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The CopyWriters Connection
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I want To Make It ClearViews: 324
Mar 07, 2006 2:04 pmI want To Make It Clear#

Steven Boaze

Phrases and words are not what they used to be.

See what I mean....

AFFECT/EFFECT: Affect is a verb. Effect is a
noun. There are very specialized cases where that
rule changes, but they won't apply to you unless
you're a psychiatrist or a corporate attorney.
"His decision affected us." "The invention had an
effect on our business plan."

DATA IS/DATA ARE: Everybody who knows a
smattering of Latin will argue that "data" is
plural. "Datum" is the singular form. Therefore,
"data are" seems correct. Well, no, not really. I
guess if you're writing a letter to the Pope in
Latin, that's the way you should do it, but if
you're writing in English, you need to be aware
that we have what are called "collective nouns."
These are words like "jury," "team," or "sales
force," that represent a group of individuals but
which almost always take a singular noun: "The
jury is sequestered in the Brown Hotel." "The
team is flying to Chicago for a weekend series."
"The sales force is gathering in Orlando for
training." The word "data" is that kind of noun.
Therefore, correct usage in English calls for a
singular verb form: "The data is stored in a
relational database."

SERVE/SERVICE: I saw a letter in which a systems
integration company promised, "Every facet of our
company is oriented to servicing you, the
customer." Does that sound odd to you? I'm not
sure I want to be "serviced," although I might
try it once just to see if I like it.

SIMPLE/SIMPLISTIC: The word "simple" means
uncomplicated. The word "simplistic" means,
essentially, "stupid." (It really means something
like oversimplifying to the point of distortion,
but "stupid" is close enough.) Anyway, what kind
of impression does a cover letter make when it
proudly tells the customer, "We have carefully
developed a simplistic solution to assure rapid
deployment."

Thanks for letting me stew...

Steven Boaze

Private Reply to Steven Boaze

Mar 07, 2006 3:18 pmre: I want To Make It Clear#

Wot's... Uh The Deal (Vijai)
As usual, great tips Steven.
For a look at common bloopers and how to avoid them, I would recommend the book, "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

Some testimonials...

"Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility" - The New York Times.

"The work remains a nonpareil: direct, correct, and delightful" - The New Yorker

I think I need not head over to another thread and endorse the power that testimonials can carry!

Private Reply to Wot's... Uh The Deal (Vijai)

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