Archive for November, 2013

Based Out Of or Off Of

November 16, 2013

Today we shall consider the appropriate prepositions to follow the word “based.”

Bad Example:
Our support team is based out of our Houston office.

No, the support team is based in the Houston office. The home base is in the office, which is in Houston.

“Based out of” can cause confusion. For example, if an online company is based out of Texas, they won’t have to charge sales tax to Texas residents who purchase products from their website; however, if the company is based in Texas, they will have to charge them sales tax.

Corrected Example:
Our support team is based in our Houston office.

More Bad Examples:
This method is based off of the Clapperdingen theory.
This method is based around the Clapperdingen theory.

If you consider what a base is, it is the foundation upon with something else stands. So if something is based, it must be based on something, not around it, not off of it.

Corrected Example:
This method is based on the Clapperdingen theory.

By the way, there is no such thing as the Clapperdingen theory. Go ahead and Google it – zero hits.
I am open to entertaining some interesting and/or humorous definitions for it, however, and will be happy to share them with the Peanut Gallery. Be creative!

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Funny Typo of the Day:

Management of chance (the author really meant “management of change”)
I would love to meet somebody who had the ability to manage chance!

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Profound Quote of the Day:

1. “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.
2. – Plato, Greek philosopher, 427–347 BC
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Based Out Of or Off Of

November 9, 2013

Today we shall consider the appropriate prepositions to follow the word “based.”

Bad Example:
Our support team is based out of our Houston office.

No, the support team is based in the Houston office. The home base is in the office, which is in Houston.

“Based out of” can cause confusion. For example, if an online company is based out of Texas, they won’t have to charge sales tax to Texas residents who purchase products from their website; however, if the company is based in Texas, they will have to charge them sales tax.

Corrected Example:
Our support team is based in our Houston office.

More Bad Examples:
This method is based off of the Clapperdingen theory.
This method is based around the Clapperdingen theory.

If you consider what a base is, it is the foundation upon with something else stands. So if something
is based, it must be based on something, not around it, not off of it.

Corrected Example:
This method is based on the Clapperdingen theory.

By the way, there is no such thing as the Clapperdingen theory. Go ahead and Google it – zero hits.
I am open to entertaining some interesting and/or humorous definitions for it, however, and will be happy to
share them with the Peanut Gallery. Be creative!

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Funny Typo of the Day:

Management of chance (the author really meant “management of change”)
I would love to meet somebody who had the ability to manage chance!

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Profound Quote of the Day:

1.      “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.
2.      – Plato, Greek philosopher, 427–347 BC
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Compound Adjectives

November 9, 2013

Let’s take a look at the following sentence:

Bad Example (but good news):
Oil production has increased during this six-months period.

As with all critiques, we will start off by saying something positive: the hyphen definitely belongs there. However, the “S” at the end of “months” does not.

“Why?” you may ask. “There are six months, and that is more than one, so it should be plural, right?”

No. The reason is that the compound adjective, six-month, is an adjective, and in the English language adjectives do not have plurals.
Only when “month” is standing alone and functioning as a noun does it become plural.

Corrected Examples:
Oil production has increased during this six-month period. (compound adjective)
Oil production has increased during these six months. (noun)

Other good examples of singular compound adjectives:
Two-bit geologist
Three-penny opera
Four-bedroom house
Five-dollar bill
Six-inch nails
Seven-layer cake
Eight-piece jazz band
Nine-digit account number
Ten-mile hike

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Post-Election Day Quote:
“Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets.”
– Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, 1809–1865
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Any More vs. Anymore

November 3, 2013

Today’s idea for Tip of the Day comes from Shea Writing and Training Solutions:

There are basically three schools of thought regarding the use of any more and anymore:
1.      Anymore is a misspelling of any more. Don’t do it.
2.      Anymore and any more are just two ways of spelling the same thing. Don’t worry about it. Just be consistent.
3.      Anymore and any more have distinct differences in meaning and should be used accordingly:
a.      Anymore means any longer or nowadays.
Example: “Let’s not do this anymore.”
b.      Any more means something additional or further.
Example: “I don’t want any more wine or cheese.”

I am old school, i.e., school of thought #3. I figure if you can use “any” or “more” alone in the same sentence and have it make sense, then they should be used as two separate words together, as each has its own meaning. If you cannot use “any” or “more” alone in that sentence, then you need to use “anymore,” which has its own meaning.

Examples:
Do you want any chocolate?
Do you want more chocolate?
Do you want any more chocolate? (any additional)

I don’t like vanilla more than chocolate.
I don’t like vanilla any more than chocolate. (any better)

However, if someone once liked chocolate, but doesn’t like it now, then that person doesn’t like chocolate anymore. (any longer)
Editor’s note:  Good – more for me!

How shall we remember this?
If you mean any additional or any better, use any more.
If you mean any longer, use anymore.

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Yogi Berra Quotes of the Day:

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

– Yogi Berra, American baseball player, New York Yankees, b.  1925
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November 3, 2013

CO2 Revisited – Make it Automatic

Remember that groovy Tip of the Day for subscripting the 2 in CO2 I sent you recently? There’s another way to do the same thing, according to my Australian e-buddy Rhonda Bracey, editor of CyberText Newsletter (http://cybertext.wordpress.com).

Did you know that you can do a Find for something like H2O and replace it with H2O? Let’s assume you are writing or editing a scientific document and there are many instances of H2O, CO2, H2SO4, m3 (cubic metres) etc. scattered throughout. Perhaps the author didn’t know how to create a subscript (Ctrl+=) or superscript (Ctrl+Shift+=) easily, or they thought it didn’t matter, or perhaps they thought the editor would sort it out. Maybe they used a tiny font for the sub- or superscript (yes, I’ve seen it….) The end result is the same: the document is peppered with measurements and formulae that should include proper superscripts or subscripts.

Word’s Find and Replace to the rescue. In this example, I’ll use H2O but the same technique applies for anything similar.
1. Change one of the incorrect instances of H2O to the correct formatting (H2O).
2. Copy the correct format (H2O) to the clipboard.
3. Open Word’s Find and Replace (Ctrl+H).
4. In the Find what field, type H2O (the incorrect format).
5. In the Replace with field, type ^c (that’s a Shift+6 for the caret [^] character and a lower case ‘c‘ — the ‘c’ MUST be lower case).
6. Click Replace All.

So, if you don’t want to do the Texas Two-Step, you can use this method. Did you also learn a couple of cool Word shortcuts? I did.

Ctrl + = makes a subscript
Ctrl + Shift + = makes a superscript
^c pastes whatever is in the clipboard, including the formatting codes
Ctrl + H opens the Find and Replace feature

Learn something new every day!

Here’s another useful tidbit from Down Under:
Rhonda says you can set up AutoCorrect in Word to change all your CO2 instances to the proper subscripted versions automatically as you type. Here’s how:
1. In your document, type CO2 and a space, then format it correctly (capital letters, then subscript the 2 but not the space; you should have CO2 ).
2. Select and copy CO2 and its following space. This puts it on the clipboard.
3. Open the AutoCorrect dialog box:
o Word 2003: From the menu, select Tools > AutoCorrect Options.
o Word 2007: Click the large Microsoft button in the top left, click Word Options, click Proofing, then click the AutoCorrect Options button in the AutoCorrect options section.
o Word 2010: Click File in the top left, click Word Options, click Proofing, then click the AutoCorrect Options button in the AutoCorrect options section.
4. About midway down the AutoCorrect dialog box, there are two fields: Replace and With. You should see CO2 in the With field as Word automatically pastes the last thing you copied into that field.
5. In the Replace field on the left, type co2. (Hint: Type it in lower case as this will save keystrokes when you need to use it in your document.)
6. Next to the With field, select Formatted text. This is a critical step. When you select Formatted Text, the pasted CO2 changes to CO2.
7. Click Replace, then click OK.
8. To test that it works, go back to your document, type co2 (lower case) then press the spacebar (or TAB key or ENTER key). Voila! Your co2 is automatically replaced with CO2 and a following space.
How’s that for a nice time-saver! It’s really cool when Technical Writers from across the globe share this good stuff with the Peanut Gallery. Thanks, Rhonda!

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Profound Quote of the Day:

“When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them.
Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time.
Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.”
Michael LeBoeuf, American business author, former management professor at University of New Orleans

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