exasperate vs exacerbate

ComputerManArrowsandQuestionsBoth of these words are rather difficult to pronounce, and they mean different things.

* exasperate is often used as an adjective “exasperated” as well as a verb “exasperate”, where it means to “irritate”. If someone is exasperated, they are irritated by someone or something.

* exacerbate is a verb that means to make a situation worse.

Credit for these “Common Errors in English” to the Common Errors in English blog and calendar.

If you still get confused with English grammar and usage, please contact us, the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help!

Three Reasons to Blog for Your Business

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What is a business blog and why should you have one? The most important function of a blog is to serve as a platform for you and your business; a blog is a way for you to easily, quickly, and consistently tell your story to prospects and current clients or customers.

Whatever your creative or business endeavor, you can be sure that there are thousands or even tens of thousands of other people or businesses like yours. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Writing and publishing regularly on your own blog will help to get you noticed and established as an authority in your field.

1) Establish Relationships with Your Readers

Unlike most “push-type” ads that only allow for one-way communication from you to your prospects, a blog allows you to have a two-way communication venue to actual conversations between you, your prospects, and your customers or clients. Building actual relationships with people helps to build your brand and your reputation.

2) Bring Traffic to Your Website

Publishing regular posts on your blog is a fantastic way bring attention and traffic to your website. (You DO have a website, don’t you?) As you become more proficient in your blogging efforts, you’ll learn how to use relevant keywords for your niche or industry, learn to share on your social networks, and to link to other similar blogs for greater exposure.

Sharing your blog posts via social media is accomplished in two ways: 1) you share via your own social networks when you publish your post, and 2) your readers share your posts via their social media outlets. By ensuring that your blog posts are shared far and wide, you will increase your visibility and your authority.

3) Generate Leads for Your Business

Each of your blog posts should include a CTA (“Call To Action”) that encourages your readers to sign up for your email list, contact you for further information, or “Like” your Facebook Page. Your email list will be one of your most valuable items, so getting contact information for your prospects and customers or clients will be so much easier from a blog post that also gives your readers valuable and interesting information.

A blog for your business is different than the personal blogs that many people have for journaling or family and friends. Your business blog is an invaluable tool for growing your company. If you would like help in setting up your business blog on your business website, we would love to work with you! Contact us!

Conjunctions: It’s All About Joining

School_House_Rock!“Conjunction.” One of my favorite words. As most of remember from grammar or primary school, a conjunction is a word that connects parts of a sentence. However, did you know there are several different types of conjunctions?

The original type of conjunction that we were all taught is called a “coordinating conjunction”: and, but, or, yet, for, nor, so. When these coordinating conjunctions connect two independent clauses (those that can stand alone with full meaning), they are usually (but not always) preceded by a comma.

  • My new puppy likes to eat, but his stomach is so small he can only eat a little at a time.

The next type of conjunction is called a “subordinating conjunction” which begins a dependent clause-a clause that depends on the rest of the sentence to derive its meaning. Well-known subordinating conjunctions (which can also be used as prepositions) include: after, as, if only, though, unless, whereas, even though, than, that, in order that.

Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs in sentences, joining sentence elements that are not right next to each other: both…and, neither…nor, whether…or, not only…but also, either…or.

  • “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
  • “Whether you win the race or lose it, what matters most is that you tried.”

Now that you have learned about all kinds of conjunctions, it’s time for a 1970s flashback, enjoy “Conjunction Junction” by School House Rock!

Pique, Peek, or Peak?

ComputerManArrowsandQuestionsThe word “pique” comes from the French and means to “excite”, as in to “pique one’s interest” [in something].

Use “peek” when sneaking a look at something.

When you arrive at the “peak” of something, you are at the top or uppermost point.

Still confused by the meanings of similar words in the English language? Let the professionals at Writing It Right For You help you out! Contact us today!

Affect or Effect?

Affect and effect are two of the most-often confused words in the English language. The simple rule is:
* affect spelled with an “a” is usually a verb that shows some kind of action. The simple definition of affect is “to influence” or “to make happen”. How will eating chocolate cake for every meal affect my weight?
* effect spelled with an “e” is usually a noun that names something. The simple definition of effect is “a result”. The effect of my choice of chocolate cake for every meal was a big change in my weight.

The two words seem to sound alike, but actually there is a slight difference in pronunciation between “uh-fect” (affect) and “eh-fect” (effect).

Use the verb affect when you are describing how one thing has an impact upon another thing.

Use the noun effect when you are showing the result of an action or feeling.

Since this is the English language we’re talking about, there are some exceptions to this grammar rule. In psychology, affect can be used differently; and effect can sometimes be use as a verb.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Three Reasons Why Brand Management Is Important

Branding Word Cloud

Your business is defined by its brand. The brand is how your clients or customers recognize your company, evaluate your service, and perceives your reputation. The loyalty and attachment to you and your company by your clients or customers are associated with the products and services you offer. By properly developing the marketing activities of your business, and by keeping control of the message of your brand, you will:

• Enhance the recognition of your company

• Differentiate your products and services from your competition

• Protect the reputation of your business

The recognition of your company’s brand is enhanced by the marketing and promotional activities that cause your clients and customers to think of you and your company first when they are ready to buy your products or invest in your services. The #1 way to maintain brand recognition is to be consistent with the photo and/or logo you use for all of your marketing materials, including your e-signature, your blog, your newsletter, your press releases, and all other forms of communication you use in your business.

Who or what is your direct competition? Every business has competition, and knowing who you are competing against can help you to grow your brand as well as your business. Knowledge about your competitors will not only help you to keep the customers you have, but it can also help you to improve the quality of your own products and services. One of the easiest ways to keep tabs on your competition is to set up Google alerts for your industry or business model. Remember to also set up a Google alert for your own company so that you can see what is being written about you.

When you work to protect and control the reputation of your brand, you have a two-pronged goal: 1) to ensure that your company promotes and maintains its “good name”, and 2) establishing continuous and positive online and offline visibility. Some branding techniques to put in place to monitor and improve your brand’s reputation include: Keeping your website updated so that it is listed near or at the top in search engines. Having a comprehensive and responsive social media marketing strategy, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Developing an online community that encourages two-way communications between your company and your clients and prospects.

Managing your brand should be a strategic and foundational goal for you and your company. Your brand and the messages it gives to clients and prospects will determine whether they will become your loyal customer base and help you to grow your business.

The branding and marketing professionals at the Writing It Right For You Companies can help you to develop an effective branding program for our small business or solo practitioner company. Contact us for your free 15-minute consultation; together we can assist you in determining the branding goals and objectives for your brand.

Daily Grammar Tip: everyday or every day?

Writing It Right For You - English Grammar Usage TipsThe word “everyday” is an adjective; it modifies a noun, as in “…my everyday clothes.” However, when you are using the adverbial phrase “every day”, make sure that you write it as two words. How often do you eat breakfast? Hopefully, you eat breakfast every day; but you might set the table with your everyday dishes.

Credit: “Common Errors in English Usage”

 

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Three Important Differences Between Branding and Marketing

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Branding and Marketing Are Not The Same

Many businesses believe that their brand and their marketing efforts are the same. However, your brand is the foundation and the basis of all marketing efforts. Establish your brand first, and then plan your marketing campaigns. Here are three ways that branding and marketing are different:

1)Your brand is about just one thing.

Your brand is a communication that will “pull” and encourage people to buy your product or service. Your brand conveys a strategic message that builds loyalty and gives people a reason to believe in your company enough to invest in your product or service. Your brand answers one question: Who are we? Your branding message (also often called your tagline or slogan) should be stated in just a few words that convey your company’s mission and the promise to your clients or customers.

2)Your marketing efforts actively promote your product or service.

Your company uses marketing campaigns to push out tactical messages to produce sales results, but it is not the selling process itself. Marketing involves discovering, creating, and satisfying the needs of your clients or customers. Marketing develops the demand for your product or service.

3) Your brand produces loyalty; your marketing activates buying.

Your brand is developed after you have identified your target audience, what they want, and the promise to deliver. All activities for your company are based on your brand. All identifiers, colors, logos, etc., are based on your brand. Your brand instills in your clients or customers an emotional connection of reliability and trust. Your business identity is a reflection of the look and feel of the company as defined by its brand, and that identity is used in your marketing materials.

Marketing is an integral part of your overall brand, and helps you to communicate the promise of your brand.  Marketing involves storytelling; communicating the value of your brand through creative, effective, and measurable marketing campaigns.

Branding and marketing are different. Developing a strategic branding strategy after you have listened to what your clients or customers want. Prepare and execute your tactical marketing campaigns when you are ready to talk to your clients or customers and tell them why they should buy from you.

Your Business Your  Brand Creatively is a 5 module system to assist creative professionals build their brands and market their services. Learn more here; we would love to work with you!

Happy Spring! Is it an equinox or a solstice?

Question Person

Happy Spring Equinox! It’s the official first day of spring, FINALLY!

We are re-publishing this post to celebrate the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Here is another word pair that is often misused or misunderstood. Both words define the annual path of the Sun.

 

Revolving earth at winter solstice on the nort...
Revolving earth at winter solstice on the northern hemisphere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“equinox”: there are two sets of days of the year when the Sun crosses the equator and the length of the day and the night are equal (hence, “equinox”). The vernal equinox is in the spring about March 20-21, and the autumnal equinox occurs in the fall (autumn) around September 22-23. These dates are for the northern hemisphere, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes are reversed in the southern hemisphere. The word “equinox” comes from the Latin equinoxium, which translates to “equality between day and night”.

“solstice”: the solstice also occurs twice a year–once when the Sun is at its northernmost point (at the Tropic of Cancer) and again when the Sun is at its southernmost point (at the Tropic of Capricorn). The summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere occurs about June 21-22. The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere occurs about December 21. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium which translates to “sun standing still”. During each solstice, it seems as if the Sun is standing still.

If you would like to work with the expert writing and editing team at Writing It Right For You, contact us! We’ll make sure that your writing is never confusing!

Leave us any questions you have about confusing word pairs in the comments section!

 

 

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Defamation: Libel or Slander?

Writing It Right For You - English Grammar Usage Tips

“Defamation” is the legal term for publishing disparaging information about a person in verbal or written form with the intent to damage the reputation of that person. Whether the defamation attempt is considered “libel” or “slander” depends on how the defamation attempt is published.

Libel is a defamatory remark that is published in writing, on the radio, or in audio or video form.

Slander is a defamatory remark that is published orally via a gesture or verbal communication that is not recorded.

The person who is the target of defamation by either libel or slander can file suit against the defamer by with court action to prove:

1) that a defamatory statement was made;

2) that the statement was published (as outlined above) to a 3rd party;

3) that the defamer knew or should have known that the statement was false;

4) that injury was caused to the target of the defamation.

Unlike the usual court cases where someone is “innocent until proven guilty”, in defamation court cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff or the person who is the subject of the defamatory publication.

That is why it is imperative for creative freelancers and other business owners who provide services to clients to ensure that they are protected with detailed and legally binding contracts and that they have complete documentation of any and all communications–just in case.

The person who intends to defame, even “casually”, should also be prepared to defend their claim as they can very easily be counter-sued by the original plaintiff.

 

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. Please consult your own legal professional for detailed information on libel and slander.

 

 

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similar to/different from

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Disclaimer: You know that I am an English teacher, don’t you? Welcome to your English lesson for today: how to correctly use these two common phrases.

Recently I have heard these prepositional phrases used incorrectly. What is a prepositional phrase, you ask? That question has a simple answer: it is a phrase (an incomplete sentence) that includes a preposition (words that show a spatial relationship–especially those that show direction).

When I taught elementary school, my favorite way to teach prepositional phrases was to have my students sing that classic Thanksgiving song: “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…”

The words “to” and “from” are prepositions, so the phrases “similar to” and “different from” are prepositional phrases, but it is important to use the correct prepositions to use with the adjectives (descriptive modifiers of nouns).

There is a commercial currently running about dentures adhesive where the actress playing a dentist says: “…dentures are very different to real teeth.” Yikes! She should be saying “different from real teeth.

The word “similar” means almost alike, so one noun in the comparison is actually coming towards (or to) the other noun. The word “different” means not alike, so one noun is actually moving away (or from) the other noun in the comparison.

Please be grammatically correct and when comparing two nouns, say either “similar to” or “different from”. You will sound and be so smart!

Class dismissed!

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