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The Write Stuff July 2020 Volume 16 Issue 7

Plural or Singular?

This month, I’m sharing a writing secret you probably didn’t learn in English class, but I find it extremely helpful in a variety of situations.

Here it is: in most cases, you’re going to be better off from a readability, flow and messaging standpoint if you choose plural over singular.

Example 1 — eliminate issues with choosing the right pronoun

Wrong: The person who buys this is apt to share it with their friends.

OK1: The person who buys this is apt to share it with his friends.

OK2: The person who buys this is apt to share it with her friends.

Best: The people who buy this are apt to share it with their friends.

Example 2 — have a larger focus

OK: Our marketing plan is focused on the person who has everything.

Better: Our marketing plan is focused on the people who have everything.

The difference is subtle, but it can be powerful.

Tricky — Or No — Plurals

As you’re probably aware, most nouns in the English language are made plural by adding -s or -es to them, e.g., dogs and bushes. But some are a bit tricky, including these:

Singular                               Plural
criterion                                 criteria
memorandum                       memoranda
index                                       indices (or indexes)
crisis                                       crises
focus                                       foci (or focuses)
veto                                         vetoes

And some nouns don’t even have a plural, including aircraft, fish, buffalo and deer.

New Book

Building Smart Nonprofits: A Roadmap for Mission Success is a must-read for those in the nonprofit space or anyone who has an interest in it. Sure, this probably isn’t a beach read, but it provides great information for the right audience. I was honored to edit the book for first-time authors and fellow San Diegans David O’Brien and Matt Craig. Check it out and purchase your copy here.

Giving Back

I was raised by parents who were active in the community — serving on school boards and coaching girls’ softball when we were kids and ultimately doing the thankless work of condo board members. Thus, giving back is in my blood. In years past, I served as a board member for a couple non-profits and my condo association.

After benefiting from my membership in the Editorial Freelancers Association for many years, I decided to run for a spot on its Board of Governors — and I was one of seven people elected as members at large. I’m excited about making a difference and giving back to this fabulous organization, working with other writers and editors across the country.

Published On: July 15th, 2020 / Categories: 2020 /

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