September 28th, 2009
“As with any public health intervention, the precise effect of a tax cannot be known until it is implemented and studied, but research to date suggests that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would have strong positive effects on reducing consumption.” – Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, et al., “The Public Health and Economic Benefits of Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages,” New England Journal of Medicine online, September 16, 2009
This sentence was taken from an article about taxing sugary drinks. Don’t you think that the quotation is longer than it needs to be? We do We re-wrote it this way:
“Of course it is difficult to predict, but research suggests that if sugary beverages were taxed, the public would drink less of them and would be healthier.”
For more tips about writing clearly and concisely, see Write It Well’s book Professional Writing Skills: A Self-Paced Training Program.
September 25th, 2009
“[A] seven-person team of statisticians, machine-learning experts and computer engineers …. was the longtime frontrunner in the contest…. The Netflix contest has been widely followed because its lessons could extend well beyond improving movie picks.” – Steve Lohr, “Netflix Awards $1 Million Prize and Starts a New Contest,” New York Times, September 21, 2009
Finally…! Someone who knows how to use a hyphen! Lohr hyphenates “seven-person ” and “machine-learning” because these two-word phrases come before the nouns they describe – “team” and “experts.” There’d be no hyphen if either two-word phrase came after the noun: “They were experts in machine learning.”
For more tips on how to use hyphens correctly, see Write It Well’s book Professional Writing Skills: A Self-Paced Training Program.
September 2nd, 2009
If you followed our tips for writing effective performance objectives, the task of reviewing an employees’ performance – or your own performance – will be easier and more rewarding. Acceptable performance documentation includes enough information and uses specific, objective language. Here are the criteria for acceptable performance documentation:
- Describes behavior, performance, and results the evaluator has observed
- Describes behavior, performance, and results that other have observed
- Explains, illustrates, and supports the evaluator’s conclusions about the employee’s rating or ranking
- Documents agreements
- Tells employees clearly what they are doing well, and what they need to improve
- Documents learning plans or other expectations for growth
Here are several sets of statements taken from performance documents. For each one, use your imagination to rewrite them so that the follow the criteria above.
- Cecile’s clothing is inappropriate.
- Daniel is very reliable.
- Josh is very unprofessional in his dealings with clients.
Here’s one way to rewrite the statements so that they follow the criteria for effective performance documentation:
- Cecile often wears jeans and sandals or sneakers to work, although she has been told that the dress code prohibits such casual cothing for customer service staff.
- Daniel is at his desk ready to work by 8:30 every morning.
- Three times during this performance period, I overheard Josh telling off-color jokes to clients.