Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog


October 21, 2009  3:18 PM

Which is correct — oriented or orientated?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The user found that the application worked well if she could get the phone view ________ with the package barcode.
a. orientated
b. oriented

Continued »

October 20, 2009  1:30 PM

Purposely or purposefully?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Although most information breaches aren’t committed _________, the effects can be just as serious as if there had been a security attack.
a. purposely
b. purposefully

Continued »


October 16, 2009  6:05 PM

Any more or anymore?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore
typing Which is correct?
So many products include tracking capabilities that soon it won’t be possible to get lost ________.
a. any more
b. anymore

Continued »


October 15, 2009  8:15 PM

More misadventures with “myself”

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

On his Literal-Minded blog, Neal Whitman explains more about how reflexive pronouns are used correctly in an embarrassing episode from his past:

“Maddie, Ed, Deanna, and Jennifer are riding together,” said Chad. “Michelle will be riding with myself, and …”

With myself? I thought. Why was Chad talking in that pompous way? Why didn’t he just say with me? This kind of myself-abuse was one of my grammar peeves.

Syntacticians have a name for what Chad did, but it’s not a very well-chosen name. They call it a Principle A violation. If I had named it, I would have called Principle A the Reflexive Rule. It’s the rule that says that in Standard English (and other languages, too), reflexive pronouns are used when a grammatical object of a verb or preposition refers to someone already mentioned earlier in the same clause…

Whitman goes on to explain how he embarrassed himself (note correct use of reflexive pronoun) — not by using myself incorrectly but by correcting someone else who had (in, perhaps, less than ideal circumstances for a teachable moment). Oh, he was correct, grammatically. But were his motives suspect?


October 15, 2009  5:06 PM

PDA’s or PDAs?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Anything that promises to keep operating costs lower is likely to spur the market for smart phones and _____.
a. PDA’s
b. PDAs

Continued »


October 14, 2009  4:34 PM

Me, myself or I?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The final decision on cloud implementation is up to the CIO and ____.”
a. me
b. myself
c. I
Continued »


October 14, 2009  4:30 PM

‘Myself’ abuse — understanding first person singular

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Note:The following first appeared on Turner Ink

Myself abuse is rampant online and nowhere more so than in business communications. My fond hope is that the following rant might shine a little light into the dark corners of the Internet and, perhaps, stop one person from saying myself when the right word is I or me.

As Dr. Grammar says, “In the old days when people studied traditional grammar, we could simply say, ‘The first person singular pronoun is I when it’s a subject and me when it’s an object,’ but now few people know what that means.” How true! How sad.

What you should make note of from that, whether or not you know the parts of a sentence, is that myself is NOT one of your options for the subject or object of a sentence (except in the case where the subject and object are the same individual — I’ll explain more about that later).

Here are some terribly typical examples of myself abuse:

CEO: “Both the CFO and myself are very pleased with the second quarter results.” Ugh.

When you’ve got a compound subject (more than one “doer” in a sentence), you can get an idea of how wrong myself is by taking the other person out of the equation. In this case, you’re left with: “Myself am very pleased with the second quarter results.” Now, what you have understand is that the first sentence sounds every bit as stupid as that one to people who have a grasp of this grammatical rule. And there could be some listening to you.

CEO: “The second quarter results delighted both the CFO and myself.” (Does “The second quarter results delighted myself” sound okay to you? I hope not.)

Let’s look at a couple more all-too typical examples of myself abuse:

Wrong: John or myself will be available for questions after the presentation. (Myself will be available for questions after the presentation.)

Right: John or I will be available for questions after the presentation. (I will be available for questions after the presentation.)

Wrong: Please call John or myself if you have any questions. (Please call myself if you have any questions.)

Right: Please call John or me if you have any questions. (Please call me if you have any questions.)

The most common correct use of the word myself is as a reflexive pronoun. (This is what I was talking about earlier.) That means that the subject and the object of the sentence are the same individual. Here’s an example of how that works in a sentence: I embarrass myself when I use the wrong word.

Only I can do anything to myself, grammatically speaking. Same thing for you and yourself, he and himself, she and herself. If, for example, anyone else is doing the calling in the above sentence, they have to call me – myself is not taking calls.

I, myself is a construction that some find objectionable but that is not strictly incorrect. It’s generally used to emphasize a personal preference or difference and to indicate that the preference or difference may vary from the norm.

Here’s an example:

“I, myself, would rather stick sharp objects in my eyes than hear the CEO refer to himself as ‘myself’ one more time.”

The issue with myself abuse may be mostly that people can’t stop and think which pronoun to use when they’re in the middle of speaking. However, even if you can’t quickly work it out, I suggest you choose either I or me and run with it because that will give you a 50-50 chance of being right. Don’t just default to myself — that will make you wrong 100 percent of the time.

Ivy Wigmore is Content Editor on WhatIs.com and chief grammar blogger on Writing for Business. You can follow her on Twitter @tao_of_grammar.


October 9, 2009  5:07 PM

Web site or website?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
According to COPPA, _________ must require parental consent for the collection or use of any personal information of young site users.
a. Web sites
b. websites
Continued »


October 9, 2009  4:22 PM

Procedes or proceeds?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
RDC is unlikely to ever be as secure as the traditional deposit method, in which the bank must receive the physical check before it _______ to deposit funds to the customer’s account.
a. procedes
b. proceeds
Continued »


October 7, 2009  8:50 PM

Easier vs. more easily

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
When a firewall uses static packet inspection, an attacker can get through the filter _______.
a. easier
b. more easily
Continued »


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