What Was the Best New Word Added to the Dictionary in 2017?

Thanks to the fine folks at Merriam-Webster, our dictionaries continue to get heavier and even more robust than they were twelve months ago.

As language evolves and new words continue to flood our lexicon, it’s good to have more ammunition for any conversation or correspondence you encounter. When new phrases from popular culture get cosigned and introduced into our language, it’s important to recognize the terms that make you stop and think and appreciate our evolving forms of communication.

Both in verbal conversation and in written communication, Grammarly loves to recognize wordplay of all sorts. So with that in mind, let’s look at eight great English words that were added to the record books, or in this case, books of record, in 2017.

Take a look at the new words that achieved dictionary-status and inspired us to diversify our style. Vote for your favorites below and use the comments section to let us know what new words and phrases made waves where you live!

1 Ghost

verb

What it means: To abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.

2 Word salad

noun

What it means: A string of empty, incoherent, unintelligible, or nonsensical words or comments.

3 Froyo

noun

What it means: A term used to describe frozen yogurt. Often used before another noun—a froyo shop, froyo flavors.

4 Weak sauce

noun

What it means: Something inferior, ineffective, or unimpressive: something weak.

5 Photobomb

noun

What it means: To move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank.

6 Throw shade

verb

What it means: To express contempt or disrespect for someone publicly, especially by subtle or indirect insults or criticisms.

7 Listicle

noun

What it means: An article consisting of a series of items presented as a list.

8 Facepalm

verb

What it means: To cover one’s face with the hand as an expression of embarrassment, dismay, or exasperation.

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Lesson 316 – Mechanics – Capitalization

Capitalize titles preceding personal names, abbreviations of those titles used with proper names, initials, or titles when used alone in place of the name or person. Examples: Mr., Miss, Rev., Dr., W. C. Johanson, Captain
Instructions: Capitalize each word that needs a capital letter.
1. Have you met the rev. mr. ryan, mrs. hubbard, and dr. peterson?
2. This is supt. e. r. wing who was a captain during combat.
3. mr. and mrs. jones with miss smith will accompany you tomorrow.
4. Did you serve, colonel, in india?
5. I am to dine with cardinal corolucci tonight.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. Rev. Mr. Ryan, Mrs. Hubbard, Dr. Peterson
2. Supt. E. R. Wing
3. Mr. and Mrs. Jones/Miss Smith
4. Colonel/India
5. Cardinal Corolucci

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/12/lesson-316-mechanics-capitalization.html

3 Perfect Examples of How to Write an Apology Letter

You screwed up. Now it’s time to own it. Knowing how to apologize is a crucial life and career skill. But when you write an apology letter, creating a permanent record of an event and your response to it, it’s all the more important that you get it right.

Why is writing an apology letter so hard?

Apologizing is an art form few of us seem to master. We don’t want to admit our mistakes because we think that making mistakes reflects badly on our character. But the truth is, not apologizing, or making a feeble non-apology, is often worse.

There are a few reasons you may struggle with apologies:

  • You assume that making mistakes means you’re a bad person. When you feel ashamed, you have a hard time recognizing that one goof doesn’t reflect on your character as a whole.
  • You get defensive. No one wants to feel ashamed. But a defense is not an apology.
  • You worry that you’ll have to own all the responsibility, or that you’ll open the floodgate for more accusations. It could happen, sure. But not apologizing builds resentment over time, and that’s toxic to personal and workplace environments.

The good news is that when you put your apology in writing, you have the luxury of polishing and editing your thoughts so that they say precisely what you mean to convey.

The Elements of a Good Apology Letter

Sorry does seem to be the hardest word, but if you can master these steps in the apology process, you’re sure to make a good impression. These guidelines apply whether you’re apologizing for a personal error, or you’re writing an apology on behalf of a team or business.

  • Say you’re sorry. Not, “I’m sorry, but . . .” Just plain ol’ “I’m sorry.”
  • Own the mistake. It’s important to show the wronged person that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions.
  • Describe what happened. The wronged person needs to know that you understand what happened and why it was hurtful to them. Make sure you remain focused on your role rather than deflecting the blame.
  • Have a plan. Let the wronged person know how you intend to fix the situation.
  • Admit you were wrong. It takes a big person to own up to being wrong. But you’ve already reminded yourself that you’re a big person. You’ve got this.
  • Ask for forgiveness. A little vulnerability goes a long way toward proving that you mean what you say.

If You Want to Know How to Apologize, First Do This…

It’s as easy (and as hard) as that. No minimizing, no shifting blame, no defenses. Now, let’s take a look at some apology letter examples that follow this format.

Apology Letter Examples

Before you begin writing, there are a few pointers to keep in mind. First, keep your letter brief and to the point. Don’t ramble on about what happened—distill it to the essentials. Don’t exaggerate, either. There’s no need to fall on your sword. But do keep your language respectful, sincere, and professional.

The Third-Party Apology

If you supervise an employee who made a mistake and find yourself apologizing to a customer or client, it’s important that you take responsibility without dumping all the blame on the employee. After all, what your employees do reflects your leadership.

Dear Ms. Jones,

On behalf of ABC Office Equipment, I extend our sincerest apologies for the bad experience you had with our sales associate, James. I understand that James made unprofessional remarks when you visited our storefront to inquire about a new copier. You came to us in search of information, and instead were subjected to a pushy salesperson.

At ABC, it’s our goal to help you make an informed purchase decision without having to deal with aggressive sales tactics. James is a new employee that I’ve been training. I take full responsibility for his behavior. He has received a written reprimand and will be shadowing one of our senior sales associates until he has a better understanding of the ABC Office Equipment approach to customer service.

I’m grateful that you brought this issue to my attention and I ask your forgiveness. We’d love to earn your business. I’ve included a voucher for 20 percent off your next purchase in our store as a thank-you, should you decide to give us a second chance. We hope to see you again soon!

Kind regards,

Jennifer Smith Equipment Sales Manager

The Personal Apology Letter

Sometimes, you have to own up to something you did that hurt or inconvenienced another person. We’ve all been there. Keep it simple. Don’t make excuses. Show that you’re trying to improve.

Dear Dylan,

I apologize for not arriving on time to pick you up from the airport yesterday afternoon. I have no excuse for keeping you waiting and wondering when your ride would show up.

It’s important to me not to let people down when they’re depending on me. Next time, I’ll make better use of calendar alerts so I’ll be sure to leave in plenty of time to arrive as scheduled, or even ahead of schedule.

I humbly ask your forgiveness. I hope my mistake won’t prevent you from seeking my help in the future. I’m always happy to be of service.

All the best,

Jillian

The Mass Apology

It’s horrifying to think about, but sometimes you end up upsetting a group of people rather than just one person. As with all apology letters, It’s important not to say, “I’m sorry if anyone felt offended.” (That’s like saying, “It’s too bad some of you don’t know how to handle my personality.”) Instead, say, “I’m sorry that I offended anyone.”

Hello Everyone,

I owe you all an apology. When I planned my costume for our annual company Halloween bash, I clearly wasn’t thinking. I now realize that what I wore was offensive to some of you, as well as to your families.

It was never my intention to cause anyone distress. Looking back, however, I can clearly see that I didn’t think things through before I decided on what to wear. Next time, I’ll be sure to weigh my warped sense of humor against my sense of propriety and choose something that isn’t controversial.

I hope you’ll forgive me for making you uncomfortable. Please accept the cupcakes in the breakroom as a sincere peace offering.

All the best,

Jamie

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3 Salary Negotiation Scripts You Can Use for Any Job

Ask any job seeker or employee about salary negotiations and one of the most popular responses is, “I would negotiate but I don’t know what to say.” Having the right words to say, or write, during a salary negotiation is vital. Communication can make or break discussions and impact your ability to get paid fairly.

First things first, determine your current worth in the job market. Use Know Your Worth to receive a custom salary estimate based on your title, company, location and experience. Once you have the information, it’s time to advocate for yourself.

Josh Doody, author of Fearless Salary Negotiation, knows how challenging it can be to learn to financially advocate for oneself. He took his first job without negotiating his salary. Once he got hip to the dance, he doubled that salary.

We teamed with Doody to equip job seekers and employees with the knowledge they need to tackle tricky salary negotiation conversations.

Situation #1: Prying During the Prescreen

How should you respond when you’re asked about salary right off the bat? You want to demonstrate that you’re enthusiastic and cooperative, but you don’t want to tip your hand. Doody explains: “It’s a salary negotiation tactic disguised as a gatekeeper-type interview question.”

Suggested Script:

Recruiter: What’s your current salary?

You: “I’m not really comfortable sharing that information. I would prefer to focus on the value I can add to this company and not what I’m paid at my current job.”

If the interview team doesn’t know your salary, they can’t use it as their starting point. Doody writes, “that’s probably going to mean a higher initial offer for you.”

Recruiter: What’s your expected salary?

You: “I want this move to be a big step forward for me in terms of both responsibility and compensation.”

Doody points out, “sharing your current salary or your expected salary is not in your best interest. . . They’re interviewing you because you’re a qualified candidate, and they need a qualified candidate. . . They would also like to get a good deal. They’re not going to stop interviewing you just because you don’t make it easier for them to get a good deal on you.”

If they pass because you won’t acquiesce, that’s a red flag. Doody says, “then they’re extremely motivated to get a bargain… That’s bad news for you even if you get the job.”

One last thing: resist the temptation to try reading the interviewer’s mind. If you underestimate what they’re willing to pay, you’re leaving money on the table. If the real answer is that they would compensate someone like you up to $75,000 dollars, and you guess they would pay a salary of only $65,000, you very literally may have just cost yourself $10,000.

If you overestimate and tell them your salary expectation is $85,000, you may set off red flags that cause them to rethink the interview process altogether. This is pretty rare, but you could disqualify yourself by being “too expensive” for them. If your expected salary is well above their budgeted pay range, they may just move on to other candidates with lower salary expectations.

The bottom line is you probably aren’t going to guess what their salary structure looks like, and if you try to guess you may cost yourself a lot of money.

Situation #2: Savvy Counter Offering

After you’ve secured an offer, Doody recommends using this formula:

“The counter offer calculator accounts for four factors—the base salary of your job offer, your minimum acceptable salary (“walk away” number), how badly the company needs you to accept the job offer, and how badly you need the job.”

Use “firm and neutral” language like this:

Suggested Script

“Tom offered $50,000 and I would be more comfortable if we could settle on $56,000. I feel that amount reflects the importance and expectations of the position for ACME Corp’s business, and my qualifications and experience as they relate to this particular position.”

Or, if you had a competing offer:

“Thank you so much for the offer. As I mentioned during my interview process, I am speaking with a couple of other companies. If you’re able to move the pay to [insert your number], I’d be eager to accept.”

Doody explains that email is the perfect medium for this message. This way, the hiring manager can share it in a format that clearly makes your case to each person with whom it’s shared. Your case won’t get the same treatment if it’s restated recollections of a conversation.

The hiring manager will likely come back with a figure between your base salary and your counter offer. For Doody, the distance between these figures represents your “salary negotiation window.” He recommends compartmentalizing this window into increments. In the example above, the window is $6,000, so he recommends devising a response for each possible offer. If, for example, the offer is $55,000 or above, Doody says it’s a taker.

“If the company comes back with $53,000, then you say ‘If you can do $54,000, I’m on board!’ If they stick with $53,000, then you would say, ‘I understand the best you can do is $53,000 and you can’t come up to $54,000. If you can do $53,000 and offer an extra week of paid vacation each year, then I’m on board.’”

Decide which benefits, like vacation time or flexible working hours, are most important so that you can apply them to bolster the deal. Rank those benefits in your mind and use those in your bargaining.

1. Extra vacation time 2. Work from home 3. Signing bonus

If they do not accept your second-priority benefit, you move on to your third-priority benefit. Regardless of whether they accept your final response, then you’re finished; don’t get nit-picky or greedy. You have maximized your base salary and maximized your benefits as well.

Situation #3: Raises & Promotions

Doody explains: “Your primary reason for requesting a raise is that the salary you’re being paid doesn’t reflect your current value to the company. That salary was set sometime in the past, so your argument is that you are more valuable now than you were.” You have a fair justification. Now you need the right plan.

Start by mentioning, via email, to your manager that you’d like to discuss compensation in your next private meeting. After that conversation, Doody advises preparing a strategically constructed, easily sharable salary increase letter.

Suggested Email Script:

“As we discussed, it has been [amount of time] since [my last significant salary adjustment OR since I was hired], and I would like to revisit my salary now that I’m contributing much more to the company. I’ve been researching salaries for [job title] in [industry] industry, and it looks like the mid-point is around [mid-point from your research]. So I would like to request a raise to [target salary].”

The letter should also highlight your accomplishments and accolades. Doody notes that if your proposal isn’t accepted on the first try, you can work with your manager to create an action plan.

“I would love to work with you to put together a clear action plan and timeline so we can continue this discussion and monitor my progress as I work toward my goal.”

Always remember, your talent is precious, and you deserve to be compensated for it. Learning to foster conversations about compensation is a vital skill that yields rewards.

A version of this post originally appeared on Glassdoor’s blog.

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How Can Power Words Help You Land Your Dream Job?

There’s no silver bullet to get you the job you want, but power words might be the closest thing.

What are power words, you ask? Power words are buzzwords and special phrases that signal to a company that you’re on their wavelength. Use them to tailor your application to a specific company and show that you know their mission, their approach, and their values—and that you’ve done your homework. These are the words that they’re watching for to find out which applicants are best suited to join the team.

Why Power Words Are Your Friends

Power words are like hypnosis. Use the words your potential employers want to hear and they’ll come knocking at your door.

Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that. But the right power words can help your resume stand out, and that can give you the edge you need to get the job.

Here’s why. Some companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which searches resumes for certain keywords and forwards only the resumes of candidates who jam-packed their applications with the power words companies are looking for.

And for companies that do have a human reading applications, that human is often trying to get through a lot of resumes in a short time. They may not be a computer, but they will have superbly trained eyes that speedily scan for buzzwords and phrases.

So, the better you train yourself to use those words and phrases, the more your resume will stand out.

How do you find the right power words to make your resume pop? Try these tips to find and use power words in any job application.

Get Power Word Gems from the Job Description

A big, juicy job description is like a math textbook with the answers in the back. It lists the requirements, skills, and daily tasks of the job you’re applying for, so all you need to do is say that you meet those requirements, have those skills, and are up to that set of daily tasks. Piece of cake, right?

Of course, you don’t want to copy the job description word for word. Instead, imagine which words and phrases would be highlighted. Those are your power words. As you write your resume and your cover letter, work the words from the job description into your description of who you are and what you do.

For example, if the job description says you’ll “influence strategic decisions by working with cross-functional partners,” you might include phrases like “guided strategy,” “engaged in cross-functional collaboration,” or “coordinated decision-making with multiple teams.” By using some of the same words and some synonyms, you demonstrate that you can do what they’re asking, and you have the smarts to phrase it in a different way.

Select Company-Specific Power Words

You’re not just applying to do a job; you’re applying to work at a company. While applying, make sure you familiarize yourself with the company and what makes it unique, and incorporate some of that information in your application materials.

How do you find that information? Most job descriptions include some information about the company, and sometimes explain why that job is important to that company’s development. Use that information to explain why you’re not just a good fit for the daily work; you’re a good fit for the company culture, too.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

You can expand on that by looking at the “about” information on the company website and its mission statement, if it has one. For example, if the mission involves “introducing our product to a global market,” you can mention how your abilities will suit you to developing the product, and also how reaching an international audience is something you value.

Double benefit: you show that your skills suit the work you’ll be doing, and that your personality is in line with what the company is trying to accomplish overall.

Use Industry Jargon (Appropriately)

A/B testing. Malfeasance. Amortization. Socratic method. SEO, UX, UI.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a marketer, lawyer, teacher, or techie: every industry has its jargon. Get a handle on the specific words people in your line of business use to describe the work they do, because guess what: those are power words. In your resume and cover letter, include jargon that shows that you not only know how the industry works but also how it talks.

But strike a balance: show what you know, but don’t make your writing so chock-full of jargon that there’s no sign of a human in there.

Pick Verbs with Verve

Verbs will help you express yourself, convey your skills, and win at life. See how great verbs are?

Most resumes are essentially souped-up lists of stuff you did. And it sounds a lot better to say you orchestrated, designed, spearheaded, or led instead of just did. That’s right: most power words are power verbs.

Now you know why power words can help you land a job, where to look for the right power words in the job and company descriptions, and how to show what you can do with the right set of vivacious verbs. But which verbs in particular, you might ask?

If you need more tips on seeking superb synonyms to power up your resume, we’ve got a handy list of 65 powerful words to take your resume to the next level. So now that you know how power words work, find your favorites and get them working for you.

The post How Can Power Words Help You Land Your Dream Job? appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

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Here’s How to Write a Blog Post Like a Professional

You sit down. You stare at your screen. The cursor blinks. So do you. Anxiety sets in. Where do you begin when you want to create an article that will earn you clicks, comments, and social shares? This simple formula will show you how to write a blog post by guiding you from blank page to finished work.

1Choose your blog post topic

I know quite a few writers whose abandoned personal blogs are languishing in some dark corner of the Internet. These writers launched their blogs with joy and enthusiasm, but their momentum fizzled because they found it too hard to keep coming up with inspiring topics. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are some great ways to choose a topic that will resonate with your audience.

  • Pick something you’re passionate about. When you care about your topic, you’ll write about it in a more powerful, emotionally expressive way.
  • Pick something your readers are passionate about. What does your audience care about? It’s important to know so you can engage them. And don’t be afraid to go negative (e.g. Ten “Healthy” Foods You Should Always Avoid). The human negativity bias is legit.
  • Get inspired by research. Some of the best articles I’ve written germinated when I grew curious about a subject and decided to explore it.
  • Get inspired by other writers. No, I don’t mean you should plagiarize or blatantly copy ideas. But you can take a look at what your competition is writing about and put your own spin on these subjects. What new information or ideas can you bring to the table?

Keep a log of every topic idea that comes your way. You never know when you’re going to be stumped by the question “What should I write?”

Here’s a tip: Use a bookmarking tool like Pocket or EverNote to store clips and notes. Use your clip file for inspiration whenever your idea well runs dry.

2 Pick one clear angle.

You’ve got a topic. Awesome! Now, what’s your angle? Avoid a broad approach—get specific. You’ll get overwhelmed if you pick a huge subject like organic vegetable gardening and try to cover it all. Instead, go with “10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Start an Organic Vegetable Garden.”

Think about the best approach to your topic. If you want to explain how to do something, a step-by-step how-to article could work well. Want to write about your favorite autobiographies or offer your best tips for throwing a memorable dinner party? Consider a listicle. There’s nothing wrong with a straight-up essay, either, as long as it’s well-organized.

Speaking of which . . .

3 Get organized.

Whenever my dad had a disagreement with someone, he’d make his case and then storm off, but inevitably come back minutes later, one finger raised in proclamation, saying, “And another thing!” He did this so often that it became a running family joke.

Don’t write like my dad debated. Many bloggers make the mistake of not organizing their thoughts before they begin, which leads to “and another thing” writing. You’ll continue adding thoughts in a random, incoherent fashion. Articles like that don’t get read and shared, they get ignored.

If you’ve ever grown impatient while listening to someone tell a story, wanting them to just get to the point, then you know what it’s like to read an article that lacks organization. My dear content creators, no one wants to try to fish a few salient points out of your stream of consciousness.

9 Workflow Strategies That Will Make You a Faster Writer

Organize your thoughts with an outline. Here’s the outlining strategy I use. I promise it works like a charm. Not only will it make writing your blog post easier, it’ll help you make your message focused and clear for your readers.

4Open strong

If you tied a worm to the end of a fishing line, how many bluegills do you think you’d catch?

Easy answer: none. Dangling a worm alone may get you a nibble or two, but if you actually want to reel ’em in, you need a hook. Think of your opening paragraph as an advertisement for the rest of your blog post, the thing that keeps your reader on the line. Consider these examples from 5 Things That Will Make You Better at Content Writing.

Weak Hook

Writing a great opening paragraph is very important. Here are a few tips to get you on the way to hooking your readers.

Yawn. Don’t tell your reader that something’s important, show her. Why should she want “a few tips” from you?

Strong Hook

I just stopped reading your article. You had about two seconds to hook me, but your yawn-inducing opener made me surf on to something else. Writers (not to mention their websites) thrive on being read, so why do we invest so little time in crafting strong opening hooks?

Consider using a little foreshadowing in your hook. Scroll back and take a look at the opening paragraph of this article. See how it hints at what’s to come? That’s foreshadowing. Suggest what you’re going to deliver within the article so we’ll be compelled to read on.

5Write naturally

The one thing you have that other writers don’t is your voice. Cultivate it! If it works for your article, consider writing in the first person and including some relatable anecdotes. (Like my “And another thing!” tale.) Whenever you can, tell a story, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.

If you don’t have a story to relate to your readers, you can at least infuse your article with your personal style. Instead of writing like you’re churning out a dry research paper, write as though you’re telling a friend about some cool new stuff you’ve learned. Use your own natural, conversational tone. Keep your language simple and direct. In other words, just be you. No one else can.

5 Things That Will Make You Better at Content Writing

6Write emotionally

Remember what I briefly mentioned about the human negativity bias? Our brains are wired to look for danger, and so we’re naturally drawn to warnings and other information that’s skewed toward the negative. (In fact, the media uses the negativity bias to capture our attention because it works so well.) Using negativity is a kind of emotional writing.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be a constant downer in order to keep your readers hooked. You can create interest just by using emotional language to write on topics your readers care about. PRO TIP: How do you know people will care about your topic? Because you care about it!

7 Close strong

You’ve come this far. Now, it’s time to write a killer close that will help cement your post in your reader’s mind, create engagement, and encourage social sharing. Let’s look at a few.

  • Simply end at a natural stopping point. No wrap-ups, no frills—just end when you’re finished. Give it a try if it suits your post and writing style.
  • Wrap it up with a summary paragraph. This is by far the most traditional approach. Summarize your conclusions and add some closing thoughts.
  • Create a TL;DR. For better or worse, we skim when we read online. A TL;DR is usually a simple bulleted list that lets a reader see your conclusions at a glance. You never know—the TL;DR could inspire someone to go back and read the full article.
  • Fish for comments. When you wrap up with a compelling question, you encourage your readers to have a say. This can help you build community around your blog.
  • Ask for a social share. It never hurts to ask people to share your article if it resonated with them.
  • Ask the reader to subscribe. The reader made it to the end of your article—they like you! Ask them to connect with you on social media or subscribe to your blog channel so they can see whenever you post new content.
  • Promote a product. See below. *wink*

Now that you’ve drafted a memorable post, edit. Clean up the clutter and eliminate wordiness. And don’t forget to use Grammarly as your extra pair of eyes to help you catch typos and look for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

The post Here’s How to Write a Blog Post Like a Professional appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

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Lesson 313 – Mechanics – Capitalization

Capitalize the names of organizations (business, school, professional, social). Examples: Audubon Society, Orem High School, Better Business Bureau, Lion’s Club
Instructions: Capitalize each word that needs a capital letter.
1. I like to attend the metropolitan opera.
2. salt lake city is known for its ballet west.
3. i have never been to lone peak high school.
4. You should be a member of the national honor society.
5. Did he work for the ophir coal company?
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. Metropolitan Opera
2. Salt Lake City/Ballet West
3. I/Lone Peak High School
4. National Honor Society
5. Ophir Coal Company

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/11/lesson-313-mechanics-capitalization.html

Everything You Need to Know about How to Write a Letter

How to start a letter, what type of letter you should write, what letter format you should choose—everyone should be familiar with these basics of letter writing. Here’s the information you need to know, along with some helpful examples.

What Type of Letter Should You Write?

There are no hard-and-fast rules. What letter format you choose depends on your audience. For a friend or close relative, a casual, handwritten message is usually the best way to go. However, for business contacts or people you don’t know well, a typed formal letter is almost always the most appropriate choice.

Before You Start a Letter

Formal letters begin with the sender’s name and address. Some companies use special paper, called letterhead, that includes contact information.

Brenda Houser 321 Hyacinth Lane Culver City, CA 90230

The next line of a formal letter and the first line of an informal letter is the date. Write it two lines after your address or at the top of a casual letter.

December 1, 2017
12 January 2018

Additionally, formal letters need the name and address of the recipient two spaces after the date. Incorporating all this information ensures that your letter can be used as a reference to contact you after the recipient discards the envelope.

Business Corporation 555 Industry Street San Francisco, CA 94104

How to Start a Letter

Finally, you’re ready to greet the person (or business) to whom you’re writing. Skip a space from any addresses you’ve included. Casual letters are easy; you can start with “Hello” or another customary greeting. Formal letters begin with “Dear” followed by the name of the receiver. If you don’t have a contact at a certain company, search online for a name, a job title, or department. For example, you might try “Dear Manager” or “Dear Human Resources Department.” As a last resort, use the generic salutation “To Whom It May Concern.” A comma follows all greetings.

Dear Ms. Abercrombie,
Dear University of Illinois Staff,

The Body of the Letter

The content of your letter will vary, so let’s focus on some general guidelines.

Do. . . keep it focused. Business letters should have a clear objective. Even personal letters shouldn’t ramble. Proofread. Errors can cause misunderstandings.

Don’t. . . use contractions in formal letters. And definitely avoid writing anything you’ll regret being recorded for posterity.

How to End a Letter

Leave a blank space between your closing paragraph and the complimentary closing. A complimentary close is a polite way to send your regards to your receiver. One of the most common closers is “Sincerely,” and it’s generally a safe bet. If you have a warmer relationship with the recipient, you can sign off with “Warm regards” or “Cordially.” There are dozens of options, so you’ll have to do a little research to determine which is best for you. Commas follow all complimentary closings. Remember, only the first letter of the phrase is capitalized. Leave another couple of spaces for the last step—your signature! Type your full name underneath it in formal letters.

Best wishes, signature Theresa Grant

With sincere gratitude, Signature Dr. Malcolm J. Carl, Jr.

What’s P.S.?

P.S. stands for postscript. It’s something you add at the last minute after the letter is complete. Typically, you don’t add postscripts to formal letters; if you need to add something, you’ll have to revise the whole document to include the new information.

P.S. Rob got the position at Great Company! Thanks for all the support during his unemployment.

The Envelope

In the United States, the maximum weight for a first-class letter is 3.5 ounces. If your letter is more than three pages or you’ve written it on heavy paper, you’ll have to weigh it to make sure it meets the requirements. The size and shape of the envelope matter too. It has to be rectangular and less than roughly 6×11 inches or you run the risk of the post office returning it.

Sending a Letter

After you’ve determined that the envelope is the right kind, the hardest part is over. Now, you just have to mail it. (If it’s a personal letter, you can always deliver it yourself. In that case, just write the intended recipient’s name on the outside of the envelope. A bonus of hand-delivery?: You can use any size or shape envelope that you want!) In the top left-hand corner, write your name and address or attach a mailing label. In the center of the envelope, carefully write the address of the recipient. Besides the state abbreviation and zip code, international letters should include the country for both the destination and return address. Postage rates vary. Check the USPS website for current prices or use a forever stamp for US destinations. Double-check that everything is correct on the outside of the envelope. If it is, fold your letter and insert it inside neatly. Don’t seal it until you’re sure that you’ve included every page you intend to send.

Doesn’t it feel good sending a letter that you know you’ve carefully prepared? Certainly, a well-written letter has the best chance of accomplishing its purpose. But what about a cover letter for a job application? Cover letters have their own set of best practices. Read everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter before you send out your next resume!

The post Everything You Need to Know about How to Write a Letter appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

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Lesson 312 – Mechanics – Capitalization

Capitalize the specific name of buildings and other man-made structures, ships, trains, and planes. Examples: the White House, Mayflower, Amtrak, Concorde
Instructions: Capitalize each word that needs a capital letter.
1. One famous airplane is the spirit of st. louis.
2. The reading railroad and the shortline were trains found in atlantic city.
3. The empire state building used to be the tallest building in the united states.
4. The washington monument and the lincoln memorial are being renovated.
5. The nina, pinta, and the santa maria are ships known to all americans.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. Spirit of St. Louis
2. Reading Railroad / Shortline / Atlantic City
3. Empire State Building / United States
4. Washington Monument / Lincoln Memorial
5. Nina / Pinta / Santa Maria / Americans

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in eBook and Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
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Lesson 311 – Mechanics – Capitalization

Do not capitalize prepositions, conjunctions or the articles (a, an, the) that come within a proper noun. Example: University of Utah, Smith and Sons
Instructions: Capitalize each word that needs a capital letter.
1. The university of california is found in many different cities in california.
2. The battle of the bulge was an important battle.
3. The gulf of mexico is found south of texas.
4. One period of history is called the dark ages.
5. The cape of good hope is near africa.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. University of California/California
2. Battle of the Bulge
3. Gulf of Mexico/Texas
4. Dark Ages
5. Cape of Good Hope/Africa

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/11/lesson-311-mechanics-capitalization.html