Thursday, March 7, 2013

A tablet specifically for schools

Everything for school squeezed into a 10" tablet. Will they buy it? Prices start at $299 with a $99/ year subscription. Read about it in Amplify Tablet Custom-Made for Schools

EHR in NYC

Though the Big Apple has had a bad time with storms and power outages, last month, it got to report some good news. At the “NYC Celebrates Improved Health Through Technology” event on February 7th, New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced positive results for the adoption of electronic health records. Read more about it in 

Big Data for a Healthy Big Apple

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Misplacing a valued client

Citibank was nice enough FedEx me an illustration of a misplaced modifier. The letter begins: "As a valued client, we recently mailed a letter to you regarding an incredible opportunity to receive relief on your mortgage payment through Home Affordable Refinance Program. " As far as grammar is concerned, we only need to focus on the first five words. The way the sentence is set up the first four words are a description that should be followed by what they modify, but instead, they are followed by the pronoun "we," that is the entity that makes up Citibank, which is not its own valued client. 

To make the sentence work grammatically, Citibank could have opened with something like thins, "Because we value you as a client, we want to let you know about an incredible opportunity," or something along those lines.

For more on misplaced modifiers, see http://www.infoplease.com/cig/grammar-style/misplaced-modifiers-lost-found.html and my favorite grammar site, Purdue OWL,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Your guide, not you're guide

In honor of National Grammar Day, which is celebrated on March 4th,  here's a quick guide to pronouns and apostrophes. While people tend to get confused and add in unnecessary apostrophes at times, when it comes to pronouns, all you have to think about is this: contractions do have apostrophes, whereas possessive forms do not.

The apostrophes in contractions take the place of the letters that get knocked off when two words are combined into one, thus "I am" becomes "I'm," and "it is" becomes "it's." In contrast, possessive pronouns inherently convey possession without any apostrophe. Just like we write "his" and not "hi's" or "his'" for belonging to him,  we write "its" (with no apostrophe) for belonging to it.

Here's the list of pronouns in contraction and possessive form:
                                         Contraction                          Possessive Pronoun
                                             I'm                                             my
                                            you're                                         your
                                            he's                                             his
                                            she's                                            her
                                            it's                                               its
                                            we're                                           our
                                           they're                                          their

From the list above, people tend to confuse the ones that sound alike: it's/its and they're/their. Interesting enough, I don't really see "you're" mistaken for "your," even though both words sound exactly the same, The thing to remember is that just as you would not write "you're" or the nonexistent "you'r"  for the word that mean belonging to you, you cannot write "it's" for the word that means belonging to it, no matter how common the error.

The same holds true for "their," which is not only confused with the contraction "they're" but even with the third homonym for the grouping, "there."

Note: for the rules of apostrophe usage for plural forms, see http://www.dailywritingtips.com/when-to-form-a-plural-with-an-apostrophe/