Magazine article Communication World

HR's Herd-Thinner Has Your Pop Quiz Ready, but Maybe He's Only Fad Surfing

Magazine article Communication World

HR's Herd-Thinner Has Your Pop Quiz Ready, but Maybe He's Only Fad Surfing

Article excerpt

Remember the dreaded pop quiz? Merriam Webster's 10th Collegiate says the label -- born in the sixties -- identifies "an unscheduled or unannounced quiz." Eroder of the cherished grade-point average, it remains to this day a land mine in the path of the unor the under-prepared.

Of course we are all our of school now, except perhaps for our colleagues in crisis communication, where every day can be a school day. But what if some HR herd-thinner were to sell the boss on pop quizzes for corporate communicators "just to see where our strengths lie"? How would you fare? Let's find out...strictly for grins:

Books and papers away, now. Answer the following in as much detail as you can.

1) Identify and correct the grammatical sin in this July 3 Boston Globe sentence: "Walking by one evening, the lights had been left on in... the conference room.

2) Will you edit this sentence from Natural Living Today (May/June 2000)? If so, state why: "Warning: Both echinacea and goldenseal are considered relatively safe, however echinacea may be contraindicated (in certain cases)...."

3) Andrew Ferguson's June 5 essay in Time magazine visited the question of President Clinton's being "ethical enough to be an Arkansas lawyer?" Ferguson wrote that Clinton's defenders will argue "that his long years of 'public service' mitigate against punishment...." Will you challenge anything?

4) Finally, in his USA TODAY story (June 8), Jerry Potter said of physician/golfer Trey Holland, "Holland worked his way through.. ,Wabash College and then studied medicine at the University of Indiana." Any edit?

What you shoulda/mighta said appears here:

* For those with a few unclaimed shekels left in the 2001 budget pool, be aware that Houghton Mifflin plans a September launch for the 4th edition of its flagship American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Like its forebears, AHD4 will feature writer-friendly Usage Notes -- updated, of course - based on observations made on surveys that are sent periodically to its 150+ member Usage Panel of experts. Price etc. will be covered in CW when our review copy comes.

Already set to help you control your spin is the Y2K CD-ROM arrangement of Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary (unabridged) for Macintosh and Windows, the oldest and most comprehensive of major U.S. dictionaries. For U.S. $69.95, this potent disc offers 472,000 words plus 140,000 etymologies; it's rooted in the 1993 supplement to the original 1961 print edition. Add a fast and no-cost link to M-W's annually revised 10th Collegiate via the Web, and this is one powerful streaming resource for working writers. …

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