Category Archive: Business Writing

Mar 20

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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Mar 10

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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Feb 01

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!

If you have a project that would be improved with the assistant of the English experts at Writing It Right For You, contact us (http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/contact-us-2) and we’ll be glad to help!

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Jan 27

Scrivener is the #1 App for All of my Writing Projects

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I am a writer. I am an editor. I am a manuscript preparer and an eBook publisher. I am a social media marketing and branding consultant. For all of those roles that I manage for my three businesses, I do a lot of writing. I write on my MacBook Air from my home office and my MacBook Pro from my Midtown Detroit office. Away from my offices, I write my iPad2 and iPad Mini.

When I write short, often internal documents, I use Google Docs and Google Drive. Most of my clients send me documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the global gold standard contained in the Microsoft Office Suite; I use those programs in Office for Mac 2011, which integrates (almost) perfectly with the PC/Windows version. Sometimes I use Pages, Keynote, and Numbers in the Apple iWorks Office Suite, mostly because the apps are fun to use (and now free in iOS). For now however, for the majority of my original writing and editing I do for myself and for my clients, I use Scrivener, the popular application designed especially for writers.

Scrivener is not a “word processor”, it is a writing tool. What is the difference? Scrivener was designed just for writers, who are, for the most part, right-brained “creatives”. Scrivener includes several features that allow writers to plan, organize, view, edit, and write in whatever structure they are most comfortable. Completed Scrivener projects can be exported in many formats, including for eBooks.

MacBook Pro Available in 15.4- and 17-inch dia...

MacBook Pro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I use Scrivener to write my blog posts, my articles, my eBooks and books, my courses, my marketing materials, and my podcast scripts.

In a future post of my “Apps I Use” series, I will give you a more complete narrative of the app and how I use it for my businesses, but right now I have several client projects to finish. All of them have been uploaded to my Scrivener account, which I can access on both of my MacBooks.

This is going to be fun. If you need the assistance of the professional writers and editors at Writing It Right For You, contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

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Dec 27

The Top 10 Year-End Financial Questions for Freelancers

2014

Updated for 2013:

Yes, it’s almost here—the end of the calendar year! While most people are asking themselves what is the best way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, freelancers and small business owners should first be asking themselves important financial questions about their business finances. Before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, here are some questions you should ask yourself and your bookkeeper or accountant:

1)            Are my general ledger balances reconciled with my bank statement balances?

2)            Are there any accounts receivables or bad debts that can or should be written off?

3)            Are the inventory balances correct—do they include inventory items that should be written down to match their actual market value?

4)            Are the listed fixed assets still owned and properly depreciated?

5)            Have all adjustments been made for any prepaid items such as insurance and fees?

6)            Have all payables been accurately recorded?

7)            Have all payroll tax liabilities been reconciled with the quarterly reports?

8)            Are all of the notes payable accounts (loans) reconciled with the bank statements?

9)            Are all debts included in the year-end financial statement?

10)         Are all accounts receivables been reviewed and correctly aged?

As you prepare to answer these questions and check your financial records, are you even sure that those records are in good order? Can you and your financial advisors easily access all of your documents? Are all of your invoices, receipts, and business documents entered and indexed? Do you have a comprehensive way to keep track of all of the relevant conversations and emails with your clients and customers? Have you sent out your final invoices and collected those last payments?

Those of you who follow our Writing It Right For You Blog know that we periodically highlight the great apps we use to run our company. We actually use the apps we recommend—after we’ve tried several similar apps. All of the apps we recommend are especially designed for people and companies like ours: freelancers, SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) business owners, and solo practitioners—they are not scaled down versions of larger applications meant for large businesses.

You know that if you treat your business as a business, taking good care of the administrative tasks are just as important as completing the actual client work. If you are a freelancer or a small business owner with 1-10 employees, check out the apps that we have found to be very helpful to keep our business records in order, to manage our clients and our projects, to do our bookkeeping and accounting, and to invoice our clients.

All of these apps are online and are SaaS, which stands for “Software as a Service”. Instead of plunking down hundreds of dollars for shrinkwrapped software SaaS applications are delivered and supported directly to your computer online for a monthly subscription fee. Besides the ease of use, one of the things we most like about our apps is that they are interrelated and work together so that we don’t have to enter the same information repeatedly.

The data is secure and can be accessed from any computer (and mobile devices in most cases) with an Internet connection. A good group of apps to start with if you are considering using cloud-based apps and keeping of your client and financial data in the cloud:

  • HIghrise by 37Signals for our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application to keep track of all of our prospects and clients.
  • Freshbooks for time tracking and invoicing for your clients.
  • GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) for small business bookkeeping and accounting.

Happy New Year—here’s to greater success and a more organized business for you and your company!

 

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