Tuesday, November 29, 2016

7 Practical Tips on How to Start a Conversation

You’re probably not as good at starting conversations as you think you are.

And if, after reading that statement, you’re thinking Nuh-uh! I rock at starting conversations! there’s an even better chance you need the advice in this article.

Last night, I went to a blues concert with my friend. After the concert, we bumped into two of his acquaintances. The first, Mindy, approached us and said hello, but then stood there passively waiting for someone else to say something.

Monday, November 28, 2016


The period, called a full stop in British English, is one of the first punctuation marks we learn about when we begin reading and writing. Compared to commas or semicolons, the rules for using periods are blessedly simple.

What Does a Period Do?

The most common use of the period is, of course, to end a declarative sentence. Interrogative sentences (questions) end with a question mark.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Do You Capitalize the Names of Countries, Nationalities, and Languages?

You should capitalize the names of countries, nationalities, and languages because they are proper nouns—English nouns that are always capitalized.

Consider the following sentences and pay attention to the capitalized nouns:

English is made up of many languages, including Latin, German, and French.

My mother is British, and my father is Dutch.

The Mennonites began to worship in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

10 Common Interview Questions You Need to Know

You landed an interview! It feels great knowing that a hiring manager from a company you’re interested in working for is also interested in you. But now the pressure’s on—you’ve got to rock the interview.

Here are some of the most common interview questions, and our advice for the best way to answer them.

1Tell me about yourself.

This question is among the first that most interviewers ask, so it’s tempting to jump right in and start listing off all the qualities that make you the best person for the job.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Grammar Basics: What Is Subject-Verb Agreement?

In English, subject-verb agreement is important. What this means is that the characteristics of the subject should be reflected in the verb. For example, if a subject is a singular, the verb form must also be singular.

She see you.
She sees you.

Likewise, if a subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.

We sees you.
We see you.

Unlike in other languages that require that subject and verb agree in both number and gender, English verbs are not conjugated for gender and so require only that they match in number.

Friday, November 18, 2016

14 Career Development Books That Will Help You Reach Your Goals

Do you need a hand? These fourteen career development books will show you how you can move your job goals in the right direction.

The Classics

People who get stuff done share at least seven common traits. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, you’ll learn what the seven practices are and how you can acquire them.

Though ruling a nation might not be your career goal, you can glean a lot of wisdom from The Emperor’s Handbook, a translation of Meditations written by Marcus Aurelius, which includes some “unique features for contemporary readers.”

5 Tips for Writing an Amazing Thank-you Card

If you want to let someone know how much you appreciate what they’ve done for you or what they’ve given you, the classic way—writing a thank-you card—is still the best, the classiest, and the most appreciated way of expressing gratitude. Lest you forget this, there’s always National Card Reading Day to remind us how fulfilling it is to receive a thank-you card, and how respectful it is to send them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

8 Great Hanukkah Reads

Hanukkah, if you didn’t already know, is a Jewish holiday that begins on the twenty-fifth of the Jewish month Kislev and lasts for eight days. It’s a winter holiday, and because Jewish months don’t correspond perfectly to the Gregorian calendar months, Hanukkah can fall in November, December, or even stretch into January. This year, it begins at sunset on December 24 and lasts until nightfall on January 1.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Essentials of Cover Letter Format

Which applicants have a higher chance of being called in for an interview—those who submit an interest-arousing cover letter or those whose cover letters are generic? The answer is obvious, but each day recruiters receive hundreds of lackluster letters. One reason is that sometimes candidates just don’t know where to start or how to compose a good letter. Let’s look at the best practices for writing cover letters—one section at a time.

Friday, November 11, 2016

What Is the Oxford Comma and Why Do People Care So Much About It?

The Oxford (or serial) comma is the final comma in a list of things. For example:

Please bring me a pencil, eraser, and notebook.

The Oxford comma comes right after eraser.

Use of the Oxford comma is stylistic, meaning that some style guides demand its use while others don’t. AP Style—the style guide that newspaper reporters adhere to—does not require the use of the Oxford comma.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Be Specific! How to Get to the Point in Everything You Write

You want your writing to have a clear message. You want it to be easy to read and reach more people.

But your pieces aren’t getting a lot of engagement, and your readers are confused about your main points. You’re having to verbally explain to people what you wrote, and you’re getting fewer and fewer responses to your novel-length emails.

Maybe you were aiming for your next writing piece to be strong, effective, and easy to understand . . .

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

4 Ways to Find Writing Inspiration and Finish Your Work

Just a page. Just a paragraph. Just a word.

When you have a case of writer’s block, you’d take anything, any progress to get the creative juices flowing again. But it can seem like the well’s run dry.

Overcoming a creative block is a process. Sometimes the fog suddenly lifts, but more likely you will have to work until the sun shines again. It will take some willpower. Part of that process is understanding what causes writer’s block and the scientific ways it can be improved.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pronoun Reference Rules

Pronouns are words that stand in for a noun in a sentence. Whenever pronouns are used, it should be unmistakably clear which noun the pronoun is standing in for. A faulty pronoun reference will result in a muddled sentence and a confused reader.

A pronoun is like an actor’s double on a movie set: it is a simplified version of the noun it is standing in for.

The mother called the daughter.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

9 Workflow Strategies That Will Make You a Faster Writer

Whether writing is your livelihood or your side hustle, being able to produce content quickly is a skill you’ll never regret developing. And not only will a solid process help you write faster, it will ease editing frustrations by making your draft more organized from the start.

I write all day, every day, and although I’ll never be the fastest writer in the world, I’ve had to make some serious adjustments to my own process in order to get things done and meet my deadlines.