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November 2014 Volume 10 Issue 11

The Write Stuff

November 2014  Volume 10 Issue 11

Grammar Check: Often a Turkey

I frequently advise writers to be cautious when using Microsoft Word’s grammar check. It shouldn’t be your sole editor, as its suggestions are often incorrect. Here are a few examples that illustrate my point:


My copy: The company’s early years…

Suggested: The companies early years…


Even if I was referring to multiple companies (which I clearly was not), the suggestion would be wrong, as an apostrophe would be needed after the “s.”


My copy: Our customers request three things…

Suggested: Our customer’s or customers’


Apostrophes are needed to denote possession, but customers in this instance is merely plural.


My copy: The specialty of gerontological counseling…

Suggested: erotological or deontological


I admit I’d not run across gerontological before, so I looked it up to ensure it was correct–and it is.


Even though this is a big month for turkeys, you don’t want to be one by blindly agreeing with anything Word suggests.


A Guest Blog

I’m honored to serve as a guest blogger for Flexible Work Solutions, a consulting firm led by Joanie Connell specializing in leadership assessment, development and retention. Please check out “Good Writing is Still Important–Really” at I was one of the editors for Joanie’s soon to be published book, Flying Without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life. All parents will find this to be an illuminating read.

Need Both?

As an advocate of less is more, I’m always looking to eliminate unnecessary words, and in many instances, that includes “both.” Take a look at these sentences:

  • This item comes in both red and purple.
  • That idea is both ill-advised and ridiculous.
  • I look forward to both seeing my family next week and visiting my native Chicago.

Take away “both” and you lose nothing. 619-291-4645

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