakes, give or take a couple, in 21 pages.

Helloooo? You know I’m an editor. I’m a member of this organization. I pay you to be a member of this organization. You know I can help. What would have been the cost to edit this piece? $1000? $2000? What’s it worth not to look like a jackass in front of your membership? Well, if I’d had access to the file, it would have cost about $180. If I had to go through someone else, it would have cost about $280, because I would have had to check that person’s work.

So, what’s the takeaway when you receive such deliberately lousy promotional piece? Frankly, the takeaway is that people don’t give a darn. There’s no more obvious way to tell people that you don’t give a darn—about yourself, about them—than to put out a sloppy promotional piece with 100 mistakes in it. And, to me, it’s a real slap in the face.

Is anyone trying? Is this the best that can be done? Is anyone worshiping God by putting out this sloppy crap, which I will not call “educational,” and then turning around and portraying the franchise team members as “leaders”?

And, the lack of leadership shows. At a “leadership” conference for the same organization the day before, a PowerPoint program was shown with four misspelled words in it. How does that happen? The lack of leadership trickles down. The lack of leadership sends a message. Nobody cares. Nobody notices.

But that’s not true! If my friend the pianist had been a poor player, a sloppy player, no one would have listened to him. But he practiced, he played, and he was reaching up to the Almighty in his own way. His playing could move you to tears.

Always strive for perfection. Whatever it is you do, strive for perfection. I guarantee that people notice. I guarantee that people care. Do I believe that God is watching? You bet I do.

Let’s start reaching up, people. I believe that God is reaching down, all this time, every moment of every day, and it’s up to us to meet him halfway.

 

Truth in writing: this blog post originally contained the word “shit,” twice. I changed it to “darn,” which lacks impact, but is more businesslike.

Never separate your subject and your verb with a comma.

A very basic rule.

Let’s look at this sentence.

Father Andres Simpkinson, will tell us about his missionary work.

No! What’s that comma doing there?

Here’s another sentence.

The sisters, neither of whom liked their eldest sister, drained their mother’s estate while fighting her reasonable and legal demands for the yearly accounting.

This is okay, since the pair of commas enclose a parenthetical phrase; “pulled” out, you have a working sentence. But you’ve got to have a pair of commas, or it doesn’t work.

Advanced Lesson about Punctuation with Quotation Marks

Hi all!

I hope we all know that punctuation with quotation marks is very straightforward in American English. There are very straightforward rules, which always include the word always.

You always lead with double quotes. If there is quoted material inside the double quotes, switch to single quotes.

Quotation marks do not always come in pairs, despite what Grammarly.com says. If a character speaks into a second paragraph, do not use end quotes at the end of the paragraph. Start the second paragraph with double quotes, and, whenever that character finishes speaking, show your reader when that happens by concluding with double quotes.

Commas and periods are always placed inside quotation marks. There are no exceptions. I mean none.

Semicolons and colons are always placed outside quotation marks. There are no exceptions. I mean none.

The placement of exclamation points and question marks with respect to quotation marks always depends on the context of the quote.

That’s the basic part of the quotation mark rule book. Now, here’s the tricky part. The good news is that if you know the “basic” part, you know the “tricky” part as well!

What if you have a list of items. What if one or more of these items is enclosed by quotation marks, and one or more of the items includes a question mark or exclamation point—what do you do then?

Well, when I say there are no exceptions, what does that mean? I mean there are no exceptions.

Which makes this sentence incorrect:

This week we begin a conversation about Confession—”What is it?”, “Why do we do it?”, “Do we have to do it?”.

Okay. First off, the dash is wrong. A colon introduces a list, while a comma or a dash introduces an appositive phrase. A colon (the “namely” colon) should precede this list. The list should include an “and” between the penultimate and last item. And the commas and period? The commas should be inside the quotes, and the last question mark should be the last mark of punctuation.  Ditch that period. The sentence should look like this:

This week we begin a conversation about Confession: “What is it?,” “Why do we do it?,” and “Do we have to do it?”

In addition to this sentence, which features questions about Confession, it’s easy to imagine being faced with a list of newspaper or magazine articles, song titles, or, perhaps, poems—which all need quotation marks—one or more of which could have an exclamation point or question mark and so the above rule applies.

Easy!

 

Oh, those hyphens!

I am always interested in hyphens. It’s not stretching the truth to say that I actually love hyphens. A hyphen is always worth looking at—even though what should be a hyphen often turns out to be a dash—because a hyphen generally indicates a word in a state of flux. For example, after-noon, e-mail, and non-profit are all words that were, at first, new concepts, but now have made the transition into non-hyphenated status because of their universal acceptance; in other words, we “get” what “afternoon” means.

However, sometimes a hyphen is needed for clarity, and I got a good example of that circumstance just now, when I placed an order online. Just as I had placed the order (the very split second I placed it!), I realized that the vendor still had my old credit card information on file. I updated the information, and then sent a quick email to the sellers, and asked if they could “re-charge” my order with my updated information, because it certainly wasn’t going to go through, or whether I needed to “re-place” my order.

To “recharge” something, usually batteries, is not the same thing as it is to “re-charge” a credit card, just as it’s not the same to “replace” something, which means to substitute or return an item, as it is to “re-place” an order.

Interesting! Gotta love it!

Who uses these services??

I’ve been on a creative tear recently, buying domain names left and right, which means I’m getting all sorts of spam from companies that say they’ll write my content (cheap!) or design my new logo (cheap!), but this is the first resume-writing spam I’ve gotten. Could I trust these people to get me a job on the strength of their lousy writing? Are you kidding me? A 10th grader writes better than this!
Save your money, folks!

Hi,

Behind Every Interview Call.
is a Resume that Won!

Resume Finesse is your ultimate resume writing service provider that delivers quality through creative copy.

Not yet a member? It’s easy to sign-up for a resume that helps you to get hired easily.

(For Pete’s sake! “Sign-up” is a noun; the verb form is “sign up.”)

Resume Finesse is one of the biggest names that provide effective resume writing services globally. We have made a strong reputation by writing 100,000+ unique resumes. We work to be the number one and hence, our skills and experience has given us an edge over others.

(Oooh, a bunch of noun-verb problems! “Resume Finesse” is singular; “provide” should be “provides.” And, the plural noun phrase “skills and experience” needs a plural verb. Is there a plural verb? Nope, “has” is singular. And what’s up with the phrase “we work to be the number one”? I’d re-write the whole cotton-picking thing! Yuck!)

Surveys of major publications rank our resumes with a
92% higher chance of generating a job interview or getting the job, as compared to resumes written by others in the industry.

(Exactly which “major publications” are you talking about? MAD magazine?)

How We do It?

(God knows. I don’t think you do “do it”!)

Our designed account managers use comprehensive research methods, through which they discover the recruitment process of the targeted A-list companies. They uncover the roles for you that are often unadvertised. Let our coaches expose how employers perceive your CV and let them coach you through approaching them.

(Um, do you mean “designated”? Why “the,” when “targeted A-list companies” is what you want. And then there’s the pronoun confusion, with “them” standing in for both these purported “coaches” as well as those supposed A-list “employers.” Double yuck!)

Why Should You Choose Us?

(You shouldn’t! Run from companies like this one!)

Dropping CVs in today’s world is a finger tap away. With recruiters being bombarded with applicants every single day, the requirements for the ideal candidate have become more stringent than ever.

(I’m not 100% sure what that first sentence means. “Dropping” CVs? Do you mean “deleting”?)

Therefore, the need to standout from the pack is imperative. That’s where we come in.

(Good lord, the verb is “stand out,” not “standout”! “Standout” is a NOUN!)

  • We employ real life industry insights to get you noticed
  • Certified professional writers
  • Custom resume designs
  • Unlimited resume revisions
  • Dedicated writer just for you
  • 1 day turnaround time

(Hey, let’s put some hyphens in here, one between “real” and “life,” and another between “1” and “day.” And who’s doing this “certification,” huh?)