RESPECT: Showing Consideration for Readers through Economy of Words, Elegance, and Correct Grammar

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Ulla de Stricker, de Stricker Associates

Following on her piece in the January 2013 issue, Ulla de Stricker offers additional examples of common but easily avoidable errors in English language usage.

Between … to. NO – Between … and.

WRONG: Between 5 to 7 percent
CORRECT: Between 5 and 7 percent; 5 to 7 percent

If you use “between” you are committed and must use “and”!

June 1998 or June, 1998? Here’s the trick. No day, no comma. Just follow these models:

CORRECT:
In June of 1998, a meeting was held. Later, in July 1998, it was decided …
In late June 1998, a meeting was held. At the end of July 1998, it was decided …
On June 16, 1998, a meeting was held (the European is an alternative: On 16 June 1998, a meeting was held)
The meeting was slated to be held between early June and late September 1998.
The cafeteria was closed for renovations from December 13, 1998 to January 11, 1999.

Let’s be clear on lets!

WRONG: The new system let’s us issue parking permits in mere seconds.
WRONG: I’m delighted with online banking—it let’s me move money and pay bills so easily.
CORRECT: The new system lets us issue parking permits in mere seconds.
CORRECT: I’m delighted with online banking—it lets me move money and pay bills so easily.

SOLUTION IF YOU’RE NOT SURE: Use another verb: The new system makes it possible …

MEMORY TRICK: “Let’s” (let us) is used when we are suggesting something: Let’s defer the matter to next month.

Reason is because … reason is due to … due to X reasons … Oh frog!

WRONG: The reason for the delay is because the supplier shipment is late / is due to the late supplier shipment.
WRONG: Due to security reasons, …
CORRECT: The reason for the delay is the slippage in the supplier’s shipment schedule.
CORRECT: Due to (as a result of) security protocol changes, parcels will now be checked. For security reasons, all parcels will be checked. As a result of security concerns, parcels will be checked. Due to theft, prices are going up.

TRICK: We are not frogs, so we don’t “RiBiD”. Reason, Because, Due: Pick one.

Due … or do? Just do it, the report is due soon!

WRONG: I’ll make due with what I have. The report is do Monday.
CORRECT: I’ll make do with what I have. The report is due Monday.

Disinterested vs. uninterested: Are you impartial, or doesn’t the subject grab you?

WRONG: I am disinterested in attending the company picnic.
CORRECT: I am uninterested in (have no desire for) attending the picnic.
CORRECT: We need a disinterested (impartial, neutral) person to comment on the conflict.

PS: Same goes for disinclined vs. uninclined!

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