E-mail, Register, and Negative Messages Custom Paper

Topic Outline
1. Homework and Student Questions
2. Guidelines for Netiquette
3. Ethical, Legal, and Interpersonal Implications
4. E-mail Style and Register
5. E-mail Checklist and Sample Editing Practice
6. Writing Memos
7. Language Concerns: commas and ellipses
Assignment: Three Writing Tasks
Special Note: When submitting your #3 assignment, please attach the following three writing tasks as one file. Thank you.
1. Rewrite this e-mail sent to a co-worker so that it is in more formal register
2. Rewrite this ineffective memo as if you were Caterina to make this memo less snarky and judgmental. Keep your (Caterina?s) focus on your responsibilities as the committee chair for creating a new hiring protocol.
Background: The company that Caterina and Joan work for has been experiencing problems with their hiring practices. They are having problems hiring enough appropriately trained employees. Many people suspect that good candidates are being eliminated.
Current Situation: Caterina and Joan work for the same manufacturing company. Caterina, a senior engineer, is chairing a committee to investigate ways to improve the hiring practices at the company. Joan, a technical writer and editor, also serves on the committee
Note: The goal of this committee is to make a recommendation to management for improving the hiring protocol.
Here are some questions to think about when revising Caterina?s e-mail:
? How would you revise Caterina?s e-mail to make it more effective? Think about her tone and her content.
? What is her role as chair of the hiring protocol committee? How does this role affect what she should address in her e-mail? What should her focus be at this stage of the committee?s investigation into current and new hiring practices?
? Is she staying focused on her appropriate role as chair of the committee? Is she criticizing Joan ineffectively at this point?

Listen, Joan, you might be a sharp editor, but the rest of us have a different responsibility: to make products and move them out as soon as possible. We don?t have the luxury of studying documents to see if we can find errors. I suggest you concentrate on what you were hired to do, without imposing your ?standards? on the rest of us. COME ON!
3. Write a memo announcing the upcoming meeting.
Caterina has finished collecting the comments from the committee members about their approach to the company?s current hiring practice. She wants to call a meeting to discuss ways to improve the approach so that the company can hire a sufficient number of appropriately trained employees. Write a memo to committee members to announce the upcoming meeting. Remind the committee members to come prepared to discuss new, more effective strategies for hiring the best employees. Be sure to use an appropriate text organization and mention the length of the meeting, location, time, and agenda, etc.?all things that busy professionals need to know.
Guidelines for Netiquette
? Use an appropriate level of formality (register).

? Stick to business. Don?t send jokes or other non-business messages.
? Don?t waste bandwidth. Keep the message brief so that it doesn?t clog up the network or the recipient?s mailbox. When you reply to another e-mail, don?t quote long passages from it. Instead, establish the context of the original message by paraphrasing briefly or by including a short quotation from it. When you quote, delete the routing information from the top as well as the signature block at the bottom. Make sure that everyone who is to receive a copy of your e-mail really needs to read it.
? Take some care with your writing. Although e-mail is informal, messages shouldn?t be sloppy. Because text-editing functions on many e-mail systems are more limited that on a word processor, edit and proofread your e-mails before sending them.
? Don?t flame. To flame is to scorch a reader with scathing criticism, usually in response to something that person wrote in a previous message. Flaming is rude. When you are angry, keep your hands away from the keyboard.
? Use the subject line. Readers like to be able to decide whether they want to read the message. Therefore, write specific, accurate, and informative subject lines, as you would in a memo.
? Formatting
1. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use a block format. Don?t indent paragraphs.
2. Don?t write in FULL CAPS?unless you want to scream at the recipient.
3. Where appropriate in formal e-mails, use graphic highlighting. Headings, bullets, numbered lists, boldface, and italics improve readability and impart professionalism.
4. Use smiley faces and acronyms or abbreviations sparingly. Use these and other emoticons infrequently. Some people may not know the acronym you are using.
5. Close with a signature. Include the name of your company or department, your telephone number/fax number, or other contact information you think is relevant.
6. Limit your messages to a single screen if possible. Don?t force recipients to scroll needlessly.
? Don?t send huge or specially formatted attachments (or enclosures) without checking with the recipient. Also, if the recipient has a slow internet connection, downloading a long, complex attachment can take forever.
? Proofread for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. A mechanically correct message is always more credible that a sloppy one.
Ethical, Legal, and Interpersonal Implications
? Assume your e-mail is permanent and could be read by anyone at any time. Don?t write anything you couldn?t say face-to-face.
? Be aware that you are writing a potentially legal document that can be subpoenaed. For example, much of the antitrust case against Microsoft in the late 1990s was built on recovered e-mail messages in which Bill Gates and other executives chatted informally about aggressively competing with other companies.
? Think twice before making humorous remarks. What seems humorous to you may be offensive to others, including recipients from another country or culture. Any e-mail judged to be harassing or discriminatory brings immediate dismissal in many cases and may lead to legal action against the company as well as the guilty employee. Increasingly, harassment and discrimination cases hinge on evidence found in e-mails.
? Don?t use e-mail for confidential information. Avoid complaining, criticizing, or evaluating people, or anything that should be kept private, say, an employee reprimand.
? Don?t use the company e-mail network for personal correspondence or anything not related to work. Employers increasingly monitor their e-mail networks. Legally, any e-mail you send via the employer?s computer network belongs to the employer. So, your employer is within his/her rights to read your e-mail without your knowledge or permission.
E-mail and Register
Considering your audience and your reader?s expectations is as important in writing online as in writing on paper. E-mail is no longer just considered an informal means of communication. It may have begun as an informal, quick way to communicate, but now it is so widespread that it has many levels of formality (also known as registers) as printed documents do. E-mail messages can be businesslike and serious even when writers use contracted forms (isn?t, can?t) and a conversational tone. They can be formal and academic. Or they can be unedited and conversational, as with casual message to friends.
Note: Use slang, abbreviations, acronyms such as BTW, BCNU and sideways smileys such as 🙂 and 🙁 only when you are absolutely certain readers expect and understand them. Also, avoid using nonstandard spelling and verbal shortcuts such as RU going 2 the movie w/o her?
Edit your e-mail carefully, especially if you are writing to people whom you do not know well or whom you want to take your ideas seriously; for example, your boss, business associates, etc.
A Checklist for E-mail and Register
1. Observe how others write e-mail at your work. What will your reader expect?
? Standard language
? Standard but informal language
? Colloquialisms, slang, abbreviation/acronyms
2. What is a reader likely to think or say after reading your e-mail?
? This e-mail was written quickly and not checked/
? This e-mail makes just the right assumptions about me.
? I hate all these abbreviation and acronyms, and slang.
? I could send this to my boss.
3. Is my e-mail the right length? Is my message easy to read on screen?
? Did I write in short paragraphs?
? Did I put a blank space between paragraphs for easy reading?
? Did I use headings for a longer message?
? Did I use bullets or a list when appropriate?
4. Did I write a subject line that is not too long and will be sure to grab the
attention of my reader?
5. Have you checked your grammar and spelling? Should you do so for the
reader? Will the reader judge your abilities according to what he or she
6. Did you delete anything your would not want forwarded to someone else?
Editing Practice
Please work with a partner to comment on the effectiveness of this e-mail between co-workers about another. What changes would you make? How professional is the tone? How effectively has Hart taken care of the quality of his writing? What assumptions is he making about the readers that they may not be comfortable with? How readable is the text?
The appearance of a conflict of interest is as damaging as the real thing. And that?s why we should be cautious, but provided the company wouldn?t be paying us to talk about their products and has no right to edit what we would say (other than to review technical details and correct any misunderstandings on our part), there?s no conflict of interest, Bruce is way off here and wrong to be uneasy. He?s just throwing away new business.
Really, you know as well as I do that EVERY computer journalist receives tons of free stuff in exchange for writing reviews, and there are no explicit strings attached. A novice like Bruce would add that we have to tiptoe too delicately around reviews of XXX?s products: Step too hard and we will lose the advertiser to a rival magazine. No faith! Aren?t we experienced enough to handle this? I?m sure you agree with me. Bruce is way off on this one.
Writing Memos
The memo is a means of communication that is surviving into the age of e-mail. The following discussion explains how to write an even more effective memo.
Analyze your audience.
Even though this sounds obvious by now, think about your readers?who they are and what they know about your subject?as you plan the content, organization and style of your memo.
Include identifying information.
Be sure to include a subject line that is as short as it can be and that grabs the attention of the reader. You do not want your memo to be deleted. In a more formal register, a subject line should be capitalized as a title or put in CAPS.
State your purpose.
The first sentence should be deductive; that is, you should clearly state your purpose in the first line of your memo.
The purpose of this memo is to request authorization to travel to the Brownsville plant to meet with other inspectors.
This memo presents results of the internal audit of the Phoenix branch, an audit that was authorized on January 15, 2013.
The best purpose statements are concise and direct. Use a form of the verb that communicates what you want the memo to accomplish, such as request, explain, or authorize, etc.
Use headings to help your readers.
Use headings liberally in memos. Headings help your readers in two main ways:
1. Headings help your readers decide what to read. If a section is labeled What is a Splash Page?, readers who already know can skip this section.
2. Headings help readers understand the information. A heading such as Summary states the function of the section, helping readers concentrate on the information without wondering why it is included and how it relates to the other information.
If appropriate, summarize your message.
Memos of one page or less do not generally contain summaries. However, longer ones, particularly those addressed to multiple readers, can benefit from a summary at the beginning. A summary has three main goals:
1. To help readers understand the body of the memo
2. To enable executive readers to skip the body if they so desire
3. To remind readers of the main points
The annual ATC conference was of great value. The lectures on new coolants suggested new techniques that might be useful in our Omega line. Furthermore, I met three potential customers who have since gotten in touch with Marketing.
The analysis of the beam shows that lateral stress caused the failure. We are now trying to determine why the beam did not sustain a lateral stress weaker than what it was rated for.
Provide adequate background for the discussion.
Explain the background: the events that led to the current situation. Although each background is unique, some guidelines are useful. For example, if a memo defines a problem?a flaw discovered in a production line?you might discuss how the problem was discovered or present basic facts about the production line: what the product is and how long it has been produced, etc. If the memo reports the results of a field trip, you might discuss why the trip was taken, what its objectives were, who participated, etc.
Organize your discussion.
The discussion section is the section in which you present your main arguments or information. You might divide a detailed discussion into subsections typical of a more formal report: methods, results, conclusions, and recommendations. Or you might give it headings that relate specifically to the subject you are discussing. You might also include brief table or figures but should attach more extensive one or use appendices if hard copy.
The discussion can be developed according to any basic organizational patterns, such as chronological, spatial, more important to less important, and cause/effect.
Highlight action items.
Some correspondence requires follow up action by either the writer or the reader. For example, a memo addressing a group of supervisors or a committee might explain a problem then state what the writer is doing about it. Or the writer may propose an action such as a meeting to discuss the problem or delegate tasks. In writing a memo, state clearly who is to do what and when. Here are two ways to highlight action items:
Action Items
I would appreciate it if you would work on the following tasks and have your results ready for the meeting on Monday, April 15.
1. Henderson: Recalculate the flow rate.
2. Smith: Set up a meeting with the regional EPA representative for some time during the week of April 15.
3. Falvey: Ask Armitra in Houston for his advice.
Action Items
As we discussed, I will finish these tasks this week:
1. Send promotional package to these three companies.
2. Ask customers to work up a sample design to show same three companies.
3. Request interviews with the appropriate personnel at same three companies.
Here is an example of an agenda.
There are many ways to layout an agenda; however, the following example is a very common one:
8-8:15 Introduction with coffee and pastries

8:15-9 Power Point presentation by Joan

9-10 Discussion of old hiring protocol

10-11:30 Consideration of new more effective approaches to hiring practice

11:30-12:30 Preliminary preparation of recommendation for new hiring protocol
Comma Worksheet
Insert a comma where appropriate in the following sentences.
1. The rebel army soon found itself without fuel and electricity medical supplies food and water able-bodied troops and officers and the will to fight.
2. The building tilted during renovation appeared to straighten and settle and then suddenly collapsed.
3. The auditor spent many hours searching the company books without success yet the junior accountant was able to find the irregularity in a few minutes.
4. They completed preparations for the trip and retired early.
5. Her laboratory assistant could find no reason for the death of the animals in the sterile room nor could the consulting pathologist.
6. For many hours after midnight the husband and wife sat and wondered why their oldest son had not returned.
7. While his two passengers waited impatiently the limousine driver worked as hard as he could to start the limousine again and drive the couple to the airport.
8. In reaching the unpopular decision the city council appeared to ignore justifiable complaints of people from all parts of the community.
9. Finding himself completely alone in his position on the matter James decided to give in to his opponents.
10. With no money left to gamble the old couple agreed it was time to go home.
11. Defeated at last the army withdrew toward France.
12. The same bold spirit that took her through the life-threatening illness will see her through the present emergency.
13. Six happy hours flew by while they were driving along the coast.
14. You have to make a salad with crisp fresh salad greens if you are going to tempt me to eat anything on a hot August night.
In the following sentences insert a comma where it is needed and remove one where inappropriate.
1. Margie admires graceful, controlled, dancers who appear to know and
love music.
2. We found his speech long-winded and boring so we left the committee meeting as soon as we could.
3. The long cold arctic nights do not bother David too much.
Insert a comma where appropriate in the following sentences.
1. Saddled with so much responsibility at the age of thirteen the young woman managed to finish college and have a successful career.
2. Obviously we must try to provide more affordable housing for the working people of King County.
Insert a comma where appropriate in the following sentences to set off nonrestrictive phrases and clauses.
1. Carl and his wife are interested in buying only paintings that will impress their friends.
2. Jamie who is ordinarily quiet at parties went about and talked with anyone who appeared interested in talking with an intelligent woman.
3. Fruits and vegetable sold in supermarkets sometimes are not as high in quality as those sold by vendors at the Pike Place market.
4. The Kennedy years which saw the hopes of young Americans rise came too quickly to an end.
The following sentences contain restrictive and nonrestrictive modifiers. Correct the punctuation wherever necessary.
1. The Vietnam War shameful as it was in so many people?s mind is often forgotten now by all except those who study American history.
2. Instead of the warm reception that he expected on his return home, Jason was greeted coldly by all his sisters and brothers.
3. Rather than try to look up every word, that troubles you, keep a list of such words and set some time aside for dictionary work each evening.
4. The more time, that a man spends on himself, the less time he has for others.
Use a comma where appropriate to set off nonrestrictive appositives.
1. I am especially troubled by his habitual lateness a habit that consistently delays completion of his work until the last possible moment.
2. Vermont the Green Mountain state has a long history of independent thought and action.
3. Her oldest brother John was unable to find work for three years after high school.
4. War and Peace Tolstoy?s greatest novel is read by every generation of lovers of literature.
Insert a comma where appropriate in the following sentences.
1. We have chosen June 21 as the best day on which to hold the dog show.
2. It is difficult to believe she will be seventy years old on July 4 2012.
3. April 1 is April Fools? Day.
4. He was discharged from the Marine Corps on 12 July 1945.
5. He has written to the Director of Personnel McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1221 Avenue of the Americas New York New York 10020.
6. They have their offices at 795 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta Georgia 30308.
7. Lawrence has decided to leave North Collins New York to try for a new life in Scarborough Ontario Canada.
8. Chairman Godfrey Helms has appointed a committee that is expected to raise the profits of the factory.
9. Adrian Longworth PhD. has been Visiting Professor of Classical Languages at Smith College.
10. The young man decided that an A.A. (AA) degree would be sufficient for any job he had in mind.
Insert a comma where appropriate in the following sentences to assure clarity.
1. Once read the book proved useful in all respects.
2. Before leaving the department store clerks had to process their receipts.
3. Above all apple trees must be pruned carefully.
4. Prompt payment of bills is essential for good credit is built upon it.
Adapted from The Chicago Manual of Style
Two commonly used methods of using ellipsis points are described here. The University of Chicago Press prefers the second one, but will allow the first if the author has used it consistently.
1. The first method is to use three dots for any omission, regardless of whether it comes in the middle of a sentence or between sentences.
Example: For instance, consider the rule about ellipses in broken quotations?that when a quoted sentence ends with a period, this period should be printed close up, followed by three dots to show ellipsis?In my opinion those publishers and journals that have decided to forget about this nicety and now invariably use three dots?must be congratulated on their common sense.
2. The second method distinguishes between omissions within a sentence and omissions between sentences. This method is described in the following paragraphs.
Within a Sentence
Three dots indicate an omission within a sentence or between the first and last words of a quoted fragment of a sentence.
? The glottal stop, which is common in this family of languages, is marked by an apostrophe.
? The glottal stop?is marked by an apostrophe.
Other punctuation may be used on either side of the three ellipsis dots if it
helps the sense or better shows what has been omitted. Consider the
following passage in original and cut versions:
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations,
and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute,
harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down
and worship the golden image of Nebushadnezzar the king hath set up:
and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast
into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

To you it is commanded?that at what time ye hear the sound of cornet,
flute,?and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden
image?:and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall ?be cast
into?a burning fiery furnace.
Note: Here the comma after ?flute? and the colon after ?image? are
optional rather than required.
Between Sentences
Four dots?a period, followed by three spaced dots?indicate the omission (1) the last part of the quoted sentence, (2) the first part of the
sentence, (3) a whole sentence or more, or (4) a whole paragraph or more. When a sentence ends with a question mark or an exclamation point in the original, this mark is retained and three dots used for the ellipsis.
Why is it that they array themselves against me??Where were they
during the rebellion?
When four dots indicate the omission of the end of a sentence, the first dot the period?that is, there is no space between it and the preceding word. What precedes an ellipsis indicated by four dots should be grammatically complete, either as it is quoted or in combination with the text preceding it. Similarly, what follows it should also be a grammatically complete sentence. In other words, what precedes or follows four ellipsis points should functionally be a complete sentence.
The spirit of American radicalism is destructive and aimless: it is not
loving, it has no ulterior and divine ends; but is destructive only out of
hatred and selfishness. On the other side, the conservative party,
composed of the most moderate, able, cultivated part of the population, is
timid and merely defensive of property.
The spirit of American radicalism is destructive and aimless?.the
conservative party?is timid and merely defensive of property.
Three dots?no period?are used at the end of a quoted sentence that is
deliberately and grammatically incomplete.
Example: Everyone knows that the Declaration of Independence begins
with the sentence ?When, in the course of human events?? But how
many people can recite more than just the first line?

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