I am indebted to current and former students for many of the examples on this web site.
When you are looking for the secrets of good writing, explore the thinking of Robert Gunning, a pioneer in business communication. In the late 1950s he wrote a landmark book, The Technique of Clear Writing, later revised in 1968. Most of his principles are found in major business communication textbooks. They may not be enunciated the same way Gunning spoke the concept, but the principles are just as valid today. In Gunning's original book he devoted a chapter to each principle. The principles include:
Think about: That principle means keeping your sentences, on average, to 15-20 words. Use a rule of thumb to only have two keyboarded lines of writing for your sentence. Use only one idea in a sentence. Consider these points when you write a sentence. In Elizabethan Times (Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I)an average sentence ran 40-60 words long. Those English believed in being flowery. In the 1900s when more letters were written than today, the average sentence ran about 20 words long. Now, we expect to see a sentence 12-17 words. One can speculate what the average sentence in an e-mail now ranges. Anyhow, keep those sentences short.
In a recent book,The Manager's Guide to Business Writing(McGraw-Hill, 1999), by Suzanne D. Sparks, she details the percent of readers touched by the number of words in a sentence. Ms. Sparks teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations as well as advertising. Her ideas came from a publication called Communication Briefings.
Based on Ms. Sparks' column setups, I will divide the average length and percent of readers reached into two columns:
|Up to eight words||11 words||17 words||21 words||25 words||29 words and up|
Go for simplicity in writing with simple words and simple ideas. The KISS PRINCIPLE, Keep It Simple and Straightforward, works for this idea.
Look for concrete words, not abstract ideas. Remember our discussion in class where we talked about the term, megahertz? That is an abstract idea that needs to be culled into speed and relationship of memory. Now, the person has some comprehension of the familiar word. Try a little experiment. Write on the left column of a blank sheet 10 abstract words, such as cat, dog, and teacher. Then, on the right column write the concrete equivalents of these words, such as the names of the cat, dog, and professor. Concrete provides meaning to you and the reader. We need to know which cat, dog, or teacher you are talking about. You have now experienced the meaning of this principle.
Think of unnecessary words as redundancies. We often say: "in the field of accounting" when we mean to say "in accounting." When you leave the word, the, out of a sentence, you are following the dictates of this fourth principle.
So much of our discussion in class revolves around avoiding any form of the verb, "to be." You want to avoid sentences with the only verb being is, was, am, been, and are. Look for strong, active verbs that drive the sentence. The secret to good business writing uses strong verbs. Strong verbs work in resume, and they work well in memos and e-mail. Some examples of action verbs follow:
The new grant will fund a full-time student scholarship.
He described the pleasure he would receive on a cold night from the fireplace.
Create a friendly, warm tone when you write. Sound conversational. Punch the words as if you are talking to the person.
One of my students called this principle "the vision" principle. The student is right; you want your reader to picture clearly what you are saying. Can the reader picture a job, an office, or a workload? Put the reader in the picture. To achieve a conversational and visionary tone, look at the following example:
I reassured the visitor he would be able to pay the rent.
Did you notice it is easy to picture "visitor" and "rent"?
To a degree, this principle means the "you attitude." You don't always have to use the word, you, to tie in with the reader's experience. What does your reader want to hear? Have you shared thoughts the reader wants to consider? As Gunning phrased in his revised edition, you want the reader to believe, remember, and act upon what you said.
Sometimes a person just needs an ear to make a decision. Effective listening requires the greatest patience.
Did you notice the writer tried to bring the reader into the picture without using the impersonal you? The reader's experience includes listening and its qualities. The reader can interpret the importance of effective listening. The reader is drawn into the subject matter.
Variety means how you construct your sentences. Are all your sentences the limpid, boring subject-verb-object? Do you vary your sentences with adjective clauses, adverbial clauses, participles, and prepositional phrases as your openings? Does the reader have a chance to enjoy your writing because it is varied? A good business writer varies the sentence structures.
People often write to sound like machines or robots. They grind out hackneyed phrases they have heard for years. The hackneyed writer starts out: "I wish to inform you that, according to our records, your shipment has been delayed." All the reader wants to know is: "Your shipment has been delayed." Why not cull all the worthless "babblegab" from your writing? Express the ideas, not impress the readers.
Ways of exit access and the doors to exits to which they lead shall be so designed and arranged as to be clearly recognizable as such.Can't we say the putting up of signs more simply?
Measure the temperature of both the turkey and stuffing. Don't just trust a pop-up indicator!Are you ready to stuff your turkey or stuff your gobbledygook for Thanksgiving?
What is a simple word for the following:
What is a simple word for the following expressions:
Students have asked to place on this web site ideas about words to avoid using in memos, letters, and reports. These weasel words (where all the meaning is sucked out of them) include:
Sometimes superfluous adjectives creep into our writing. For example, the phrase, loud shouting, needs some attention. If we shout, it is probably loud. Therefore, when in doubt, leave it out.
Mary is known for giving as good as she gets. When Steve, trying to get her goat, told her she was ugly as sin, she was all over him like a tent. Who did he think he was, God's gift to women? Not on your life, thought Mary. She could spot a sitting duck when she saw one, and, in this case, Steve stuck out like a sore thumb. She went after him tooth and nail, calling him every name in the book, until he finally cried uncle and slunk away with his tail between his legs, a sadder but wiser man who learned his lesson the hard way.How did you do? Is it easier now to spot a cliche? Did you check your answers? Will you vow to avoid at all costs using cliches in your business writing?
Edwin Newman, former NBC anchor and public broadcasting commentator, in narrating Strictly Speaking talked about how wasteful the United States was with words. Two words tend to be better than one. Ten words tend to be better than two. When you see the word, doublet, on a paper, it suggests you may be using too many words. Some writer says: "informative and interesting." Wouldn't one of these words have sufficed? The writer probably meant to say "informative" that would have sufficiently covered "interesting." Perhaps, some exercises would help the situation:
We have been bombarded by the media with the fund-raising that went on in the White House during the last Clinton Presidential Campaign. When a recent press conference was held, the President was quoted as saying:
No policy was changed solely (weasel word) because of a contribution.
Look carefully at the word, solely. What did the President mean? Contributions were not the only reason the policy was changed. Contribution was only one of the criteria for changing the policy. Ah, how jargon distorts the message that may be intended. In that same political context Vice President Gore constantly referred to "no controlling legal authority" in explaining why he may have made political fund-raising calls from his office. What is a controlling legal authority? Does that mean Attorney General Janet Reno okayed the telephone calls? Does that mean that Mr. Gore checked with his legal counsel about whether the telephone calls were ethical? Again, the use of jargon may have distorted the intended message.
Lately, we heard President Clinton testify to the Grand Jury about the Monica Lewinsky case. The word, "is," caught our attention. The President in a lawyerly style explained: "Do you mean never or has become? It all depends on what you mean by the word, is."
Dr. Michael Wunsch from Northern Arizona University offered some delightful parodies about how buzzwords are taking over our language. With his permission I quote some of the paragraphs he gave at a recent business communication conference.
"Now that we have talked the talk and viably interfaced in a politically correct, huge attempt to jump start, kick start, downsize, rightsize, bash, or showcase something, may I have, my fellow Americans, some of your cutting-edge, walk-the-walk, super input that will hopefully debut and impact somebody's bottom line as we speak while we are on a mission to dig deeper and then move up to the next level, and beyond that, to take care of business on the information superhighway and earn bragging rights?"
"I knew that you would turn this perceived worst-case scenario around and echo somebody by responding with "Exactly!" Let's be honest, a person doesn't have to be a rocket scientist or heart surgeon to know the big news that you are a happy camper who is cool and great, you know, despite your cautious optimism. No question, you are a warm-and-fuzzy, world-class, wave-of-the-future, state-of-the-art, high-tech, totally awesome, less-than-slow-lane, more-than-happy, user-friendly, outrageously key dude who can and will give much, much more. (In an ad, the point at which the copywriter ran out of hype!) The huge upside is that you are arguably neither a wimp nor a sucker. In my mind, I'm proactively fed up with hanging around; therefore, my agenda is that I am reactively out of here, under condition of anonymity, in an effort to put it all together to bring everybody up to speed. Let's rumble on a big-time roll at a huge 110 percent effort to make things happen at crunch time by advocating zero tolerance! There you go! Have a nice day!"
As Bill Maher is fond of saying on Politically Incorrect, the previous information has been "satirized" for your protection. Are you convinced to be careful how you use the English language?
Lately, politicians are accused of using worn-out phrases that carry little meaning. We have been hearing too much about "smoking guns." Every time something sinister is uncovered, it is called a "smoking gun." That phrase has whiskers on it from the Watergate Hearings.
Why do spokespeople and politicians have to say "new way to office"? Office, as far as I can tell from the dictionary, is not a verb. It is used properly as a noun. Does the person mean creating an office, such as a political office."? Our language continues to deteriorate as we use nouns in place of verbs. Granted, language is a living, breathing organism, but do we have to butcher the Mother Tongue?
Two phrases, bring to your attention and the above, need special emphasis. Why say brought to your attention when you can say "mentioned"? Why say the above statements or the below statements when you can use the word, "previous"? Think always about what you are writing. Readers are turned away by hackneyed statements that can be said simply.
Have you ever seen a piece of writing where the same, tired phrases are used again and again? Have you wondered why the writer couldn't come up with a phrase that would freshen the writing? Let's take some glaring examples:
Think about: We don't all have to be actors when we write. Can't you say "assume responsibility" or other appropriate words when thinking of a "role"? We expect to read these phrases, and don't need these phrases in such profusion.
Think about: Can't we say this phrase simply? Could we say "to conclude"? Here was the original sentence: To make a long story short, Dave asked Ben to handle scouts and contracts. To solve the concern, Dave asked Ben to handle . . . These types of phrases, to make a long story, usually introduce cliches we have heard for years.
Think about: Couldn't we say "to progress" or words to that effect?
Think about: Couldn't we say "point"? If we are pointing, it is probably in the right direction. The sentence originally read: Someone with experience, who has been through the pitfalls, can point you in the right direction. Perhaps we could revise to say: can point you correctly.
On television, the radio, and mass media, the word, "awesome," is gaining new notoriety. Everything is awesome. My younger son uses the term as if nothing else exists in the dictionary. The California 500 track in Fontana costing $110 million was referred to as awesome. A radio talk show host talked about "awesome" sums of money to stop the Tobacco interests. Michael Jordan is an awesome basketball player. The stock market has reached an awesome level of 7777. After while, the word does not have any meaning. How many awesome points can we describe. Please find another word in the dictionary or thesaurus. Use more precision in your writing and speaking.
Whatever happened to using one word instead of two to express an idea? You may have heard the expression, early on. The meaning should be clearer with a better phrase: in the beginning. That is still a little wordy. Could we say early for certain meanings? "Back when" creates a problem with wordiness. I guess my debate is with using early on for just early or a simpler word. Let's see how some writers have butchered the English language by insisting on the phrase, "early on."
One travel writer in a prestigious daily newspaper insisted on this phrasing of "early on":
"Early on, though, one of the founders, Bishop John Vincent, realized it is possible 'to insist on too many hours of Bible study each day.' "Two reporters writing an excellent book on current China suddenly fell into the trap of "early on":
"A Chinese -American in China finds out very early on that she had better know exactly where her family is from."Why could we use the word, quickly? "A Chinese-American finds out quickly she had better know . . ." The changing of "early on" does depend on the context of the sentence.
A fine commentator on a CBS news show recently stated: ". . . settled early on." Can we say right away or even shorten that? Why do we always need two words when one will suffice?
A writer of military history and biographer of military leaders described a future Civil War general in the following manner:
"What he would have done had he been exposed to able teachers early on and sent to a college without drums, drill and demerits, nobody will ever know."
Do we need the phrase, early on? The author already talked about "had he been exposed." That suggests past experience and does not require the tacking on of "early on." Students see "early on" and start using in their writing with the following example:
Even though it took him eight years to graduate, the signs of his ambitious attitude started early on.
A major cabinet officer in talking about the issue of bacteria contamination in meat suggested organizations needed to step lively:
Companies must be willing to step up to the plate . . . After a few more paragraphs, the officer continued: "Consumers have a key responsibility to step to the plate . . ."This must come from baseball parlance. Surely, we have hacked the phrase to death. Everyone steps up to the plate. It is fashionable now to talk about how organizations and individuals need to plant their cleats firmly on that plate. Why can't we say "step forward" or some simple phrase? Why do we have to depend on the sports world to help us express the English language clearly?
Instructions: If you missed the in-class work from Blake and Bly's thinking, please take a sheet of notebook paper and divide in half. I will list the phrases, words, and sentences you need to place on the left hand side of the paper. You may be interested to know that Blake and Bly, The Elements of Business Writing, provided the original exercises. Do this exercise only in class, unless you are making up the work. At least two of the exercises are found in Chapter 6 of Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 5th ed.. Item 2 is not shown in Blake and Bly or Guffey. Try it anyhow. Then, turn the paper in as quickly as you finish in class. You may bring the paper to class or place under my office door (if late--BB4214). Don't forget the colored folder (red for late) that is appropriate. In Elements of Business Writing several major rules are stressed by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly:
Good luck on your exercises. At some time during the semester the professor may post the final words or phrases that can be more appropriately used. This in-class exercise is designed to test your ability to become less wordy, a worthy endeavor in any business writing.
The exercises follow:
A student exclaimed to me, "You're so hard!" I explained it was not the hardness that was important. You need to be precise when you write. "Off of" is not precision wording and certainly not indicative of a college education. Its usage, unfortunately, shows how ill equipped a college student is to handle the language. Always just say "off" when you mean "off of." The sparing of words will demonstrate how educated you are about the language. Let's now look at some sentences where the words are not employed correctly. See if you can spot the problems:
In theory, the idea has merit, but, in reality, people abuse the system and freeload off of the Government.
I felt bad about his freeloading off of my friends because he is why I have a real friendship.
People seem to know that, if all else fails, there is always the government they can freeload off of.
Words and phrases continue to deaden the senses when you hear them repeated everywhere. Such a phrase is "on the right track." Everyone is on the right track. Let's get on the right track. The phrase is overworked and worn out. Look at how the following sentence needs some additional freshening:
In the opinion of this professional, I am on the right track by being enrolled in an accredited four-year college that has a good reputation.
Think about: How much better the writer could have expressed the idea by simply saying "the advice was followed". That phrase may not be as jazzy as "on the right track," but it expresses the idea more clearly. "This professional believes his advice was followed by my attending a . . . " Question: Does accredited imply a good reputation?
You hear commercials and talk show guests using strange language. The person starts out and expresses an idea this way: "In my line of work we transition to how the movie industry fits." I scratched my head and wondered about transition as a "verb." Yet, the dictionary lists "transition" as a noun meaning a passage from one form state, style, or place to another.
One of the major photocopy chains features commercials as our needing "to office." I always thought we went to the office, not we "officed." It seems our actions in a work environment can be described now as verbs, even though these words remain as nouns. What is happening to our English language bothers me. Edwin Newman said the concern the best: "Will America be the death of English?" I don't think we need to "transition" or "office." Let's treat the work environment the way it was intended.
Sometimes nouns as verbs become major problems in writing because of the jargon emphasis. Such an example is the word, commission. A student wrote this sentence:
If I obtained my goal of $100,000, I would commission around $1,400 per month on top of my base pay and the other incentive-based products I currently sell.
Comment: "Commission" is not seen in the dictionary as a verb. Still, I would wager the student uses that word constantly in his work. The word has become work-oriented jargon. For better English usage the student probably should not use the noun as a verb. The student is still left with the option in ordinary business conversation to "commission" whatever.
A minister at a local church talked about the need to "courage" someone. Naturally, the minister related the word derived from "encourage." We need to "courage" someone this week. I recently received an e-mail that told the reader to "courage" an individual we know. I think we still need to be careful about tossing nouns into verbs. The minister had all the right intentions, but the language deserves some care, too. If we as business writers are not defenders of the language and its pureness, then who can be expected to care?
The problem of nouns becoming verbs marches on. I listened a faculty member say: "We must committee that for the next meeting." Committee constitutes a noun, not a verb. Do we mean placed on the agenda for the next meeting? What happened to being clear instead of being cute?
Tasking Someone Can Become a TaskAnother word continues to grip my interest. Why do we hear so much use of "tasking" and "to task"? Are those words true verbs? I listened to a lawyer on one of the Sunday news shows phrase the following idea: ". . . to task him so specifically." In the context he was referring to the lawyers' efforts to help in the Monica Lewinsky situation. You can take to task as an idiom. Task is usually defined as a noun in the dictionary.
A free-lance writer, Marjorie Wolfe, recently prepared a series of euphemisms for the National Business Employment Weekly ("Euphemisms for the New Office," October 10-16, 1999, p. 50) that discuss the New Age Office. A few of the choicest items include:
Blamestorming--to sit around and dicuss why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who's responsible
chips and salsa--the inner workings of a computer
to go coyote--to dress casually
Dilberted--to be exploited and oppressed by your boss
Eyeservice--work done only when the boss is watching
inplacement--catchword for moving employees around the company
mouse arrest--being kicked off America Online for violating its terms of service
paper towel job--jobs that are dispensable and can be done by anyone
plug and play--a new hire who doesn't need any training
The deterioration of the language by some e-mail has only led to more problems. Students in business writing classes don't even paragraph anymore. The idea is to provide one stream of consciousness. To add to our language woes, wordiness continues as a perennial problem. Although the Government is particularly guilty of this offense, educators, lawyers, sportscasters, and news anchors take their toll. In a recent issue of Daily News abstracted from The New York Times (week of February 5-9, 2001) John Hendren cited a particularly egregious wordiness in goverment writing from the Federal Trade Commission:
"Purification of unliquidated obligations is essential for the early identification and correction of invalid obligation amounts to ensure full and effective fund utilization."
Hendren stresses the writer was simply afraid to say what he meant. The employee was trying to issue a warning that the department needed to spend its money before the money ran out. Can you rewrite the message so it is much clearer to the reader without all those redundancies? If we don't eliminate the blizzard of wordiness, all of our memos, reports, and communications will continue to suffer.
Jargon will not go away. We will continue to invent words and phrases. We don't get the facts; we ascertain the data. We don't talk about elevators; we mention vertical access chambers. I had a custodian say to me the other day, "Let me get a car for you." He was referring to one of our elevators. I was prepared for a BMW with all the extras.
Check your bill and request an itemized bill from the hospital, according to Hugh Delehanty of Modern Maturity. Negotiate with the hospital if billings appear strange. Become a Sherlock Holmes detective when you scrutinize your bills. Look out for double-billing. Above all, learn to appreciate how hospital language can confuse the patient. Auditors hired by insurance companies estimate over 90 percent of the hospital bills examined contain errors.
As we mentioned in class and on the videotape, Strictly Speaking, anyone can join the club of "izing" by keeping your eyes and ears "openized." Neither well-known authors nor sportcasters are immune from the disease. Certain words, such as generalized would not qualify for a "danger" list because of their abundant and reasonable use. Over the years, though, I have collected the followed izing and butchered words as well as "clever" attempts to use the English language:
- advertization (from a talk show host)
- alchemized (dazzling melodies)
- annuitize (in a class on financial strategies)
- apostrophized (by an author of well-known historical fiction)
- argueization (said by a U.S. Congressman)
- Barnumized (said about dealing with P. T. Barnum, the well-famous showman of a past era)
- Blendized (referring to retiring president, Dr. Blenda Wilson, and said by a major administrator)
- bulletize (said by a resume preparer and speaker)
- casualized (overheard on a PBS program about classical composers)
- Christianize (the Indians, Native Americans)
- Clintonized (reference by new show panel member to former president)
- contemporized (by a minister)
- contemporizing (our sound)
- contextualization (said by Dean from major Eastern university)
- contextualize (said by psychologist on major talk show)
- corporatize (said by a colleague about a college system)
- de-alarmize (said by major radio talk show host)
- dejargonized (from that same writer for better English)
- delegitimatized (said by writer and commentator on news magazines)
- demonized (said by radio talk show host)
- desandicize (getting the sand out of your body)
- detenurization (said by administrator at leading Midwestern university)
- digitalized smiles (referring to Japanese software)
- dollarization (noticed in major Texas newspaper); dollarizing the economy (referring to Afghanistan)
- domeitized Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team
- El Ninolized (referring to weather patterns)
- emeritize (referring to professors retired)
- encapsulized (O.J. Hearings)
- entertainizing (art)
- evolutionize (said by utility stock analyst)
- federalizing crime
- felonize (said by talk show host explaining immigration issues)
- fetishize (the dream)--from a late night talk show)
- futureize (title of a new business book)
- fictionalization (said by author of famous travel book)
- footballized (on a major news radio station)
- glamourization (of the tobacco industry)said by spokesman for Ameican Lung Association
- globalized (from a writer of better English)
- Hispanicize (said by well-known author of books on California gold rush)
- Hollywoodized (said by host of Academy Awards)
- hyberdize (the computer), also said in a meeting about assessment and coordinating services and departments
- hydrologized (protein)
- Indianize (in a book on King Philip's War)
- intellectualized (referring to the electorate)
- mansionization (from major metropolitan newspaper)
- marginalized (referring to the Mexican elections)
- mathematized (art history professor quoted by author of Life by the Numbers)
- medicalized (said by official about pandemic bird flu)
- memorialized memos
- movieized (when referring to placement of movie posters)
- musicalize (said by a famous lyricist to Stephen Sondheim)
- Oviattized (referring to Cal State, Northridge library)
- partisanize (said by news show guest in referring to the Impeachment)
- pauperize (said about pauperizing Harlem by a well-known Civil Rights author)
- pluralized (said by major game host)
- pretzelized (referring to cars tossed in a tornado)
- racialize (by a representative of Congress of Racial Equality)
- rasterize (referring to Adobe software products)
- regularized my heart beat
- renormalize (about the President with the Press Corps)
- ridiculousize (said by student first coming to this country)
- sentimentalized experience
- skeletonize (the die in a boardgame)
- structurize (your hair)
- supersize (referring to basketball Dream Team II)
- templatize (referring to a web design seminar)
- theologizing (said by minister at seminar)
- toasterized (referring to basketball Dream Team)
- unFurbicized (referring to Furby plush doll fad)
- volumenizing (shampoo, said on TV advertisement)
- weaponized (said by a columnist on news talk show)
Most of these words do not even appear in the dictionary. People make up the words on the spot. No wonder our English language may consider dying. People need to use the language properly. Catch yourself using these words or any unusual izing and wising and stop. Think about what you are saying. Can we say the idea simply without creating an impressive, nonsensical word?
First, Dave cites a catalog advertisement for baseballs:
"hand-signed by Mickey Mantle (formerly with Yankees) before his death."
Isn't it hard to hand-sign while you are on your deathbed?
W. Michael Frazier was quoted in the Huntington, West Virginia Herald-Dispatch as being concerned about drinking and driving:
"We believe if you have too much to drink at a holiday party, insist on driving yourself home."
Comment: Won't that help reduce accidents on the highway?
When a lawsuit verdict was read in Wyoming, a lawyer, quoted by an Associated Press reporter, presumably said:
"It sends a message to gas companies in Wyoming that gas companies better operate safely because people are not going to tolerate being blown up."
Comment: That could create a problem with people's thinking.
A story about a Stanford University professor created a double meaning with cadavers when Thomas Caulfield shared his story with the San Jose Mercury-News:
"Since his (the professor's) suspension, Dolph has continued working as a manager in the university's lab for cadavers. In that position, he deals mainly with faculty members."
Comment: I am worried that faculty members may become cadavers. We have more life than that.
You may write Dave Barry care of Tropic magazine, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Florida. He can also be addressed as Mr. Language Person.
- Whoa, Nellie!
- You can't be toe dancing back there, because they will give you a tou-tou.
- biting a ten-penny nail
- put some lumber on him
- Three whoops and a hot damn
- bad things happen when you throw it down the middle
- The last time I read that play my father was facing me with a stick.
When a tremendous container of confetti was dumped over Jackson at the last Fiesta Bowl, he was heard to remark that "his cup was half full." We now have you back, Keith.
Furbys can save lives. Recently, in Los Angeles, a person had fallen asleep with his Furby. He awoke to the smell of a burning candle and quickly extinguished the flame. Why? The Furby had sensed the atmosphere in the room and had alerted the resident to the danger by talking gibberish. Sometimes jargon works.
One of my students related how Furbys are banned from major military bases. At the Military Security Agency in Maryland, Furbys were brought to work. Unfortunately, the Furbys started repeating engineering and military codes that caused considerable distraction on the base. Remember what we said about Furbys sensing atmosphere? An order has now gone out to ban Furbys from major military bases, especially the Military Security Agency.
Most of you are probably aware of a Furbish-English Dictionary that details Furby jargon. If a Furby says "tah-dye," that means "done." A Furby can say that dreaded redundant word, "very," by mouthing "mee-mee." At a sudden noise the Furby is supposed to say "Dah/lee-koo/wah!" If your Furby is worried, it may report "boo-bay" as its word for "worry." The you attitude for a Furby is expressed as "u-nye" for "you."
Have you often wondered about the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning? Truckers, as with many people in our society, are dependent on knowing the differences. What is meant by a significant accumulation? A recent program of ABC World News detailed how the classifying of snowstorms might work as categories of storms:
- Category 1--minor inconvenience and some snow
- Category 2--icy roads
- Category 3--significant inconvenience; less traveled roads closed
- Category 4--roads dangerous everywhere
- Category 5--Kathy, bar the door. Blizzard conditions. You could die if you went out in the storm.
Let's consider the definition of fixed rate the Federal Reserve prefers. It means, in their jargon, "subject to a variable index," and many banks employ that definition in establishing their fixed rate. What is the jargon lesson? The next time you read the fine print in a credit card application, think what "fixed rate" really means. Then, caveat emptor, and ask many questions from the bank or financial institution you are wanting to do business with.
Don't forget to check the home page for further help and other links, including grammar and punctuation as well as report sentences and phrases.
Last updated Wednesday, May 7, 2008
copyright (c)G. Jay Christensen, All Rights Reserved