Switching Gears


Words, Phrases, and Expressions You
Shouldn't Take from Home to the Office

By Mamie Webb Hixon

I don't know nothing about this meeting.
a criteria
the criterias
with regards to
and etc.
I feel badly about missing the workshop.
Be sure and be on time.
If you plan on being at the workshop, please let us know.
Hopefully, our business will increase.
He graduated PJC.
hisself, themself, theirselves
Loan me the money.
The minutes has been approved.
Dues is due in September.
She missed the conference on account of illness.
I'm real excited about the conference.
I'm waiting on you.
Where's the meeting at?
That's a long ways to travel to a meeting.
I'm not coming to the meeting nohow.
I could care less.
It has been moved and second that the meeting be adjourned.
If I was in charge, I'd make a lot of changes.
I motion that the meeting be adjourned.


Bad Grammar That Ain't So Bad!

From the Desk of the Grammar Guru

     Bad grammar emits a social and intellectual message about its sender. An employee who uses the kind of bad grammar illustrated below runs the risk of undermining his or her credibility as a professional. Furthermore, he or she is ridiculed and is usually not taken very seriously.

  • Where the purchase orders at?
  • The forms have already went to the principal's office.
  • I seen you at the conference in San Francisco.
  • He'll do the job hisself.
  • We don't have no more applications.
  • She don't know the answer.

     Even an untrained grammarian would notice the errors above. But some bad grammar ain't so bad:

  • Each of us has our own responsibility.
  • It's important to let the employee know that it's not him or her who's causing the problem.
  • It's not what you know but who you know.
  • Who are you going to call?
  • Usually, it's not me that he calls.
  • Who are you going to vote for?
  • That's us twenty years ago, and that's me six years ago.
  • The media has not responded.
  • This bank wants to loan you money.
  • Closed due to the hurricane.
  • We're here to better serve you.
  • Everybody participated, didn't they?
  • The data is accurate.
  • I'd like to suggest that it be me who is assigned to this command post.
  • Less than ten items.

     The sentences above do contain errors, but the errors don't draw attention to themselves; they are subtle enough that even a trained professional would either overlook them or not notice them.



The "Real" Deal

By Mamie Webb Hixon
UWF Writing Lab Director

No real early, real late, or real soon
No real good, real bad, or real nice
No real fast, real slow, or real energetic
No real pretty, real smart, or real cute
No real easy, real hard, or real simple

Here's the REAL deal.

     Real, despite its popularity among speakers of English, as a qualifier is really an adjective meaning "genuine":

real leather
a real problem

     In business and academic writing, when you need to qualify how professional, how dedicated, how reasonable, how responsible, how important, or how critical something or someone is, use an adverb—real is not an adverb. It is an adjective. Try using an adverb like really or very:

a real disadvantage BUT really disadvantageous
a real surprise BUT really surprising
a real crisis BUT really critical
a real pleasure BUT really pleasurable
a real difference BUT really different
a real southerner BUT really southern
a real profession BUT really professional
real support BUT really supportive
a real friend BUT really friendly



Do you need help cleaning out your
Language Closet?



Call or e-mail the Grammar Hotline.





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