real estate marketing grammar: An easy memory trick to choose between then and than - 11/20/14 03:31 AM
Today's post is a suggestion from Harry Morris, who wrote that he sees a whole lot of people being confused about the difference between "then" and "than."
Of course the meaning is VERY different.
Then has an element of time. It can mean "next," or "at that time." For instance: "Back then I had no idea that I'd become a real estate agent." Or "We went out for dinner, then we went to the movies."
How about: "We attended the closing, then we celebrated."
Than conveys some kind of comparison.  For instance: I'd rather eat spaghetti than steak." (Yep, true.) Or "Rather … (17 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: That, which, and who – what to use when? - 11/17/14 05:44 AM
Thanks to Tom White for suggesting today's topic...the proper use of that, which, and who. 
To begin at the beginning … according to all my grammar sources, who (and its forms whom and whose) only refers to people.
That and which refer to things – EXCEPT when you're referring to a class of people or a type of person rather than a specific individual. Then it's OK to refer to people as "that."
For example: They are the type of people that would cheat to pass an exam.
And right away we have a problem.
Is your dog or cat or horse … (55 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Yes, you CAN overdo your SEO - 07/18/14 04:11 AM
Although Google's algorhythms are far beyond me, I know that there are two very important aspects to consider when you're trying to optimize your blog posts or your website:
Getting Google to find you and give you a high ranking Getting people to stay and read once they get there Nearly every SEO expert I've come across talks about keywords - and warns against "keyword stuffing." Google doesn't like it. They want you to create useful content and incorporate your keywords so they'll know who wants to find you, and they're now looking at related phrases rather than focusing entirely on … (44 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: When sending marketing messages, ALWAYS proofread first - 07/17/14 04:08 PM
Even if you purchased those letters, don't just cut and paste. Proofread them before you send them.
Today I had a call from an agent who has purchased and mailed all sorts of expired listing marketing letters over the last couple of years and has gotten no response whatsoever. He couldn't figure out what was wrong. He was tempted to purchase my expired listing letters, but after his previous experience, he wasn't sure it was a good idea.
We talked a while and I asked him to send me some of what he'd been using – maybe I could see the problem. … (12 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Are your real estate marketing materials too wordy? - 07/11/14 07:11 AM
Are your real estate marketing materials too wordy?
If you're concerned about your messages being too wordy, try a simple cure that many copywriters use: Eliminate the first sentence, or even the first paragraph or two.
I was just reminded of this trick as I was working on another article. I had changed the title, so the first paragraph no longer fit. Then I looked at all of it again and realized that the first two paragraphs were completely unnecessary.
Most of us tend to "warm up" a bit when we begin to write. We ramble a bit under the guise … (12 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Ouch! Wrong Word! - 07/08/14 09:29 AM
Sometimes a word in a sentence just jumps out, hits you, and makes you think "Ouch!"
Such was a word in an email I received this morning. It was a forward from a friend, and it had a very fine patriotic message, with quotes from some of our great leaders of the past. The trouble was in the introduction.
It said "This bares repeating." Ouch!! 
Here are a few more "ouch moments" I've collected from websites, emails, and blog posts: 
"Replace the headshot photo on your site and on your social media profiles with one that shows you laughing, or wearing a crazy hat, or … (24 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Parallel Construction - and mind twists - 06/26/14 09:57 AM
Do you ever read a sentence and feel that something just isn't quite right?
You understand what was meant, and at first glance the sentence looks OK, but it still feels a bit like stumbling over a rock you can't see.
Here's an example of something I just wrote - and have to fix.
Can you see what's wrong with it?
"Before deciding to become an agent, he assisted numerous friends with getting their homes ready for market, creating and implementing marketing plans, and helping them negotiate their purchase or sale transactions."
At first glance, it LOOKS paralell. There's:
getting creating … (16 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Should you write: sometimes, sometime, some time, or some times? - 06/20/14 04:32 PM

"When is it "sometimes" and when is it "some times"?
This was the question put to me in a recent email. Rather than trust my instincts (which in this case were incorrect), I did some research.
What I found were articles comparing sometime, sometimes, and some time. Nothing about "some times," but I think we can figure it out from what I learned.
"Sometime" refers to an indefinite point in the past or the future.
For example:
She promised to call sometime next week.
Our puppy was born sometime in the last week of September.
"Sometimes" is … (23 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Can't decide which prefix to use when your meaning is "not?" - 06/13/14 04:48 PM
All these years I've been choosing to use "in," "im" or "il" by how the word sounds. That really does work pretty well, because when you get it wrong, it not only sounds funny in your head, it's hard to pronounce.
But there are some rules.
To begin with, most of the time the prefix to use is "in." But as Donna Foerster pointed out to me, it simply sounds wrong if you try to make a word like "inpatient." That's because it is wrong, if your meaning is "not patient."
So here are the rules: … (15 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real Estate Grammar - is it O.K. to write okay? - 06/11/14 07:41 AM
OK - finally some really good news for folks who get confused about grammar and word choices.
But first, some "History for wordies." (Is that a word?)
It seems that according to the English Club, "okay" ranks number 1654 in the list of the mostly commonly used words in the English language.
#1, by the way, is "the." The word "I" comes in at # 11 with "you" at #14.
But where did okay come from?
According to an article I came across today, it dates from the 1800's, when it became a fad in New York and Boston to misspell … (36 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real Estate Marketing Grammar - Can You Give Advise? - 06/07/14 07:37 AM
This bit of real estate marketing grammar advice is a re-rant. I know this one has come around before.
But... I'm seeing this error so often lately that it seems worth bringing back. It's the misuse of the words advise and advice.
Do you give advise?
Do you advice your clients?
NO - You don't!
You give ADVICE. (a noun)
You ADVISE your clients. (a verb)
When you advise your client, you're giving her advice.
It's true that a whole lot of words in our language can be used as either a noun or a verb, but these two aren't in … (31 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real Estate Marketing Grammar - Do you mean its or it's? - 05/28/14 03:31 PM
Thanks to Bruce Kunz for reminding me that a whole lot of us are STILL confused about when to use its and when to use it's.
After all these years or reading and writing, I think I only got this one straight a year or so ago.
Why is it so difficult? Because "it" refuses to follow the rules regarding apostrophes.
Most of the time apostrophes are simple -
You use them to form a contraction - such as when you want to sound a little more informal and say "we're" in place of "we are"  or "he's" in place … (13 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real Estate Grammar - Here I go being picky again - 05/27/14 06:54 AM
You probably agree with me that using good grammar in your real estate marketing messages is important. If you didn't, you wouldn't read my picky posts.
And I guess it is picky when I get focused on a mere 2-letter word.
Today the error that's bugging me is the use of "to" where "too"belongs.
It seems like I'm seeing this more and more often here on Active Rain.
So, what is there to do about it? How do we reach those folks who are mistakingly saying things like "The buyer decided the price was to high."
Now and then I see … (59 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real Estate Marketing - Those Darned Grammar Goofs - 05/21/14 02:31 AM
The grammar you use in real estate marketing does matter.
I know - some agents tell me that it doesn't - as long as you get the message across. And therein lies the problem.
When you use the wrong word, only some people will get the message. For others it will be as if you placed a huge STOP sign right in the middle of it.
Why? Because the meaning changes. The people who know the difference will think "Huh?? What's she trying to say here?"
Two of the seemingly smallest word pairs that make the greatest difference in meaning when … (16 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real estate marketing – A tricky word pair to watch in your copy - 04/25/14 09:34 AM
Do you ever get confused between the meanings of less and fewer? Or did you think the two are interchangeable?
I know they're not the same, but I do sometimes get confused.
Earlier today I was working on real estate marketying copy for a client and I wrote: "… to get you the best possible price in the fewest number of days."
And then I thought "Is that correct?" So I looked it up, and yes it is correct.
So what's the difference between less and fewer
(or least and fewest)?
Think of this pile of money. If … (29 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real Estate Grammar – Using the Reflexive Pronoun "Myself" - 03/05/14 12:06 PM
OK - another one of my darned grammar rants. Once again it's the local weekly newspaper that brought it on.
Today's Priest River Times gave me grammar fits… mostly over the word "myself."
"Myself" is a reflexive pronoun, however...
It seems to me that any time someone who doesn't know grammar very well is trying to be "oh so proper" they stick "myself" in a sentence where "me" or "I" belongs. Maybe they just think it sounds more high-toned.
They're wrong!
Today's tooth grinding started with this excerpt from a letter in favor of the latest school levy: "Wednesday evening … (38 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Why Bother With Proper Word Usage in Real Estate Marketing? - 01/16/14 07:34 AM
Why Bother With Proper Word Usage in Real Estate Marketing?
Almost every time I write about proper word usage someone challenges me – saying that it doesn't make any difference. I'm being too picky. As long as people can figure out what you mean, who cares if you write your when you mean you're?
I obviously don't agree with them. We have language in order to communicate, and the more clearly we can communicate the better. When we use the wrong words, communication falters.
We should never force a client or a potential client to stop and figure out … (10 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Do You Write "Is not" or "Isn't?" - 12/27/13 03:41 AM
Every once in a while one of my copywriting clients will ask me to remove the contractions from their copy - or they'll do it themselves before they post it.
Once several years ago I wrote a fund raising letter for an animal rescue and one of the board members who had studied journalism insisted on removing every contraction. (She also insisted on removing the "ask" but that's another story.)
The reason these folks want contractions removed is, no doubt, because some teacher along the way told them they were improper - or perhaps sloppy.
The reason I want them left … (70 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real estate marketing grammar: Are you an advisor or an adviser? - 11/16/13 03:02 AM
Real estate marketing grammar - sometimes easy and sometimes confusing!
Back in September I wrote about the proper use of advice and advise, because these two words are used improperly SO often, even here on Active Rain. 
If you know the definitions then the usage is clear. After all, one is a noun and the other is a verb. 
But then we come to advisor and adviser and the answer isn't so pat. 
My fingers always automatically write "advisor" when I'm talking about a person who gives advice. In my mind it's similar to facilitator and originator. Writing it with an … (6 comments)

real estate marketing grammar: Real Estate Marketing Grammar – Parallel Language - 10/13/13 06:22 AM
Have you ever read a list and felt slightly confused? It was all there, but it just wasn't "quite right."
That's probably because the writer failed to use parallel language.
OK – what the heck is that?
Simply put, using parallel language means making a list in which each item is given in the same form of speech. All nouns, all verbs, all adjectives, etc.
Here's an example in which the writer used non-parallel language:
"As your listing agent, my service includes tips for giving your home more appeal, taking professional photographs, and available 24 hours a day."

Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) Rainmaker large

Marte Cliff

Your real estate writer

Priest River, ID

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Marte Cliff Copywriting

Address: 1794 Blue Lake Road, Priest River, ID, 83856

Office: (208) 448-1479

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