Writing for Business

May 19, 2010  12:42 PM

Was he electrocuted or merely shocked?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The plaintiff maintained that his disability was a result of being ___________ by a faulty device when he was in the hospital.
a. electrocuted
b. shocked

Continued »

May 17, 2010  9:41 PM

Per say what?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
A serious reportable event is not evidence of negligence ______.
a. per say
b. perse
c. per se

Continued »

May 14, 2010  2:22 PM

Between you and I or between you and me?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Between you and ___ claims of openness seem to suggest that there’s something to hide.
a. I,
b. me,

Continued »

May 14, 2010  12:27 PM

Forward, back, north, south

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Our long-time correspondent and frequent contributor Herzl (Tselly) Regev sent in this response to the question we sent out yesterday, If a deadline’s moved forward is it earlier or later? It seems the Israeli army has a different way of looking at this issue.

Here’s Tselly’s note:


In Israel, the army is perhaps the most prolific source of slang. Probably from there, “to the North” means “forward”, and “to the South” is “backwards”. As in: “starting Tuesday and to the North” means “from Tuesday and forward”. So if you move a date to the North, it actually moves to the South in the calendar…

Herzl (Tselly) Regev

Oooohhhh, must sit down. My head is spinning. Like many people, I find the directional concept confusing with dates — if, for example, I push something forward, it gets farther away from me. If I push it back, it could go backwards or it could go back towards whoever pushed it towards me in the first place. I don’t think I’ll get into that. No, I’ll just sit quietly and think about stationary items. And the next time someone asks if we can push a meeting back (or forward for that matter), I’ll just say no.

Tselly wrote again to say:

Actually I’m saying that the up and down are hopelessly mixed. Indeed, what does it mean to move a date up or down?

Maybe you’d like the biblical orientation, to the orient: the usual biblical word for east is forward, west is back (or to the sea – the Mediterranean), south is right (yamin or teiman – the Hebrew name of Yemen) and north is left.

There is a famous map of Israel on display in Jordan that is thus oriented. I seem to remember a Greek map of “the world” fron the 5th century BCE that is oriented like today’s maps, so I wonder where the word “orientation” comes from.

May 11, 2010  4:27 PM

Combining quotation marks with other punctuation

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
According to Peter Drucker “there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a _________
a. customer.”
b. customer”.

Continued »

May 11, 2010  2:47 PM

Hyphenating compound modifiers

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
In a _______ circuit, external noise can be picked up from appliances in the vicinity, from electrical transformers, from the atmosphere and even from outer space.
a. hard wired
b. hard-wired
Continued »

May 5, 2010  2:53 PM

Verbing nouns

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Funds made available through the HITECH Act are expected to ________ faster adoption of electronic health records.
a. motivate
b. incentivize
c. incent
Continued »

April 30, 2010  12:45 PM

Supersede or supercede?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Many experts predict that cloud computing will completely _______ desktop computing within the not-too-distant future.
a. supersede
b. supercede
c. superseed

Continued »

April 29, 2010  11:31 PM

Bored? Maybe you need a nobby.

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

I was writing this morning about the difference between augur and auger and interesting things about both words. The interesting thing about an auger is that it used to be a nauger but then, somehow, there was confusion about how the words split and we were left with an auger and nauger isn’t even a word.

I was reminded of a joke in Cathleen Schine’s The Three Weissmans of Westport, which I didn’t really have time to reproduce then but will now. Here it is:

An old man who’s just retired to Florida asks another old guy, “How do you stand it. After two days already I’m bored.”
“Simple,” says the guy in a heavy Yiddish accent. “I have a nobby.”
“A nobby?” says the first old man. “What’s a nobby?”
“A nobby, a nobby— like collecting stemps.”
“You collect stamps?” the first one asks.
“Stemps? No. I keep bees. In mine condo.”
He takes the newcomer up the elevator, into his condo, takes a shoe box from the closet, and lifts the lid. “There!”
“But they’re all dead! This is just a box full of dead bees! What kind of a beekeeper are you?”
“Hey,” says the guy. “It’s just a nobby.”

Here’s where I would use this as a catapulting metaphor to launch an insightful observation about life. But, in fact, I just liked the book and liked this joke. And now I won’t forget it — or if I do, I know where I can find it.

April 29, 2010  12:58 PM

Does that augur well or auger well?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The CFO said, with a twinkle in her eye, that the client’s enthusiasm for the straw man proposal ______ well for negotiations.
a. augured
b. augered

Continued »

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