Mini-Tips Part 1

Today we have a bunch of mini-tips submitted by Shea Writing and Training Solutions, who will be hosting a public technical writing workshop July 24–26, 2013 at the Riverbend Country Club in Sugar Land, Texas (

Mini-Tip #1: All Of
You don’t need to say “all of” when referring to nouns; the word “of” is unnecessary.

all the drill bits, all the butterfly valves

However, when referring to pronouns, you do include the word “of.”

all of them, all of it

Mini-Tip #2: Whether
You don’t need to say “as to whether” or “whether or not.” Usually “whether” is sufficient.

Mini-Tip #3: Start
Instead of the words “commence” or “initiate,” use the simpler words “begin” or “start.”

Mini-Tip #4: Currently vs. Presently
Currently means it is happening now.
Presently means it will happen very soon.

Mini-Tip #5: Data vs. Datum
The word “data” takes a plural verb.
Datum is the singular form and takes a singular verb.

Mini-Tip #6: Less is More
You can cut down the following phrase to a single word:
Due to the fact that —> because

Mini-Tip #7: Etc.
Etc. means “and so forth.” It should only be used at the end of a list that makes clear exactly what kinds of other things are implied. Do not use etc. at the end of a list introduced by “such as,” “e.g.,” or “for example.”

Good Example:
Waterflooding, steamflooding, miscible flooding, etc., are EOR methods often used to improve oil recovery.

Bad Examples:
EOR methods such as waterflooding, steamflooding, miscible flooding, etc., are often done to improve oil recovery.
EOR methods (e.g., waterflooding, steamflooding, miscible flooding, etc.) are often done to improve oil recovery.
For example, waterflooding, steamflooding, miscible flooding, etc., are EOR methods often used to improve oil recovery.

Awesome Texas Video
One of the members of my ladies club ( sent a link to a stunning video of gorgeous photographs of Texas landscapes and animals and cowboys taken by Wyman Meinzer, set to lovely music written by fellow Texan Doug Smith.

It is quite simply a beautiful portrayal of the State of Texas, and I thought I would share it with y’all.

Profound Quote of the Day:
“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”
– Earl Nightingale, American motivational speaker and radio show host, 1921-1989


2 Responses to “Mini-Tips Part 1”

  1. WCReinhart Says:

    These are great points; however, I feel strongly that, although it is etymologically correct, using only plural verbs for “data” is too restrictive for current applications.

    Most dictionaries support using “data” as either a plural noun or a singular mass noun, but I find that the difference lies in the style guides. Academically and scientifically oriented guides, such as the Chicago guide or the NASA guide, use data as a plural noun and tend to use ‘data set’ as the mass noun. More technologically oriented style guides, such as the Microsoft guide, recommend always using a singular verb. This may stem from the computing world using data to indicate information and the academic world using it to denote facts.

    I foresee the tides shifting on this issue. While an ngram review shows that the use of “data are” is used more often in books than “data is,” a regular Google search reveals that “data is” appears nearly three times as often on websites.

  2. Various useful websites related to writing | CyberText Newsletter Says:

    […] Bits and pieces: […]

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