Internal auditors, who are charged with bringing to light the inadequacies and inefficiencies in an organization and communicating them to management, cannot overlook the importance of good writing. Even if the auditor performs the world's greatest audit, his accomplishments will not amount to very much if the audit report is unreadable or unclear.
When readers encounter flaws in grammar, they begin to question other aspects of the writing as well, including the logic behind the ideas -- not exactly the effect an auditor hopes to elicit with an audit report. ActionGrammar, a new book by Joanne Feierman, provides all the information an internal auditor needs to know to write text that is free from troubling grammatical errors.
Becoming well-versed in the intricacies of the English language is an all but impossible task, even for those who spend their days dealing with words and how to string them together. Fortunately, as ActionGrammar points out, a relatively small number of grammatical constructions account for the majority of the stumbling blocks. ActionGrammar highlights these recurring grammatical booby traps and educates the reader on how to avoid them.
In addition to covering all the basic rules necessary to good writing, Feierman identifies the top ten errors in writing, includes a catalogue of troublesome words and phrases with usage explanations, and provides a list of commonly misspelled words. In addition, each chapter includes a "Chapter Challenge" of correct and incorrect sentences with explanations on the particular grammatical concept covered in the chapter.
Writers from financial backgrounds are often under the impression that numbers are set in cement, but that words are somehow much more fluid or elastic. That may be true to a limited extent; but just as two plus two always equals four, there are numerous grammatical constructions that are always treated in the same manner. For example, should punctuation go inside or outside of quotation marks? According to ActionGrammar, periods and commas always go inside quotation marks; semicolons and colons, on the other hand, always go outside. That rule won't change until the day two plus two equals five.
In addition to reminding us of the immutable rules of grammar, ActionGrammar also puts to rest a lot of the not-so-useful grammatical baggage many of us have carried over the years. I remember very clearly my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Sharp, telling our class that certain...