This week I took a course in Plain Language at the Disability Empowerment Center in Phoenix, and learned about the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Plain English/Language/Writing isn't about "dumbing down," but rather about clear communication. Among others, those of us who write website content and direct mail copy understand writing to a specific audience, and the new Plain Writing Act is focusing on that. The two day course I took, sponsored by The Arizona Center for Disability Law, was one of the finest seminars I've ever attended. Never did Audrey Riffenburgh speak down to us, and it would have been easy. But by focusing on the viewer/reader constantly, we learned how to analyze writing and formatting, what to avoid and what to use, and how to analyze and create documents that clearly state their purpose for the intended cultural/linguistic audience. We learned how to analyze and re-shape forms, brochures, papers, etc. into documents that make more sense to the reader. But it's much more. Plain Language is finally emerging as a method to let specific groups of people read something they understand according to their particular culture. We learned how to identify the literacy skills of adults in the U.S., and how to define the "mismatch" between consumer literacy skills and the literacy demands of most communications for the public. And it's still much more than I can describe. I see this as extremely valuable for agencies and businesses that can identify their "target readers." The result, at every level, is that time is saved. For everyone. And time is money. Agencies and businesses "get" that. Incidentally, this was just the basic workshop. There is more, and I hope to take advanced courses so I can be of more value to the nonprofit agencies for which I work. Clearly, my mind is spinning with what I've learned, and how to be more specific/efficient/effective in my work with every client I have.
Endorsement by Judy Vorfeld TEDxNovaScotia, in partnership with TEDxHalifax, is proud to announce that on June 10, 2011, we will bring together urban and rural Nova Scotia to share ideas under the common theme of Designing Your Life Within Your Community. At our TEDxNovaScotia event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. TEDxNovaScotia is a 100% volunteer-run, non-profit event with the sole aim of showcasing the great talent and innovation taking place in the province. Tomorrow, June 10, join TEDx Nova Scotia live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tedxnovascotia.
Martha Retallick, who is known for her work with postcard marketing and web development for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs in colleges and universities, just published a dandy new eBook: Freelancer's Guide to Finding Clients. This is the first in a series of "how to" books that blend numerous marketing techniques that the author has applied. If your client level is not as high as you need it to be, you may want to consider this book. It doesn't have a single focus, although much of it is about cold calling. It is full of tips for small businesspeople and anyone who wants to be self employed. Retallick is also known for bicycling through all 50 states (she often stayed awhile and worked at many jobs, learning, earning, and photographing). Her ultimate goal was to find an ideal place to live, and during her travels, she found Tucson, Arizona to be ideal. And it is now her home.
Have you ever seen people get into a heated argument over the right use of the words "lay" and "lie"? It happens.
LAY is a verb meaning "to put" or "to place," and needs an object to complete its meaning. (Lay, laid, laying.)
- She lay the gift basket on the coffee table.
- She had laid several gift baskets in the same area.
- The bookkeeper is always laying the blame on the controller.
- The tech manual was laid in the box.
Use lay when you set or put something down (book, food, etc.); place in a resting position (baby for a nap); bury someone or something (they laid the body in the family plot); place, arrange, or spread something on, over, or along a surface (as in laying carpet or linoleum); press something flat (dog laid back its ears); and prepare for a fire (lay a fire).
It's also what chickens do (lay eggs) and what gamblers do (place or lay a bet).
LIE is a verb meaning "to rest," "to recline," "to stay," or "to be located somewhere," and it cannot take an object. It also means to be buried, to be in a particular condition or state, to be in a particular direction, to be in store (or still to come), or to stay undisturbed (let sleeping dogs lie).
(Lie, lay, lain, lying.) "Lie" generally refers to a person or an object as getting into a reclining position or already being in that position. It also meant the opposite of truth, but not for this exercise.
- The city lies beneath the soaring silver aircraft.
- The gold lay hidden for 130 years.
- Since his stroke, he lies in bed all the time.
- The college entrance exam has lain unanswered for a week.
- Pinnacle Peak lay ahead of us as we headed toward the restaurant.
- Jody's glasses are lying on the kitchen counter.
A good way to decide whether to use "lie" or "lay" is to substitute the word "place" (or placing, or placed) for whatever word is in question. If it fits, use "lay" or one of its forms. Otherwise, use "lie" or one of its forms.
With guidance from The Gregg Reference Manual, Ninth Edition, by Sabin, and Encarta® World English Dictionary © & (1999, 2000 Microsoft Corporation).