Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

April 12, 2010  1:41 PM

Is that a FAQ list or an FAQ list?

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
a FAQ or an FAQ, acronyms and initialisms, Business writing, CIO, grammar, pronunciation, Quiz

Which is correct?
The MultiSpeak website provides ______ list explaining more about the initiative.
a. a FAQ
b. an FAQ

Continued »

April 8, 2010  10:41 PM

Valuable or invaluable?

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Business writing, CIO, confusing words, grammar, health information, health information sharing, health IT, Quiz, valuable vs. invaluable, word meanings

Which is correct?
According to some critics, the sharing of health data among organizations will provide ___________ source of information for insurance providers seeking to deny claims.
a. a valuable
b. an invaluable

Continued »

April 8, 2010  5:35 PM

Utmost or upmost?

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Business writing, CIO, commonly confused words, grammar, Quiz, utmost or upmost

Which is correct?
The security of clients’ personal information is of _______ importance.
a. upmost
b. utmost

Answer: b

I learn so much writing this blog! I’d seen “upmost” online before but never suspected it was a real word until I looked into the matter today.

Utmost is an adjective meaning to the greatest degree. Nothing could be more important.

Upmost is an archaic variation of uppermost, an adjective meaning in the top position, like the top branches of a tree.

I suspect that 99% or so of instances of upmost should be utmost. I think I’ll have a poke around online, when I get a chance, to see what I can find out. In the meantime, though…

Tina Blue writes about distinguishing upmost from utmost:

The word “upmost” is actually a form of “uppermost,” and it does not fit into the same sort of sentence that calls for “utmost.” In fact, you will seldom find it at all in modern American usage, though I do not know whether that form is still common in British English.

“Uppermost” means in the highest or most prominent position, power or rank,


~Uppermost in his mind were the risks of doing business with such a crook.

~The sweetest fruit was found in the uppermost branches.

In other words, be careful not to use “upmost” (position) when you mean “utmost” (degree), and if you should decide that “upmost” is the word you actually need, you should probably consider substituting the more commonly used “uppermost.”

> Read the whole post.

Thanks to @code_and_prose for the suggestion!

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April 7, 2010  10:34 AM

Omitting “that”

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Business writing, CIO, grammar, open source, programming, Quiz, that

Which is correct?
Linus Torvalds _______ choosing to be an open source software engineer is a calling, rather than a career choice.
a. said that
b. said

Continued »

April 1, 2010  2:46 PM

Had had, that that, is is — are doubled words okay?

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Business writing, CIO, doubled words, grammar, Grammar Girl, had had, is is, Quiz, sentence structure

Which is correct?
Frustrated by shoddy products and bad service, she tweeted that she _____ enough and would never buy from that company again.
a. had had
b. had

Continued »

April 1, 2010  2:14 PM

Is it April Fools, April Fool’s or April Fools’ Day?

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
apostrophes, April Fools', Business writing, CIO, grammar, Quiz, spelling holiday names

Which is correct?
The Daily Telegraph reported that ferrets would be involved in delivering broadband to rural areas. Oh right — it’s ____________.
a. April Fools Day
b. April Fool’s Day
c. April Fools’ Day

Continued »

March 29, 2010  1:35 PM

“Awhile” or “a while?”

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
awhile or a while, Business writing, CIO, common grammar errors, exploits, grammar, Quiz, spelling

Which is correct?
Ransomware hasn’t been in the news for _______ but it seems to be making a comeback.
a. a while
b. awhile

Continued »

March 26, 2010  2:30 PM

Passive vs. active voice

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
active voice or passive voice, Business writing, CIO, grammar, Quiz, Security, testing

Which is correct?
a. Fuzz testing was originally developed by Barton Miller at the University of Wisconsin in 1989.
b. Barton Miller originally developed fuzz testing at the University of Wisconsin in 1989.

Continued »

March 25, 2010  1:08 PM

Borne out or born out?

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
born out or borne out, Business writing, CIO, commonly misspelled words, energy, grammar, perpetual motion, Quiz

Which is correct?
Claims of perpetual motion devices that would create clean, free energy have never been ______ out.
a. borne
b. born

Continued »

March 23, 2010  3:03 PM

Has lain or has laid?

Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Business writing, CIO, grammar, has laid or has lain, Quiz, Smart Grid, tricky grammar questions, verbs

Which is correct?
The United States has ____ out plans to standardize domestic smart grid development.
a. lain
b. laid

Continued »

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