word usage: What does it mean to kick the can? - 08/01/18 11:28 AM
Years ago, before all children had to have expensive toys or die, kids played a game called kick the can. Until today I had no idea what that game's rules were. But that's OK - they have nothing to do with current use.
Along with today's vocabulary word (risorgimento) the Miriam Webster site offered a discussion about the phrase "kick the can down the road."
Although the game has all but disappeared, the reference to kicking the can remains a part of our language.
But - is this phrase negative or positive?
Read the article and decide for yourself.
 Image courtesy of farconville … (10 comments)

word usage: 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)

word usage: Do You Reach Out to Find New Perspects? - 09/07/13 09:36 AM
No, I didn't think so...
This is a word usage trouble spot I've written about before, but it keeps rearing its ugly head. In fact, I recently read a blog post in which the writer couldn't seem to figure out whether she had prospective clients or perspective clients - so she used the words interchangably throughout the post. 
Ouch! Talk about a good way to take attention away from your message! 
Here's the difference: 
The word "Perspective" refers to a view - whether physical or intellectual.
On the intellectual side, it's an attitude, an outlook, a point of view, a … (31 comments)

word usage: Confused by Apostrophes? - 08/17/13 09:17 AM
Judging from the number of errors we see - even in headlines on the front page of our local newspaper - it seems that a whole lot of people are confused by apostrophes.
The first rule to remember is that they're almost NEVER used to form a plural.
The exception: When they're used to form the plural of letters and expressions that are not commonly used in plural form. For instance, When you say "There are no if's, and's and but's" or "Mind your p's and q's."
So, if you're talking about two or more REALTORS, houses, school districts, comparable … (81 comments)

word usage: Another "Leave them out" Grammar Tip - 04/10/13 04:49 PM
If you've read my previous posts, you know that "leaving someone out" can help you decide whether you should be using "I" or "me" in a sentence.
Here's one to help you decide whether to use a singular or plural verb when you're talking about two people (or items.) If you join them with the word "and" then you have a plural subject and need a plural verb. 
When you use the conjuction "as well as" to join two items, should the verb be singular or plural? It depends upon the first one mentioned.
If you write something like "The politicians, … (2 comments)

word usage: I is Not an Object - 03/16/13 10:03 AM
Proper word usage: "I" is not ever an object - "I" is a subject word.
I know, I've harped about this before, but I see (and hear) it so often that I have to harp some more.
Maybe it's some kind of paranoia about saying "me" that drives people to this misuse. If so, they need to either get over it or find some other way to write their sentences.
If you are the subject of a sentence, you must begin with "I," not with "me."
Most people online seem to know that, but they get all messed … (7 comments)

word usage: The Case of the Misplaced Modifier - 02/01/13 09:04 AM
While doing some research for a client, I came across a sentence that made me stop, go back, and read it again. I was pretty sure that what I had read the first time had to be wrong.
Here's the sentence:
"Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced a preliminary hearing has been set for Xochitl Cervantes of Las Vegas, for her involvement in a mortgage lending fraud case involving several victims operating under the name of CSR Services."
What? The victims were operating CSR Services?
Well... that's what it says, even if that's not what it means. … (12 comments)

word usage: Word usage: Is That a Reason or an Excuse? - 12/23/12 01:47 AM
Your turn to help resolve the question.
(Note - I've edited this to eliminate the storm I created when I mentioned single women tenants. Whether they're better or worse than single men or couples wasn't the point of my question.)
Yesterday my son and I were discussing his tenants and got into a friendly disagreement.
He was bemoaning the fact that his tenants so often don't take responsiblitiy or live up to what they say they'll do. He said there's no reason for irresponsible behavior.
I said sure they have reasons. Their reasons are just not good excuses. 

word usage: Pet Peeves - Common Phrases that Annoy - 12/17/12 08:41 AM
We all have pet peeves - things that other people do or say that always annoy.
One of mine is a phrase. I'm thinking about it because I just read it in the local newspaper again this morning. So many people say it that I'm sure I must be the only one in the universe who objects.
It is:
I would like to thank...
We would like to thank...
Every time I hear it or read it I think "Well then why the heck don't you just do it?"
Have you noticed? Usually they don't. … (20 comments)

word usage: Word Usage: Confusing Past with Passed - 12/15/12 03:21 AM
Here's another pair that even some scholars can't keep straight: Past vs. Passed. Perhaps that's why we see the words confused so often here on Active Rain.
And this one is easy if you remember this simple rule:
"Passed" is ONLY used as the past tense of the verb "pass." For everything else, use "past"
Please pass the peas (present tense). I already passed the peas (past tense). I will pass them again (future tense).
You may have passed a test, passed the football, passed up an opportunity, passed a friend in the hallway, or passed the last gas … (10 comments)

word usage: I Love Christmas, but this IS the "Holiday Season" - 12/11/12 07:11 AM
OK, I'll probably make someone angry with this. But darn it! I'm tired of these people hollering about how awful it is to say "Happy Holidays."
I just got another email informing of places where I shouldn't shop - because while they say theirs is a Christmas catalog, inside they refer to holiday gifts.
My opinion: Just as it's easier to say "clients" than "buyers and sellers," it's easier to say "holidays." And some people are celebrating Hanukkah, or, in some families - both Hanukkah and Christmas.
In addition, I think the "Holiday Season" started with Thanksgiving, and runs right … (7 comments)

word usage: Gifts are free - aren't they? - 12/06/12 01:42 PM
Following up on today's earlier post: Five Persuasive Words to Energize Your Real Estate Marketing Copy, I have to share something else I read.
In copywriting we try to be concise - using the number of words that are needed, and no more. It's one of the most difficult lessons to learn, because we writers tend to fall in love with our words and resist getting rid of any of them.
Once we "get it," we cut and slash - even though it hurts. So of course we try not to be redundant. But according to one marketing guru, … (7 comments)

word usage: These Two "Two words" Can be Too Confusing - 12/03/12 05:58 PM
No one ever said the English language was easy, and these two prefixes are a good example of how it can confuse.
Both "bi" and "semi" mean "two" but in opposite ways.
In most usage, we keep them straight, but when it comes to time, people often get confused.
Bi- means "every two" or "every other." For example, bi-weekly means every two weeks; bi-monthly means every two months. 
Those who draw a paycheck and are paid every other week are paid "bi-weekly." But... if instead of every other week, that paycheck simply comes twice a month, you'd say … (48 comments)

word usage: Proofread for this silly error in your real estate marketing materials - 11/24/12 06:34 AM
OK, so I'm being picky again.
Several times lately I've seen a silly error in blog posts and emails. It's one that makes the writer look like perhaps he or she lost the train of thought, or maybe did a re-write and forgot to remove something.
What is it? I call it "Too much also."
It goes something like this: "And, in addition, we also offer..."
Other times, you see it at both ends of a sentence. They start out with "also" and end with "too."
If I wrote about my day in this manner, I might say "I'm finishing up … (18 comments)

word usage: Our Evolving Language: How do you define "edgy?" - 10/19/12 04:52 PM
According to my thesaurus, "edgy" means "nervous, on edge, uptight, anxious, restless, and ill at ease."
But that's not how the word is often used in contemporary conversation, in blogs, and in marketing.
I've seen all sorts of things referred to as "edgy." Cars, clothing, decor, literature, and marketing to name a few - and I'm sure the speaker/writer didn't mean those things were nervous. 
When I see or hear it, I have some vague idea of what the person meant, but can't quite put my finger on it. Does it mean it's slightly "off" somehow? Or perhaps a … (4 comments)

word usage: What's the big deal about word choice, anyway? - 09/25/12 04:10 PM
Quite often, when I write a post like this one about "me, myself, and I," someone tells me that I should quit being so picky. The words don't make such a big difference, nor does the spelling, as long as the reader can understand what the writer meant.
And in some cases, writing to some audiences, they're right. If the reader doesn't know the difference between there and their or you're and your they'll "hear" the sounds and understand the words as they were meant. And, if they live in an area where me, myself, and I are routinely mis-used, … (54 comments)

word usage: Why are Me, Myself, and I So Often Confused? - 09/25/12 09:44 AM
Today's email brought an invitation to a free webimar. I'm pretty sure it was about financing, but that's not the subject of this rant. The fact is, the errors made me stop and look at the words instead of the message.
It began: "Join myself and my (name of partner) as we enjoy a webinar …"
Ugh. One shrieking word usage error and a typo. At least I think it was a typo. We don't generally use "my" ahead of a person's name in any but a personal, loving relationship. Well, unless we add a description. For instance: "my friend … (8 comments)

word usage: They aren't mere words - they're stop signs - 07/10/12 05:10 PM
Going forward from yesterday's post about misused words in marketing materials, here are a few more bloopers that have recently been spotted both online and in other print media.
taken for granite  (Perhaps this was a stony-faced person?)
the perspective buyer (Might be a good thing - putting all things in perspective.)
beyond my believe (??)
Wholly cow! (Ummm... yes. If it's a cow it probably is wholly a cow.)
Tammie White found this one on Trulia: "not waist what could be an incredible opportunity" (The opportunity was a double-fudge sundae perhaps?)
And then there's the one Tammy … (9 comments)

word usage: Just because the spoken word sounds right… - 07/09/12 09:02 AM
 ... doesn't mean the written word will carry the same meaning.
The wrong word used in a written sentence can throw the whole message off track. The reader stops, reads it again, and determines what was meant by what was written. By then, the "flow" is gone.
And while some readers will be forgiving, others will dismiss the writer as someone who isn't very intelligent or who doesn't pay attention to details. As a professional, you don't want anyone to have either impression of you.
Following below are some misused words that I've come across in blog posts … (54 comments)

word usage: More Words that Confuse - 05/01/12 05:51 AM
Want to argue about word usage? Get involved with a group of copywriters.
Lately I've been following the Claude C. Hopkins Copywriter group on Linkedin.
This week a big discussion got started because a copywriter bragged about a successful promotion he'd written for a landscaper, and instead of writing copywriter, he wrote "copyrighter." One commenter in particular criticized him severely, then others jumped in to "criticize the criticizer."
Sounds like something that could happen on Active Rain, doesn't it? Most who commented forgot to congratulate the writer on helping his landscaping friend earn an extra $700 per month, just … (4 comments)

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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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