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  • drdianehamilton 7:14 am on May 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alliteration, Arts, Chats and Forums, , , Infinitive, Metaphor, Participle, ,   

    How to Write Good 

    Even the best writers make mistakes.  Some common issues include alliteration, split infinitives, and mixed metaphors. Check out a fun list of writing mistakes created by Frank Visco (VP and Senior Copywriter at USAdvertising):

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  • drdianehamilton 9:10 am on December 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arts, , Capitalizing, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Words to Capitalize in a Title 

    Bloggers and other writers may experience confusion as to which words should be capitalized in a title of an article.  I sometimes capitalize all words so that I do not have to look up the rules.  But it is good form to learn how to write correctly.  The following rules apply to capitalizing titles:

    • Always capitalize the first as last words of the title as well as verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns and pronouns.
    • Consistently capitalize or do not capitalize conjunctions (examples:  but, for, and) or prepositions (examples: words that show a relationship between the noun/pronounce with another word – example:  from, over, around, about, before, behind) with five or more letters.  Older rules required no capitalization and newer rules require capitalization if words contain five letters or more. Exception: If the word is the last word or the first word in a title, then it should be capitalized.
    • Do not capitalize articles (example: a, an, the), prepositions (see examples above), conjunctions (see examples above) with four letters or fewer, and the particle “to” used with an infinitive (example: to do; to be).  Exception: If the word is the last word or the first word in a title, then it should be capitalized.

     

    Never have your title all in CAPITALIZED LETTERS because this is not only incorrect, it is considered yelling. 

     

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    • MegansBeadedDesigns 9:20 am on December 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the tips!

      I frequently write specific words in all-caps, for a comically dramatic emphasis.

      That’s what I love about blogging, it’s a looser form of writing and it’s okay to mess up now and again. (For me anyway.)

      • drdianehamilton 9:25 am on December 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Megan,

        I think going for drama is OK. I’ve done that. Also . . . I make all kinds of mistakes (sometimes on purpose). I agree that blogging is more loose. I think there are those that want to know the rules though so I hope this helps. Thanks for the response. 🙂

        Diane

  • drdianehamilton 3:28 pm on June 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arts, , , , , , , Kraft, National Football League, Nepotism, Rupert Murdoch, Walton   

    Nepotism: Consequences Good and Bad 

    Nepotism may be frowned on in some companies, but that is not to say that some very famous people have been helped by it.  In Latin, nepotis means nephew.  Nepotism is now more broadly defined as:  When someone gives favoritism to a relative without necessarily basing it on their abilities or merit. 

    Accountingdegree.com had a very interesting article recently titled:  10 Famous Businesspeople Who Benefitted from Nepotism.  This list contained some very recognizable last names including:  Forbes, Trump, Hilfiger, Kraft and Walton.  The article pointed out the hypocrisy that may exist in terms of when nepotism is considered alright.  “At the blue collar level, when friends hire friends or a father expects his children to join the family business, we often believe it’s a sign of strong family values, not unethical or slimy business. But at the executive level — where millions and billions of dollars can be earned — favors are made in secret. It might be tempting to help your children or siblings get a great job, but in the public eye, it’s shameful.”

    Viewshound recently wrote about whether nepotism is an unfair advantage or a sensible employment strategy.  Whether it was a sensible strategy or unfair practice is something that will be debated in the current lawsuit where Murdoch News Corporation is being sued by its shareholders for buying the chairman Rupert Murdoch’s daughter’s business for $675 million.  According to the Huffington Post, “The lawsuit seeks damages and a declaration the board breached their fiduciary duty to shareholders.”

     
  • drdianehamilton 11:39 pm on May 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arts, Blog Talk Radio, , , Internet radio, Monster Jobs, , , , , , , Sound Files, Streaming   

    How to Teach Online Classes 

    I’m testing doing some radio podcasts.  This initial show has issues with the music in the first few seconds but it is just a test . . . Anyone interested in learning how to teach online courses may want to listen to this for helpful information though. Click on the picture to hear the podcast or click here.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf

    Listen to internet radio with DianeHamilton on Blog Talk Radio
     
  • drdianehamilton 2:04 pm on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arts, , , , , Sentences, , Topic sentence, ,   

    Bloggers and Social Media Junkies: 5 Tips to Improve Your Writing 

    Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  What are some things I can do to improve my blogging and writing skills?

    The Internet has turned lot of people into writers.  Bloggers and social media junkies may have great ideas to share but may lack some writing skills that could help improve the message they want to convey.  I know I make a lot of mistakes when I write.  I try not to, but when you blog as much as I do, it is inevitable.  I never intended to be a writer.  However, I found that I liked sharing information, so writing became a means to an end.  When I write my books, I use a professional editor.  Not all of us can be editing experts. It could be very expensive and inconvenient to have to use an editor for every blog and social media posting.  However, there are some simple things that can help to improve writing skills. 

    1.  Don’t End Sentences in Prepositions. The problem is that many people have no idea what a preposition is.  Susan Thurman, author of The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, claims there is a trick to helping recognize a preposition.  “Look at the last eight letters of the word preposition; they spell position.  A preposition sometimes tells the position of something:  in, out, under, over, above and so forth.”  My seventh grade teacher suggested we think about a box.  For example:  in the box, over the box, and so forth. The following are the most common prepositions according to Thurman.  Try to avoid ending a sentence with any of these words:

    • About
    • Above
    • Across
    • After
    • Against
    • Along
    • Among
    • Around
    • At
    • Before
    • Behind
    • Below
    • Beneath
    • Beside
    • Between
    • Beyond
    • But
    • By
    • Concerning
    • Despite
    • Down
    • During
    • Except
    • For
    • From
    • In
    • Inside
    • Into
    • Like
    • Of
    • Off
    • On
    • Onto
    • Out
    • Outside
    • Over
    • Past
    • Since
    • Through
    • Throughout
    • To
    • Toward
    • Under
    • Underneath
    • Until
    • Up
    • Upon
    • With
    • Within
    • Without

    2.   Learn to Spell without Spell Check. If you rely too much on a spell checker, you may find that words you meant to write are replaced with words that have entirely different meanings.  I can’t count how many times that a student has sent me a note saying to “please excuse the incontinence”.   It is best if you take the time to learn to spell correctly so that you don’t have to rely on a device that may change your intended meaning. The following are fifty of the most commonly misspelled words according to author Gary Provost of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing:

    • Acceptable
    • Apology
    • Appetite
    • Architect
    • Assassinate
    • Autumn
    • Calendar
    • Changeable
    • Conscious
    • Correspondence
    • Criticism
    • Deceive
    • Discernible
    • Embarrass
    • Eminent
    • Existence
    • Fascinate
    • Grateful
    • Hygiene
    • Imaginable
    • Immediately
    • Irrelevant
    • Jewelry
    • Judgment
    • Lovable
    • Miscellaneous
    • Mischievous
    • Mortgage
    • Necessarily
    • Occasionally
    • Occurrence
    • Omission
    • Orchestra
    • Potatoes
    • Professor
    • Pseudonym
    • Quarrelsome
    • Religious
    • Reservoir
    • Rhythmic
    • Scissors
    • Syllable
    • Tragedy
    • Umbrella
    • Vanilla
    • Vengeance
    • Weird
    • Wholesome
    • Youthful
    • Zealot

    3.  Vary your sentence length.  Some of my students like to write in either really long run-on sentences or overly short monotonous sentences.  Try to vary your sentence length.  Notice how the first sentence in this paragraph was longer and more complex.  That was followed by a shorter more succinct sentence.  It makes your writing easier to read if you vary the sentence length and mix it up a bit. 

    4.  Ask yourself some questions once you have finished your draft.  Does the initial paragraph let the reader know what your paper, blog or article is going to contain?  Do you have needless repetition of ideas?  Is your tone and tense consistent?  Does one paragraph advance to the next in a smooth fashion?  Does each of your paragraphs contain a topic sentence that conveys the thought you have developed throughout that paragraph? 

    5.  Work on expanding your vocabulary.  Rather than learning overly complicated words to express what you want to say, try varying the way that you say things by using a thesaurus.  If you are talking about a house, perhaps refer to that house as a dwelling or a building in the next sentence.  If you find that you are using the same word over and over, check out some alternatives words in a thesaurus to add dimension to your writing.

    I know I am guilty of making some of these mistakes.  Through practice, we can all improve our skills. 

     
  • drdianehamilton 2:48 pm on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arts, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    How to Respond Effectively in Online Discussions 

    Online college students often find that they are required to answer discussion questions in class.  With the popularity of texting and the lack of formality used when writing an email, many students are lacking the necessary skills to write an appropriate posting. 

    Online schools often require that postings are substantive.  In other words, the postings should be substantial and have sufficient content to answer questions in depth.  Students may be given guidelines or a minimum word count to guide them.  However, when responding to fellow students’ postings, there are usually not specific word count requirements.  Therefore, it is important for students to respond in a way that is not merely showing their agreement or disagreement with what is being discussed. 

    A good rule of thumb is to support what the student has said with at least one sentence. That doesn’t mean the student has to agree with the statement; they just have to support the fact that the student has made their point. 

    Then after supporting them, the student can disagree or agree with the topic at hand.  They should include several more sentences explaining their position on the topic.  They could give examples and cite sources.  

    A good way to end the discussion would be with a question that is either addressed to the original student or one that could be addressed to the class in order to bring more participants into the discussion.  

    It is extremely important that students write in complete sentences, use correct grammar, check spelling and punctuate correctly.  For additional help with writing skills, please check out the following links:

    Can Spell Check Make Things Worse?

    Top 15 Writing and Grammar Mistakes

    15 Ways to Improve Writing Skills

    10 Common Writing Mistakes

    Can Texting Damage Writing Skills?

     
  • drdianehamilton 11:43 am on February 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arts, , Business Schools, Comedy, , Groups, Improvisational, Improvisational theatre, Performing arts, Theatre   

    25 Improv Tricks to Help Become Business Savvy 

     

    For those looking for some advice about how to be a better business person, Business Schools Directory had some unique ideas taken from improv.  “At first glance, improv might seem like the direct opposite of the business world. It’s silly, raucous, and spontaneous. But improv actors are sharp professionals who have an incredible ability to pull from past dialogue, anticipate future scenes and relationships, and engage audiences in just moments.”

    To learn how to be more business savvy, based on tactics gained from improve actors, including how to introduce yourself, how to use your body, and more click here:  25 tricks that work on stage and may just work in the business world.

     
  • drdianehamilton 5:49 pm on January 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arts, Body Worlds, , Cropreservation, Cryogenics, , , , Plastination, , , Ted Williams   

    CryoPreservation: Having Your Brain Preserved After You Die 

    Ted Williams help to bring to light cryogenics and the procedure of freezing a human head.  While preserving parts of us after we die may seem bazaar, there may be some things we can learn from brain preservation. 

    According to the Brain Preservation Organization, “Due to a series of recent scientific developments, human beings may soon have an inexpensive and reliable way to preserve their brains, including the molecular features that give rise to their memories and identities, in room-temperature storage after they die. This technology is called plastination (chemopreservation), or chemical fixation and embedding in plastic, and is a distant cousin of the process seen in such exhibits as Body Worlds. Today, “perfect” plastination is routinely done for very small amounts of brain tissue (one millimeter cubed), and soon it will be attempted for whole animal and human brains. Cryopreservation (involving very low temperature storage) is another, more expensive process that also deserves to be carefully evaluated for its ability to preserve the critical structures of our brains. Today, leading-edge neuroscience is identifying the synaptic structures that store and generate our unique memories and identity, and new imaging techniques are allowing us to verify when these special structures have been successfully preserved, starting with general synaptic connectivity all the way to the signal states of individual brain proteins.”

    This organization is even offering a prize of $106,000 to those teams that can actually preserve a large animal brain.  Their hope is to preserve the human wisdom and diversity that dies with us along with our brains. 

    As one might guess, not everyone is thrilled with this idea.  For those with objections to such a project, this site has created a page for overcoming objections

    Their mission is to, “promote scientific research and services development in the field of whole brain preservation for long-term static storage. Through outreach to appropriate scientific communities, online activities, presentations and articles, directed research grants, challenge prizes, and other methods, we seek to explore the scientific hypothesis of whether a reliable surgical procedure exists that is capable of preserving the precise neural circuitry of the human brain at nanometer scale.”

    For those interested in reading more about cryopreservation, chemical preservation or scanning and circuit mapping click here for more information.

     
  • drdianehamilton 12:56 pm on December 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2001: a space odyssey, Arts, , H. G. Wells, , Roomba, Science fiction, Science Fiction Inventions, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation,   

    10 Sci-Fi Predicted Inventions That Actually Made it to Market 

     

    image via techvert.com

    It’s hard to look at my flip phone without thinking of the communications device on Star Trek.  There are many examples of inventions that used to be thought of as just science fiction that have now become a reality.  The flip phone is just one of them.  Here are some of my favorite inventions that came from science fiction:

    1. As mentioned, flip phones were very similar to the transporter on Star Trek.
    2. TV video phones have been seen in a lot of different movies and shows. Back to the Future featured these as well as a lot of other inventions that made it to market.  Click here to see the others.  Remember Marty’s cool shoe laces?  Yep. . . they have arrived.
    3. Earbud headphones were predicted in Fahrenheit 451.  Mashable has this example as well as many other very unusual things that have made it to market.  See that list of astounding prediction by clicking here.
    4. The Jetsons had a number of product predictions come to fruition.  One of those things is the tanning bed.  Check out a techvert.com article by clicking here to see a list of some more Jetsons inspired inventions.
    5. Remember the Jetsons’ robotic vacuum?  We now have the Roomba.
    6. Virtual reality was seen in many movies including Tron and the Matrix.  Cracked.com includes virtual reality on their list of seemingly awesome inventions that came to light in not so awesome ways. 
    7. Television surveillance was just a future possibility in Orwell’s 1984 classic.  Anyone who watches CSI knows that there are cameras keeping an eye on us from just about everywhere these days.
    8. Online Newspapers were shown in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  With RSS feeds, we can create our own online newspapers tailored to our unique interests.
    9. Credit Cards were envisioned in Edward Bellamy’s 1888 novel, Looking Backward.
    10. H. G. Wells wrote about automatic doors in his 1899 novel, The Sleeper.
     
    • Quint Magos 2:21 pm on December 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The future is always hidden from all those who wish to invest in it, which is why there are so many successful hedge funds around.

  • drdianehamilton 4:48 pm on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adweek, Arts, , Eleftheria Parpis, Food, , , Nielsen Company, , , , Seasonings, , Success of Old Spice,   

    Do you Like the Old Spice Ads? Of Course You Do! But Have They Been Profitable? 

    It’s hard not to like the new Old Spice ads. I have to admit, when I think of Old Spice, I think of an older product that was around when I was a kid and associate it with older men or as a kind of cheaper product you’d find at drug stores.  Since I teach a lot of marketing classes, I was curious to see how those very fun and popular ads are affecting the sales of Old Spice.

    As of July, Old Spice sales have increased 107%. 

     


     


     

    images via mashable.com

    In her new analysis of the Old Spice video push, Adweek’s Eleftheria Parpis has this summary: “According to Nielsen data provided by Old Spice, overall sales for Old Spice body-wash products are up 11 percent in the last 12 months; up 27 percent in the last six months; up 55 percent in the last three months; and in the last month, with two new TV spots and the online response videos, up a whopping 107 percent.”

    For some fun short Old Spice clips, check out this compilation put together by adweek.blog

    Also check out Mashable’s Top 10 Funniest Old Spice Guy Responses by clicking here.

     
    • K. H. 12:31 am on October 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I wonder what makes this kind of advertising so profitable? Same thing with the Stanley Steamer commercials. It seems that people appreciate the silly advertisements rather than the informative ones… =)

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