Sunday, April 24, 2011

Correct Use of Quotation Marks, Parentheses, Dashes, and Brackets

Quotation marks

Previous posts have discussed the order or arrangement of quotation marks with period, comma, semicolon, question mark, and exclamation point. The following rules are therefore in order:


1. Double quotation marks are used to enclose direct quotations.

The manager wrote, "Our regular working hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m."

Make sure that quotation marks are placed at the end as well as at the beginning of the quotation.


When a quotation is interrupted by he said or another parenthetical expression, both parts of the quotation are set off.

"Mr. Agudo," said, "how many personnel do we have?"


2. Double quotation marks may be used to set off directly quoted words or phrases, slang expressions, and words or phrases that you may want to emphasize.

The manager's request for "a well-trained staff" impressed the top management of the company.

The term "heavy" is used rather freely today.


Some authorities prefer to underscore rather than to use quotation marls in the foregoing samples. Underscored typewritten or longhand writing is italicised in print.


3. Single quotation marks are used to enclose a quotation within a quotation or slang expression within a quotation.

The customer said to the computer technician, "What is meant by the term 'bandwidth'?"


4. Double quotation marks are used to enclose the names of chapters of books, titles of magazine articles, names of songs, and other subdivisions.

The March issue of Business World contained a very interesting article entitled "Budgeting Our National Income."

It is customary to underscore (for printing in italics) the names of books and publications. Put the titles of chapters and articles and the name of the songs in quotation marks. In business letters the title of a book is usually written in capital letters.

Our teacher has recommended that every student read the book Writing Effective Letters. (Or: . . . WRITING EFFECTIVE LETTERS.)

Whenever one of the articles A, An, and The is a part of the title of a n article or chapter, place the quotation marks before A, An, or The.

The chapter on "The Art of Writing a Letter" is very practical. (Not: The chapter on the "Art of Writing a Letter" is very practical.)

Whenever A, An, or The is a part of the title of the book, a magazine, or a newspaper, it should be underscored (for printing in italics) or written in capital letters.

We have urged our students to study carefully The Art of Writing Letters or: . . .THE ART OF WRITING LETTERS.


Order of punctuation marks

1. The period and the comma are always placed inside the quotation marks.

He said, "We'll be happy to send the brochure."

"Thank you very much, " I answered.



In the British and Canadian style of punctuation, which is preferred by many American authors and writers, the period and the comma are placed outside the quotation marks whenever they belong, not to the quotation, but to the whole sentence or the clause containing the quotation.

He called me "Larry",

The secretary asked, "Where is Mr. Reyes?", but I had to tell her I hadn't seen the boss.


2. The semicolon and the colon are generally placed outside of the quotation marks.

This is what I mean by "immediately": Do it now!

The email read, "Rush order 1085": consequently, we shipped immediately.


3. All other punctuation marks are placed inside the quotation marks if they belong to the quotation; otherwise they are placed outside the quotation marks.

He said, "Will you accept the offer?"



Question mark referring only to the quoted material:

Did he say, "What will be the charges"? (Question mark refers to the entire sentence here.)

The boss shouted, "I told you, 'close that door'!"

"Look out for that car!" the man shouted.



4. When a quotation consists of several sentences, place quotation marks at the beginning of the quotation and at the end of the quotation, not at the beginning and end of each sentence.


5. If a quotation consists of several paragraphs, place quotation marks at the beginning of the quotation, at the beginning of each paragraph, and at the end of the quotation, but not at the end of each paragraph.


Punctuating parenthetical material

Commas, parentheses. dashes, and brackets are used interchangeably by many authors and writers in setting off parenthetical material. Although we cannot be arbitrary in determining how we shall punctuate such material, a good suggestion to follow is usually this: If the parenthetical material is short and closely related to the sentence, use commas; if the  parenthetical material is long, use parentheses or dashes. No harm-and-fast rule can be offered or followed, however.


Parenthesis

1. Use parentheses to set off independent or disconnected parenthetic expressions that are explanatory or supplementary.

This memo (I think Mr. Agudo submitted it last week) covers the period from March 1 to June 15.


2. Use parentheses to enclose references and directions.

These changes have been prepared for all accounts (see pages 7 to 12 for job orders) effective June 1.


3. Use parentheses to enclose figures used appositively.

Our apples list for five dollars ($5) in lots of one (1) dozen.

We received twenty (20) orders for our merchandise this week.


Place the word "dollars" before the figure in parentheses; but place such words as "orders," "shipments'" "tons," "barrels," and the like after the figure in parentheses.

The shipment of one hundred ten (110) barrels of apples arrived this morning.


4. Use parentheses to enclose numbers or letters which precede items in a series.

After the orders have been registered, they are classified as follows: (1) F.I. (Fill immediately); (2) HFC (Hold for Confirmation); and (3) CAR (Credit Approval Required).


When parentheses and other punctuation marks are used together. the principal part of the sentence is punctuated exactly a it would be if the parenthetical material were not present. A punctuation mark follows the second parenthesis if this mark applies to the whole sentence and not merely to the material in parentheses.

Correct: The reason-why appeal is better adapted to satisfying needs (business or household); the short-circuit appeal is better suited to satisfying longings and desires of a more personal nature.



A punctuation mark precedes the second mark of parentheses if the punctuation mark refers to material within parentheses.

A complete separate sentence enclosed in parentheses begins with a capital letter, but a parenthetical sentence element within a sentence usually begins with a small letter.

I shall invite them (they may be away) to meet with us next Tuesday.


 Dashes

The dash should be used cautiously. It is often overused by inexperienced writers. In advertising copy, it seems to be used as a substitute for almost every mark from the comma to the period. In ordinary writing, however, it should not take the places properly belonging to other punctuation marks.

1. Use the dash to indicate a sudden break in the continuity of thought or structure.

Manila Furniture Company ordered ten of our narra coffe tables - I forgot the style number - for one of their hotel accounts.


2. Use the dash for emphasis before a short appositive phrase.

I'd like to see Ms. Castillo -  the Ms. Castillo of your marine department.

We called on the Manila Electrical Company - the principal supplier of electrical parts in the country.



3. Use the dash to set off appositive expressions containing commas.

Three of our cars - the Ford Escape, the Toyota Land Cruiser, and the Mitsubishi Pajero - are in excellent condition.


4. Use the dash for emphasis to set off a repetitive word or phrase.

We need your payment within fifteen days -  fifteen days, not a day later!


5. Use the dash after as, namely, that is, and so forth, when used to introduce a series of items. This use is now, however, uncommon.

There are four steps in our sales training program; namely -

1. A week period in the factory
2. A week period in the offices
3. A week period on the road working with an experienced sales personnel
4. A week period traveling with the sales manager throughout the entire sales territory.


6. Use a dash before an appositive clause that restricts or summarizes a preceding series of words.

Competence, integrity, and reliability -  these qualities we demand from our employees.


7. Use the dash between dates or numbers to indicate to or and.

Our regular working hours are from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



Brackets

1. Use brackets to enclose material inserted in a quotation by someone other than the writer of the quotation. Such insertions or interpolations may consist of editorial comments, corrections, or explanations.

In that period [2009] sales dropped 18%.

One of the four original partners [Jose] started his own company.



Use the brackets to set off parenthetical material within parenthetical material.

The creation of our aviation department (Mr. Gayamat was the man who started it [see page 7 of  the Annual Report]) was the principal accomplishment of our company last year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Appreciation

No one letter does more to boost further a person's confidence than does the letter of appreciation. Sad to note, only a handful of people write such letters, and too many who consider them unnecessary. But who does not enjoy receiving appreciation? A supervisor who compliments his men occasionally for a job well done is more likely to achieve greater results in the future than the supervisor who continually drives but never praises.

Most people are quick to detect flattery. Letters of appreciation should, therefore, be written from the heart -  sincere, and genuine. A small note of appreciation -  perhaps for a favor granted, a service rendered, assistance given, or a job well done, goes a long way in building up friendships and goodwill.
Let me share you a small note of appreciation I wrote to my daughter who ended the school year 2010 at the top of her class.


Jamie,

Congratulations for making it (again!) at the top of your class this school year!

Mama, your sister Mary Angeline, and I are very, very proud of you. What more can I say . . . My only regret is that I was not able to attend your school's Recognition Day to personally place the medal around your neck as I had work that day and could not possibly excuse myself from the office on a short notice. But, nevertheless, Mama was telling me how proud she was, (and Angeline, too), as she, head held up high, wrapped the Medal of Academic Excellence around your neck while your teachers, classmates, and everyone in attendance heartily clapped their hands in applause to YOU!

Your achievement is the result of the many sleepless nights studying and preparing for the next day's lessons. Remember, preparation is the key to success and victory. But do not push yourself too hard. Your patience, industry, the love for learning, and much prayers, too, will keep you on top. In success, the more you should humble yourself; keeping your feet solidly on the ground, and, God, in His graciousness, will bless and keep you.

Keep it up, Jamie! Make us all the more proud of you.

With much love and pride,


Papa

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Invitations


I was about to draft my next blog which was supposed to be the study of the correct use of quotation marks, parentheses, dashes, and brackets, but, a neighbor came by the house today and asked if I could help her out with writing an invitation letter, to which, of course, I readily obliged. Hence, today's topic.

We may classify invitations to two types: formal, and informal.

Formal invitations

Formal invitations are usually written in the third person, with no heading, no salutation, no complimentary close, no inside address, and no signature. The writer should not refer to himself as I or the addressee as you. Avoid all abbreviations except Mr., Mrs., Dr., and Messrs. Numbers occurring in dates should be spelled out.

Here is a sample:

Mr. and Mrs. Arturo C. Fortin

request the company of

Mr. and Mrs. Rodolfo L. Castaneda

at dinner on Saturday, the second of April,

at seven-thirty o'clock

28 Sunset Drive

Lakeside Hills, Antipolo City

Acceptances and refusals should follow the same degree of formality as is observed in the invitation. If the invitation is formal, the reply should likewise be formal.

Below is a sample of a formal letter of acceptance to the invitation given above:


Mr. and Mrs. Rodolfo L. Castaneda accept with pleasure the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Arturo C. Fortin to dinner on Saturday, the second of April, at seven-thirty o'clock.

17 Camden Road
March the tenth



And, here is a sample of a formal letter of refusal to the above given invitation :

Mr. and Mrs. Rodolfo L. Castaneda regret exceedingly that, because of a previous engagement, they will be unable to accept the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Arturo C. Fortin to dinner on Saturday, the second of April, at seven-thirty o'clock.

17 Camden Road
March the tenth



Informal invitations

The form of personal letters varies, depending on the degree of intimacy between the writer and the person addressed. Informal invitations are more personal and intimate. Such letters usually have a heading, an inside address, a salutation, and a signature. It is customary for the writer to place his own address in the lower left corner of the letter. The writer may use the first person, referring to himself as I and to the addressee as you.

Below is a sample of a letter of informal invitation:





Dear Yayette,

Jamie graduated first honor in class this school year; and by way of a celebration, Grace and I are planning a very small informal dinner party for Jamie at our residence, next Saturday, April 9.

We would certainly be delighted if you and the kids could be with us.

Please make it by seven o'clock.


 
Don Nombrado

April 2, 2011


Acknowledgements of informal invitations may likewise be personal and informal, and such may include a heading, an inside address, a salutation, a complimentary close, and a signature. The use of the pronoun I is permissible.

The sample below is a reply to the preceding invitation:


April 3, 2011


Dear Don,

Congratulations to Jamie!

The kids and I are very much delighted to accept with thanks to your kind invitation to dinner party for Jamie at your residence, on Saturday, April 9.

We look forward to seeing you, Grace and Jamie on that very special occasion.

Sincerely,



Yayette Llana

 
1975 Barnley Street
Eastside Manor
Taytay, Rizal

Friday, April 15, 2011

Correct Use of Colon and Semicolon

The Colon

The colon (:) represents the strongest degree of break within the sentence.

1. Use the colon after the introduction to a formal direct quotation.

The president of the union then replied: "My men will leave their jobs if our demands are not met."


Do not use the colon before an indirect quotation.

The president of the union then replied that his men will not leave their jobs if their demands were not met. (Not: The president of the union then replied that: "his men . . . .")


2. Use a colon before an appositive phrase or clause.

This is my advise: reduce your order by 50 per cent; pay cash and take advantage of our discount for cash orders.

There are our terms: 2 per cent, net 30.



3. Use a colon to introduce a list of items or particulars.

The order included the following items: 6 sets of 5256 cuff links, 12 tie clips 5257, and 50 leather wallets style 5258.

A complete sentence should always precede a colon. Do not place a colon after are or were.

The client ordered the following: a pair of denim pants, a pair of topsiders, a pair of socks, and a black leather jacket. (Not: The orders that the client made were: a pair of denim pants,  . . . . )


4. Use a colon after the salutation of a business letter.

Gentlemen:
Dear Sir:
Dear Mr. Sales:


Never use a semicolon after a salutation. A comma may be used after the salutation when a person is addressed by his first (or given) name, or simply by his last name.

Dear Aquino,
Dear Jose,
Dear Mother,


5. Use a colon between the hours and minutes when  the time is expressed in figures. Oftentimes, a space separates the hours from the minutes.

5:30 a.m.     5 30 a.m.

4:20 p.m.     4 20 p.m.  

The Semicolon

The semicolon (;) shows stronger separation between the elements of a sentence than does a comma.

1. Use the semicolon to separate co-ordinate clauses closely connected in meaning and not joined by a conjunction.

We have delivered packages one, two, and three today: packages four, five, and six will be ready for delivery within five days.


(This statement could have been expressed in two sentences.)
To receive a client's orders is a simple task; to process them completely, accurately, and promptly is more difficult.


Do not separate with a comma two co-ordinate clauses not joined by a conjunction. If you are in doubt whether the two clauses are closely related to justify their being used in one sentence, then, write them out in two sentences.

We returned the black dress yesterday, but we have kept the gray skirt.
Wrong: We returned the black dress yesterday, we have kept the gray skirt.

Our sales department gets all the orders exclusively; our service department handles complaints and adjustments. (Wrong: Our sales department gets all the orders exclusively, our service department handles complaints and adjustments.)

The above example may also be expressed correctly in either of the following ways:

Our sales department gets all the orders exclusively, and our service department handles complaints and adjustments.

Our sales department gets all the orders exclusively. Our service department handles complaints and adjustments.



2. Use a semicolon between the clauses of a compound sentence when they are joined by such conjunctive adverbs as therefore, otherwise, accordingly, for, hence, moreover, in fact, besides, consequently, then, however, likewise, nevertheless, notwithstanding,  and the like.

Your letter requesting cancellation of your order was received only this morning; otherwise this order would have been delivered today.

Do not separate the above co-ordinate clauses by a comma.
(Wrong: Your letter requesting cancellation of your order was received only this morning, otherwise this order would have been delivered today.)


Commas may be omitted after most conjunctive adverbs which introduce a second clause unless the conjunctive adverb stands alone.

We have added two more outlets; therefore we shall have to add  to our personnel.

When however is used as a conjunctive adverb, it is generally followed by a comma to indicate a natural pause which follows.

It looks as if business will continue to be good through out the rest of the year; however, we are being very conservative in our purchasing.

3. Use a semicolon to separate co-ordinate clauses when either or both clauses are punctuated by one or more commas.

We called you yesterday; but your associate, who happened to be in your office when we called, told us you were in Mandaluyong.

If you come by bus, you should arrive about four o'clock; if you took a taxi, you will arrive around noon.

4. A semicolon may be used before such  expression as namely, as, that is, for example, that is to say, for instance, and the abbreviations i.e., e.g.,viz., and so forth.

Whether these expressions are preceded by a comma, a semicolon, a dash, or a period depends upon the length and the grammatical dependence or independence of the clause that follows.

We shall attend, that is, if the party is Saturday night. (Here a comma is preferable before that is because the subordinate clause that follow is dependent upon the first clause We shall attend for significance.)

He should be given the job; that is, he has the necessary qualifications. (Since these clauses are co-ordinate and independent of each other grammatically, a semicolon before that is is preferable.

We are prepared to keep our end of the agreement; that is, we will  buy the property and the equipment for $10,000 provided we get the government contract. (A colon may be used before that is in this sentence since the following clause is co-ordinate and functions appositively with the first clause. A period likewise may have been used before that is.)


We ship to many Asian ports, for example, China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.


I believe he possesses the knowledge; that is to say, he has the training, the experience, the judgment, and the necessary good sense which will insure his success on the job.


5. The semicolon is usually placed after the end quotation marks.

The letter read: "Television and DVD player cannot be shipped before Friday"; consequently we had to disappoint our customer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Correct Use of Comma - Continued

7. Use commas before and after words in apposition. Words which explain a preceding noun are called appositives.

Ms. Petillo, our office receptionist, will be happy to help you.


An appositive at the end of a sentence is preceded by a comma.

We invited Mr. Corpuz, our biggest advertiser.


Closely related appositives or appositives referred to as words or as expressions are not set off by commas. Such words or expressions are placed in quotation marks or underscored. Material that is underscored in longhand writing or in typewriting is subsequently italicized in printing.

The word credit is often misunderstood.

The phrase wish to advise is trite and colorless.


Such titles as Jr., Sr., and Esq. are treated as appositives.

Mr. Armando P. Salazar, Jr., is our Manager.

Ramon A. Cuba, Esq., is our lawyer.



8. Use commas to set off words in direct address.

We apologize, Mr. Nolasco, that we are unable to accept your offer.

Yes, Tom, I'd like you to start your first delivery now.


9. Use comma to introduce a short, informal quotation.

The customer said, "I believe this is my order."

Material directly quoted is always placed within quotation marks.

Commas and periods when used with quotation marks are always placed inside the quotation marks.

When the quotation is long or formal, a colon may be used.

Our letter read: "Shipment will be made during the week of March 12."


No comma is used after a question mark or after an exclamation point following a quotation.

"When do we close our books?" inquired one of our auditors.

"You've done a wonderful job!" exclaimed my team leader.

(Not: "You've done a wonderful job!", exclaimed my team leader.)


10. Use a comma after a direct quotation when such material introduces the sentence.

"Start tabulating these items," I said.


11. Use two commas when the quoted material is divided or interrupted by the words of the person delivering the quotation.

"Your success in this company," said Mr. Corpuz, "will rest upon your disposition for hard work."


12. Use a comma to set off words or phrases expressing contrast.

The factory workers, not the office staff, are on strike.


13. Use a comma to indicate the omission of a word.

The toy section is on the third floor; the gift section, on the ground floor.


14. Use a comma to separate repetitious words used for emphasis.

Up, up, up went the prices of gasoline.


15. Use a comma to set off addresses and dates.

The address of Elvert dela Rosa is 1980 Sunset Drive, Lakeside Hills, Pasig City.

Our company was started in Cubao, Quezon City, the 3rd day of May, 1972.


No punctuation is used if any one of these elements is used alone. Never place a comma

between the month and the day.

The first package was delivered to Bulacan March 15, 2010.

We shall shut down March 1 for two weeks for our annual vacation.


16. Use a comma between a statement and a short question bearing upon it.

Mr. Santos called, didn't he?

We mailed the documents, didn't we?



17. Use a comma between two identical words or sets of figures that come together.

I told you, you should go.

In 2009, 92 new branch offices were added to our list of outlets.



Some authorities recommend writing out one set of figures where there is likelihood of confusion.

Please send me six 24-inch rods immediately.



18. Use a comma after a mild interjection.

My, but our stocks are depleted.

Well, I didn't think we'd get such a large order.


19. Use the comma after inverted names in bibliographies and reference lists.

Sales, Carlo D.

Corpuz, Arturo F.



20. Use the comma to separate volume, chapter, and page references.

See Volume II, Chapter IV, page 5.



21. Use the comma to point off the thousands in figures of four digits or more, except in serial numbers, that is, year, telephone, house, page, and policy numbers.

7,348     62,597     2,564,356
(But: the year 1985; 412 Pioneer Street; page 782; policy 612414.)

Spaces rather than commas may serve to separate thousands in figures of four digits or more representing policy numbers.

794  862  380  or  B  1  A  907  621

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Correct Use of Comma

The comma indicates the weakest break in thought.

1. Use a comma after a dependent (or subordinate) clause, or participial phrase.

When the dependent clause (used adverbially) does not begin the sentence, the comma is usually unnecessary. All group of words introduced by conjunctions such as the following are dependent upon the principal or independent clause for their meaning and therefore come under this rule: because, as, if, although, when, after, as soon as.

Although we have had this money-back guarantee in effect for years, no product has ever been returned.

When you have finished your studies, you may go.

You may go when you have finished your homework.
(Here no comma is necessary because the subordinate clause follows the principal clause.)


Having completed my homework, I cleaned my desk and left the classroom.

Among industries producing finished products, the car industry ranks first in value of output.

If this bill is paid within ten days, you are entitled to a five percent discount.

All introductory if clauses are dependent clauses and should be followed by a comma.


2. Use a comma to separate a series of three or more co-ordinate nouns, adjectives, verbs, or adverbs. Short clauses and phrases as well as words may be co-ordinate provided they are equal in rank and used in the same construction.

(a) Commas are used to separate co-ordinate nouns.

Intelligence, industry, drive, and determination make for success in business.


(b) Commas used to separate co-ordinate adjectives.  Adjectives are co-ordinate if the word and can be inserted between them.

Honest, reliable, capable, and industrious employees are always in demand. (These adjectives could be separated by and rather than by commas and are therefore co-ordinative: Honest and reliable and capable . . . .)


(c) Commas used to separate co-ordinate verbs.

We plan, fabricate, erect, and sell our own portable houses.


(d) Commas used to separate co-ordinate adverbs.

Our business has earned a reputation for filling orders accurately, completely, and promptly.



(e) Commas use to separate co-ordinate phrases.

We carry a complete line of men's wear, leather shoes, belts, and accessories.



(f) Commas are used to separate three or more short co-ordinate clauses.

We write our own copy, we prepare our own designs, and we plan our entire sales promotional programs.



Do not use a comma after the last noun in a series.

Steel, chrome, rubber, and lead are rather scarce at present.
( Not: Steel, chrome, rubber and lead, are rather scarce at present.)

Never separate the subject from the predicate by a comma!


Do not use a comma before and  introducing the last member of the series if the last two units are to be treated as one.

We rebuild, overhaul, clean and service all types of engines.
(Here no comma is placed before and because the writer considers cleaning and servicing the engine as one integral job.)


Do not use comma when the co-ordinate series consists of two elements only. In other words, do not use comma in compound elements.

The order was received and shipped out the same day. (Not: The order was received, and shipped out the same day.)


3. Use the comma to separate two or more co-ordinate clauses joined by one of the co-ordinating conjunctions and, but, or, nor, for, and the like. If the clauses are short and closely related, a comma is unnecessary.

You may pay cash, or you may open a charge account, if you like.


One half of the corrugated fiber boards will arrive tomorrow, and the rest of the shipment will be delivered on the 10th.

I rang and Miss Castillo answered. (No comma is necessary.)


Do not use a comma after a conjunction unless a parenthetical elements follow.

The carpet will be washed today, but they will not be dry for at least a week. (Not: The rugs will be washed today, but, they will not be dry for at least a week.)

Correct: The costumer selected a laptop, and, believe me, paid for it one hundred bills.

4. Use the comma after such introductory expression as yes, well, no, certainly, indeed, surely, and so forth.

Yes, we shall be glad to send you a blank application.


Surely, you do not have to wait for me.



No comma is needed if a definite time, place, cause, or the like, is indicated.

During the first quarter of the year our sales rose 25 percent.

On the ground floor of the mall you will find neckties, shirts, and belts.


5. Use the comma to set off a nonrestrictive phrase or clause.

In any event, the tables will be delivered before Saturday.


These items, which we have imported, are slightly more expensive than the local merchandise.

Ms. Morilla who has been with us for nearly twenty years, is our store manager.



Restrictive phrases and clauses should not be set off by commas.

The man standing by the first limousine is our fleet manager.

The  secretaries who serve our executives dictate their own letters.


Our plant that is located on the second street is now used for storage.


The meaning of a sentence may be changed by the omission or addition of commas.

Restrictive: Philippine banks which have never failed guarantee the full safety of your investment. (Here the writer states that only banks that have never failed make the guarantee. He excludes all that have failed.)

Nonrestrictive or explanatory: Philippine banks, which have never failed, guarantee the full safety  of your investment. (In this sentence, the writer makes a general statement about all Philippine banks - they have never failed.)


6. Use commas to set off parenthetical words, phrases, or clauses when the degree of separation is not great enough to require parentheses or dashes:

indeed, also, finally, still, too, again, and so forth.

It is, indeed, a pleasure to meet you.

Our losses from physical damage to shipments are lower, also.


(b) Set off phrases such as in fact, in the first place, in brief, no doubt, in case, of course, and the like:

I cannot promise, of course, that we can deliver before the vacation period.

We have, in the first place, been told that there will be no wage increase.



(c) Set off clauses such as that is, he says, I believe, she thinks, and so forth:

The price of that television, I believe, is four thousand pesos.

The figurine, the customer says, was broken when it arrived.


Commas are frequently omitted before and after short parenthetical elements such as are mentioned in (a) and (c) whenever they do not require a pause while reading. Therefore, do not assume that an expression is not parenthetical because it is not set off by commas.

Miss Ricafrente is an agent who I believe will make a capable team leader. (Here I believe is parenthetical, but is not set off by commas. Incidentally, if who is not recognized as the subject of will make a capable team leader, it might be erroneously regarded as the object of the parenthetical clause, I believe.)

Use commas only when they are essential to clearness and understanding.

We shall continue the study of the correct use of Comma in my next blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Correct Use of Period, Question Mark, and Exclamation Point

 End-line punctuation marks

The period, the question mark, and exclamation point are "end-line" punctuation marks. In the study of punctuation, some of the rules in this blog are not absolute. The main rules are well defined and fixed, but there is considerable variety of usage in details among writers. However, consistency in punctuation is certainly advisable.

THE PERIOD

1. Use a period after a declarative or imperative sentence.

Declarative: I am sending you all the documents as you requested.
Imperative: Send the documents to our branch office.


A declarative or imperative sentence that is also exclamatory may be followed by an exclamation point instead of a period to give emphasis.

Send the documents to our branch office immediately!


2. Use a period after most abbreviations and initials, particularly initials of proper names.

J. R. Cruz
LL.D.
(Doctor of Laws)
Mr., Mrs., Ms., Mmes., Messrs. 
R.S.V.P.
(Please reply);
Jan.
(January); Feb (February);
i.e.
(that is); etc. (and so forth);
e.g.
(for example); viz. (namely); pp. (pages)


Commas are usually placed before and after that is, for example, namely, or their abbreviations i.e., e.g., and viz.

Our company has established a sizable market, i.e., Japan, China, and Singapore.


It is preferable to write out the names of the months of the year, although certain informal situations allow for abbreviation. However, never abbreviate the following months: May, June, and July.

There is a growing tendency to omit the period after many initials which consist of all capital letters written solidly. In many instances, either form is correct.

USA or U.S.A. (United States of America)
CPA or C.P.A. (Certified Public Accountant)

Abbreviations consisting of small letters are usually typed solidly with a period after each letter.

We have cancelled all c.o.d. orders.

Please send the documents a.s.a.p.


3. Use a period before a decimal, to separate dollars and cents, and to precede cents written alone.

$ 1.99     $ .50     $ .05


Do not use a period and ciphers when an amount in even dollars is expressed in figures.

This computer costs $500 complete with peripherals. (Not $500. or $500.00)


4. Use the period repeated three times to indicate the omission of words from a quoted passage.

The statement read: " We cannot . . . until after the matter has been resolved."


5. Use the period repeated four times at the end of a sentence taken from a quoted passage to indicate omission of words.

The clause in the contract of damage or loss specifically reads as follows: "In the event that the damage or loss takes place in transit, the consignee will notify the insurer immediately . . . . "



Period faults

1. Do not use two periods when a declarative sentence ends with an abbreviation.

We are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We are located at Cubao, Q.C.



If the sentence is interrogative or exclamatory, a question mark or exclamation point follows the abbreviation period.

Will you be sending our orders c.o.d.?


Inside the sentence the abbreviation period is followed by such punctuation as would logically be used regardless of the period.

The price of pork is $5 a kg., whereas the allowed price is $4.50 a kilo.


2. Do not use a period after the Miss.

Miss Reyes is our store manager.


3. Do not use a period between a main clause and a subordinate clause.

Wrong: We shall ship the package on March 8. Unless a strike occurs.

Here the subordinate clause, unless a strike occurs functions adverbially modifying the verb phrase shall ship. Hence the subordinate clause cannot stand alone.


4. Do not use a period after headings, (or titles), and signatures.

Manila Computer Academy

Very truly yours,

Luis B. Martires



QUESTION MARK

1. Use the question mark (interrogation mark) after a direct question and after a series of questions.

When will you be able to report for work?

Did he acknowledge our letters? Our repeated reminders? Our phone calls?


A courteous request by letter writers expressed in the form of a question takes a period, not a question mark.

May we have your response within the next ten days.


2. Use the question mark after statements of questionable truth.

The payment was for $1,258.67 (?).

In June (?) of 2010, we called on the Manila plant.


Do not use question mark to suggest humor or irony.

His friendly (?) gesture caught my attention.


3. Use the question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence which concludes with an abbreviation followed by a period.

Will we send this package to your residence at Fairview, Q.C.?


4. When used with quoted material, the question mark is placed inside the quotation marks if it belongs to the quotation; otherwise it is placed outside the quotation marks.

I said, "Has he the payment?" (Here the question mark refers only to the quoted material.)

Did the store manager say to the customer, "Please give the names of two references with whom you already have a charge account"? (Here the question mark refers to the entire sentence.)


EXCLAMATION MARK

1. The exclamation mark is used after an ejaculation or expression of strong emotion.

Wait! Don't release that shipment just yet!


2. The exclamation mark is often used after a newspaper headline.

BIG QUAKE KILLED THOUSANDS!


3. When used with quoted material, the exclamation mark (like the question mark) is placed inside the quotation marks if it belongs to the quotation; otherwise it is placed outside the quotation marks.

Then she remarked. "You may have until the 17th to pay this bill - not a day longer!"

In the above sentence, the exclamation mark refers only to the quoted material.


Don't put us off with that lame excuse, "I forgot"! (Here the exclamation mark refers to the entire sentence.)

In my next blog, we will study the correct use of Comma.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Letter of Resignation


There are many reasons why a person resigns from his present position; to seek green pastures, or ill health. But whatever the reason, such resignation should be written rather than verbal. The letter should state the reason for resigning, a note of appreciation, or regret, or both, and a definite date when the resignation will take effect.


Consider the following examples:

Gentlemen:

Please consider this letter my resignation from the company which will take effect at the closing business hours of June 30, 2010.

The Asian Institute of Accountancy has offered me a teaching position I was unable to refuse.  Considering my chief interest lies in the field of teaching Accountancy, I have decided to take up the offer.

Let me take this occasion to thank the officers and staff of the company for the generous support and good camaraderie accorded to me during the entire seven years I have been with the company.

Sincerely yours, 




The idea is to keep the letter brief, straight forward, but sincere. Below is another example:


Gentlemen:

It is with much reluctance and deep regret that I am tendering my resignation from the company as President due to ill health which has recently prevented me from performing my duties and responsibilities in a manner satisfactory to me and to the company.

I am very thankful for the trust and confidence the board of directors has shown to me in the many years of service with the company. It is, therefore, extremely difficult for me to request that you accept my resignation immediately upon the presentation of this letter at your next month's board meeting.

Sincerely yours,


In my succeeding blogs, I shall take up the proper use of punctuations and correct grammar in writing letters. Sad to say, many of our potentially good writers today fail in these aspects, and, I am sure you will find these topics which will be discussed at length, however boring, useful in enhancing your writing skills.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Letter of Recommendation

The purpose of the letter of recommendation is to give a prospective employer pertinent information about the applicant's qualification, character and general conduct. The letter should be a straightforward, factual and specific evaluation or appraisal of the applicant. Most letters of recommendation fall into two classes: general letters and personal letters. The classification largely depends on the type of questions asked by the prospective employer. Should these questions be rather general, the answer will naturally be of a general nature. On the other hand, should the prospective employer ask specific questions, then the response should concern itself with direct answers.

The letter should be directed to the attention of some particular person, giving a detailed account of the applicant's qualifications and character. "To Whom It May Concern" letters are vague, general and highly impersonal, and therefore should be avoided except in those cases where it is practically impossible to obtain the specific name of the addressee.

Here is a sample of a letter of recommendation:

C. B. Armwhite (Surveyors), Inc.
7th Floor, Mariner's Building
Ayala Avenue, Makati City


January 8, 2011



Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


Attention: Mr. Juan Gabriel, HRD Manager

Gentlemen:

Mr. Jose R. Cruz joined our Company in November 3, 2007. He was initially assigned to our accounting department in view of his background in auditing, and served us as one of  our senior accountants for almost a year. During this time, we found his work highly satisfactory.

On September 15, 2007, he was assigned to our Marine department, and assumed the position of marine surveyor. This position has imposed upon him added burdens and responsibilities which he has undertaken in a most commendable manner. Shortly thereafter, and as a reward for the efficient manner in which he fulfilled his duties, we promoted him to the position of Supervisor of our Marine department, a position he held until his resignation in December 31, 2010.

Mr. Cruz is a man of unusual ability and energy. He has proven himself to be capable of any task assigned to him with commendable results. He is well-mannered and is well liked by his associates. For the past years we have hoped that we might advance Mr. Cruz again, but the conditions have been such that we find ourselves unable to do this. However, because we believe Mr. Cruz is deserving of a promotion, we do not hesitate to recommend him for the position of Marine Manager in you company. Our only regret is that we cannot offer him a comparable position within our own company at this time.

Very truly yours,



Miel Castillo
Marine Manager

MC:th

Friday, April 8, 2011

Letter of Reference

Most employers require an applicant to submit a list of references of three or more persons in order to obtain information concerning his qualification, experience and character. The letter is usually brief, specific and courteous.

Below is a sample of a letter of reference:


Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


January 7, 2011



C. B. Armwhite (Surveyors), Inc.
7th Floor, Mariner's Building
Ayala Avenue, Makati City


Attention: Ms. Miel Castillo, Marine Manager

Gentlemen:

Mr. Jose R. Cruz has applied for a position in the Marine Hull and Cargo Department of this Company, and has given your name as a personal reference.

We shall appreciate any information you can give us regarding Mr. Cruz's character and ability as a Supervisor while he was employed with your company.

We assure you that any such information will be held strictly confidential.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,




Juan Gabriel
HRD Manager

JG:db

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Appointment Letter

An appointment letter is basically an employment agreement or contract between the hired applicant and the employer. It is prepared by the hiring employer and it usually contains the appointment and commencement of employment, the terms and conditions, the duties and responsibilities of the position, including benefits and salary.

Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


January 14, 2011

EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT

Dear Mr. Cruz:

This will formally confirm your appointment as Marine Manager of the Marine and Hull department of Manila Survey Company, Inc., effective January 15, 2011, subject to the following terms and conditions:

 
Position and Function

You will assume the function of Marine Manager and will be responsible and accountable to the Vice President of Marine Operations.

Your responsibilities are as follows:

1. To assist in the daily conduct of business of the Marine and Hull department;

2. To ensure that the arrival of all new assigned shipments are properly verified and reported immediately to the Vice President of Marine Operations;

3. To ensure that the schedule of deliveries of discharged cargoes from brokers are met on time, and that all cargoes are escorted by our cargo superintendents/surveyors assigned to the case from the port of arrival up to its final place of destination;

4. To coordinate effectively the proper attendances of assigned shipments;

5. To report immediately to the Vice President of Marine Operations any problem, issue or concern in the operation;

6. To assist in the preparation of survey reports to insurers regarding escorted and/or surveyed shipments;

7.To perform such other task that the company may assign from time to time.

 
Compensation

As we have discussed, your compensation will be at the rate of Php 27,000.00 per month payable every 15th and 30th of each month. Should you, however, incur tardiness, the same will be recorded, summed up, deducted/applied against your salary every payday.

 
Probationary Period

Company policy provides a probationary period of six (6) months to its casual employees.  However, if the company finds your performance satisfactory and up to company standards, we shall, even before the completion of your probationary period, promote you to a regular employee status with  the corresponding increase in salary depending on your performance and subject to the company's evaluation.

 
Effectivity

Your appointment/employment will begin January 15, 2011. Please take note of the official hours of the company which is from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Mondays through Fridays.

If you agree with the above terms and conditions of employment, you may sign below and return one copy to indicate your acceptance of this appointment.

Very truly yours,



Juan Gabriel
HRD Manager



CONFORME:

I accept the appointment and agree to the foregoing terms and conditions.



Jose Revilla Cruz
Date:
TIN:
SSS:






cc: Mr. Thomas Hill
      Accounting
      201 File

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Letter of Acceptance

In many cases, it is customary for an applicant to accept in writing a position that has been offered him. It is not only courteous, appreciative gesture, but it also completes the contract.

Below is a sample of such a letter:

1574 Maganda Street
Greenfields Subdivision
Antipolo City

January 12, 2011



Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


Attention: Mr. Juan Gabriel, HRD Manager

Gentlemen:

I am very pleased to accept, and thank you for your offer of a position of Marine Manager in your department. I consider it a great privilege to be serving a company known for its integrity and competence in the field of marine survey. Im very certain that joining the company will further enhance my knowledge and expertise in the management of marine cases and treatment of claims.

As my official date of hire begins on January 15th, I am looking forward with much anticipation to report for work to this date.

Very truly yours,



Jose Revilla Cruz



Given the sample above, and from the point of view of the employer, I would have responded to it as follows:


Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


January 14, 2011



Jose Revilla Cruz
1574 Maganda Street
Greenfields Subdivision
Antipolo City


Dear Mr. Cruz,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Marine Hull and Cargo department of Manila Survey Company, Inc. I am sure you will find numerous opportunities working with us. We all work hard but, most important, we work together and enjoy a special sense of fellowship.

Should you have any question or anything to discuss, please feel free to approach me or anyone of the staff.

Attached is you Appointment Paper.

Congratulations and best regards.

Sincerely,



Juan Gabriel
HRD Manager

JG:db

Enclosure

cc: Mr. Thomas Hill
      201 File

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Thank you" Letter

A "thank you" letter has a definite psychological value and usually creates a favorable impression in the mind of the employer. It is human nature for an employer to favor the individual who takes the time and effort to express appreciation for the interview. Such letter must be brief and straightforward, and should be timed to reach the interviewer's desk the day following the interview.

Below is a sample:


1574 Maganda Street
Greenfields Subdivision
Antipolo City

January 10, 2011



Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


Attention: Mr. Juan Gabriel, HRD Manager

Dear Mr. Gabriel:

Thank you for the kind consideration you have given my application during the interview of January 9, 2011. It gave me the opportunity to present my qualifications, and make an outline of those additional information not covered by my resume. I appreciate the warmth extended to me, and your candidness in making me at ease during the interview.

Very truly yours,



Jose Revilla Cruz

Monday, April 4, 2011

Follow-up Letter

There are times when a follow-up to your application is necessary to obtain the position you applied for, particularly if you have not received any response from the prospective employer for quite sometime. In such cases, rather than remain idle and await word of the interview, you may write an application follow-up. The letter should be brief, courteous and straightforward. Most employers admire determination and persistence, and favor those individuals who show a definiteness of purpose - a wholehearted interest in a particular position.

Here is a sample of a follow-up letter:


1574 Maganda Street
Greenfields Subdivision
Antipolo City

January 8, 2011



Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


Attention: Mr. Juan Gabriel, HRD Manager

Gentlemen:

I refer to my application of January 5, 2011 for a Marine Manager position with your company, which was in response to your advertisement in the Classified Ads section of the Manila Today, dated January 3, 2011.

In the letter, I have enclosed my resume which outlined my personal information and employment-related history, along with copies of my college Diploma, Transcript of Records, and Certificates of Attendance to seminars for your reference.

Should you require additional documents in support of my application, or an interview, please do let me know. I can be contacted anytime at telephone numbers, 695-4123, or at the address indicated above.

Thank you in anticipation.

Very truly yours,



Jose Revilla Cruz

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Resume

Here is a sample of a resume with a covering letter of application:


January 5, 2011



Manila Survey Company, Inc.
7th Floor, Manila Builder's Center Building
6981 Ayala Avenue, Makati City


Attention:
Mr. Juan Gabriel, HRD Manager


Gentlemen:

Please consider this letter my application for a Marine Manager as advertised in the Classified Ads section of the Manila Today, dated January 3, 2011.

Enclosed are my resume which outlines my personal information and employment-related history, along with my college Diploma, Transcript of Records, and Certificates of Attendance to seminars for your reference.

Should you require an interview, I may be contacted anytime at telephone numbers, 695-4123, or at the address indicated in my enclosed resume.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,



Jose Revilla Cruz

Enclosures

R E S U M E


Jose Revilla Cruz
1574 Maganda Street
Greenfields Subdivision
Antipolo City
Residence 695-4123
Mobile 0917-3214596
E-mail joecruz@yahoo.com


PROFILE

A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, major in Accounting from the University of the East, Manila, 2004.


EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

Supervisor - Marine Cargo Department
November 3, 2007 to December 31, 2010
C. B. Armwhite (Surveyors), Inc.
7th Floor, Mariner's Building
Ayala Avenue, Makati City

Marine Cargo Surveyor
March 15, 2005 to October 30, 2007
Bordaje Marine Surveyors, Inc.
2nd Floor, Business Center
Legaspi Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Auditor
March 15, 2004 to  March 5, 2005
ACE Auditing, Inc.
18th Floor, Palanca Towers
Palanca Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City

 
In March 15, 2004, I joined ACE Auditing, Inc. as an Auditor where I did examination of the books and other financial records of clients, such as corporations, partnerships, proprietorships, institutions, public bodies, including person or group of persons standing in a fiduciary capacity. It was my responsibility to determine the financial statements of the client fairly, reflecting the results of operations over a designated period of time and the financial position of the client at the end of that period; express a written, responsible opinion as to the fairness of the financial statements in conformity with generally accepted principles of accounting, consistently applied. During this time, however, and in one of my auditing assignments, I had the chance to audit Bordaje Marine Surveyors, Inc., a company engaged in the handling of marine and cargo surveys for insurance companies, shipping companies, and consignees, where I was offered, and consequently took the position of a marine and cargo surveyor in March 15, 2005.

While the job as a marine and cargo surveyor was a complete departure from my usual field of expertise in accounting, I found my new post exciting and
professionally challenging. Here, I was entrusted by the company and given much latitude in the formulation of new policies geared towards the development and success of the business of the company, apart from my usual duties of attending marine cases and preparation of survey reports. During my tenure, I also attended several company sponsored seminars which further enhanced my knowledge and expertise in marine and cargo surveys.

Having gained much expertise in the field, and creditable reputation in the handling of complicated and, at times, controversial cases, C. B. Armwhite (Surveyors), Inc. offered a similar job, but, in a supervisory capacity.

In November 3, 2007, I assumed the position of a supervisor in the marine department, where I was tasked to assist the manager to oversee the daily business operation of the department; ensure that all marine cases assigned to my section were attended immediately, and that clients were advised of the development of the cases. The company also gave me the opportunity to join organizations related to my field which allowed me to meet respected personalities in the marine industry. I held the position until my resignation from the company in December 31, 2010.


SEMINARS ATTENDED

Marine Survey

General Cargo and Hull Survey - January 10 to 15, 2008
Marine Claims and Adjustment - April 4, 2008
Insurance Principles and Underwriting - February 8 to 11, 2009

Accounting

Auditing Principles and Case Problems - October 8 to 10, 2004
Investment in Securities -  November 16, 2004


MEMBERSHIP IN ORGANIZATION


Association of Philippine Marine Companies, Representative
Society of Filipino Marine Surveyors, Treasurer
Association of Philippine Auditors, Member
Makati Jaycees, Commissioner for Publications


REFERENCES

I am permitted to refer you to :

Ms. Miel Castillo, Marine Manager
C. B. Armwhite (Surveyors), Inc.
7th Floor, Mariner's Building
Ayala Avenue, Makati City
895-4112

Mr. Celistino Agudo, Senior Auditor
ACE Auditing, Inc.
18th Floor, Palanca Towers
Palanca Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
895-6368

Mr. Arturo Fortin, President
Society of Filipino Marine Surveyors
28th Floor, UFG Center Building
6947 Ayala Avenue, Makati City
895-5721


Respectfully submitted,


JOSE R. CRUZ
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