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Whether you’re an inveterate lover of language books or just want to win a lot more anger-free arguments on the page, at the podium, or over a beer, Thank You for Arguing is for you … and I featured it at Pivotal Public Speaking >> here

Word of the week – Aggrandize


Pronunciation: a-GRAN-dize
Function: verb
Etymology: French agrandiss-, stem of agrandir, from a- (from Latin ad-) + grandir to increase, from Latin grandire, from grandis great
Date: 1634
Definitions: 1: to make great or greater; INCREASE, ENLARGE
2: to make appear great or greater; praise highly
3: to enhance the power, wealth, position, or reputation of
Example: “As late as 1961, under President Dwight Eisenhower, the [National Security Council] was supported by a small staff headed by an executive secretary with a ‘passion for anonymity’ and limited to a coordinating role. In subsequent administrations, that passion disappeared and staff members took on operational duties that formerly were the responsibility of constitutionally confirmed cabinet officials. This aggrandizement of the staff function then spread to fields far beyond national security.”
– George P. Shultz, former secretary of Labor, Treasury, and State, in WSJ, 4/11/11, p. A15.

Definition source: Merriam-Webster’s Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary.

From the Weekly Grammar Tip published by

Titles of People – Capitalize or Lowercase?


A customer asked about titles today. She said she was in a friendly office argument whether or not to capitalize an employee’s title after the name, as in “Matilda McAlfalfa, vice president of human resources, will speak this evening.” Some in her office said to capitalize as Vice President of human resources.
Well, the Chicago Manual of Style, the standard reference for American form, says NO. CMS says that titles are to be capped when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name. When the title follows the name, it is generally lowercased. An exception is often made for promotional or ceremonial contexts, or in a heading, of course.
• President Washington; the president
• General Lee; the general
• Cardinal Newman; the cardinal
• Governors Brown and Patrick; the governors

You need not repeat the title once the title has been given.
• Mortimer P. Snerd, senator from Massachusetts; Senator Snerd; Snerd

In promotional or ceremonial contexts such as a displayed list of donors in the front matter of a book or a list of corporate officers in an annual report, titles are usually capitalized even when following a personal name. Exceptions may also be called for in other contexts for reasons of courtesy or diplomacy.
• Tallulah Throckmorton, Director of Water Sports

A title used alone, in place of a personal name, is capitalized only in such contexts as a toast or a formal introduction, or when used in direct address.
• Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister.
• I would have skied today, Captain, but the waves were too big.
• Thank you, Madam President.

When a title is used in apposition before a personal name?that is, not alone and as part of the name but as an equivalent to it, usually preceded by the or a modifier?it is considered not a title but rather a descriptive phrase and is therefore lowercased.
• the empress Elizabeth of Austria (but Empress Elizabeth of Austria)
• German chancellor Angela Merkel (but Chancellor Merkel)
• Florida senator Marco Rubio
• the German-born pope Benedict XVI
• former president Reagan
• former presidents Reagan and Nixon
• the then secretary of state Colin Powell

Other examples of proper form:
• John Adams, vice president of the United States; Vice President Adams; vice-presidential duties
• the Holy Roman emperor
• Nero, emperor of Rome; the Roman emperor
• the shah of Iran
• the mayor; James Michael Curly, mayor of Boston; Mayor Curly
• the president; George Washington, first president of the United States; President Washington; the presidency; presidential; the Washington administration (note the lowercase administration)

Source: Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.

From the Weekly Grammar Tip published by

10 Words you need to stop misspelling

[Via Huffington Post]

Spelling pet peeves–everyone has got them. Here are 10 that drive people nuts. Which bug you the most? Any not on this list? =>

The Power of committing to writing and paper … “Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It “

Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It 

by Henriette Anne Klauser
Here, Klauser (Writing on Both Sides of the Brain; Put Your Heart on Paper) instructs her readers to write down their most extravagant wishes and, merely by the act of recording them, make them come true. She claims that the writings themselves are so powerful that they will influence external circumstances. Eventually, however, she reveals that this wish-writing is neither magical nor miraculous. It requires practitioners not only to write their wishes but also to participate actively in achieving them. Her technique is intended to clarify goals, increase self-confidence, and dispel self-doubt, and she describes how it has dramatically improved her life and the lives of her friends and acquaintances. Her faith in the power of writing is evident in her work; readers who share her faith may benefit from her prescribed course of wish fulfillment.
“Klauser’s advice is eye-opening and contagious enough to make you pull out a notebook and pen, even as you read.” ~~Verna Noel Jones Rocky Mountain News 

Publisher’s Recommended Retail Price is $15.00

Pivotal Gold Rewards members get a 10% discount off that publisher’s price. (Membership is free)

The greatest gift you can leave your children

How much do you know about your grandmother? Do you know her favorite color? Her favorite childhood memory?

What about your grandmother’s parents? Do you know what your great-grandmother wore on her wedding day? Do you know who the most influential person was in your great-great-grandmother’s life?

For most of us, the answer is “no.” In fact, we probably don’t even know those facts about our own mothers. In an increasingly busy world, we often neglect time for sharing old stories and memories. And we forget to pass on our own tales to our children.

Florence Littauer said, “The beauty of the written word is that it can be held close to the heart and read over and over again.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we had autobiographies written by our mothers, grandmothers, and previous generations – something to preserve the memories through the ages?

That’s the purpose of our newest book. We’ve partnered with our friends at Thomas Nelson to bring you A Mother’s Legacy, a journal intended to help mothers leave the story of their lives written down for their children and future generations.

The greatest gift you can leave your children isn’t cash, a large house, or expensive jewelry. The greatest gift you can leave your children is the gift of yourself.

A Mother’s Legacy is filled with interesting prompt questions to help get the creative juices flowing, even for those who feel intimidated by writing. Sample questions include:
• What was your favorite meal when you were a child? What made it your favorite?
• What do you remember about your first kiss?
• Describe the most fascinating place you have visited.
• What are some of the things that make you smile when you think of them?

No matter what your age, memory and reminiscence open a richer and fuller understanding of who you are as a family.

May this memory journal be a starting point in your family – a door into discussing and sharing the unique qualities and experiences of your life.

And this beautiful journal makes a great gift for any mother or grandmother you know. Keep a few on hand for baby showers so young mothers can get started recording their stories early on!

Click here to learn more or to look inside the journal.

The elements of clunk

a whole new strain of bad writing has come to the fore, not only in student work but also on the Internet, that unparalleled source for assessing the state of the language.


Victorian Poets used Texting Lingo

“I 1der if you got that 1 I wrote 2U B4.” The note sounds like a text message exchanging between teenagers. In fact, it was written some 130 years before the arrival of the written language seen on mobile phone screens.

According to a forthcoming exhibition at the British Library, Victorian writers already used abbreviations typical of textspeak.


The Highest-Paid Authors

Times may be tough for book sellers, but for Stephen King, James Patterson and Stephenie Meyer, the money keeps rolling in.

Publishers are feeling the heat, with hardcover sales weak and the rise of e-books promising to upend their business models. But the world’s 10 top-earning authors are making out just fine, earning a combined $270 million over the 12 months to June 1.

James Patterson’s $70 million in earnings vaults him to No. 1 on our list, up from second place two years ago. The prolific thriller writer’s latest deal, signed last fall, involves penning a carpal tunnel-risking 17 books by the end of 2012 for an estimated $100 million.

So who were the top ten? Click here to find out =>

Email style according to Yahoo

Yahoo has thrown its hat into the ring when it comes to offering an authoritative source on all things digital publishing, launching “The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World.”

Read more …