Archive for the ‘Report Writing Tips’ Category

Report Writing Tip #53 – Don’t Use Utilize

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Use “utilize” correctly!  In fact, avoid the word utilize since  readers prefer use. Explanation: Utilize can mean  “to find a profitable and practical use for something.” “The teachers were unable to use their new computers” might only mean that they were only unable to operate their computers themselves, “The teachers were unable to ...

Report Writing Tip #52 – Using -ible v. -able

Monday, November 17th, 2008

I admit that I am not the world's best speller. There are certain spelling situations that always create a problem for me, like when to use -ible versus -able. The following are a few simple rules to help it straight If the root is not a complete word, add ...

Report Writing Tip #51 – One or Two Words

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Back in the "bad old days", those of us that were "spelling challenged" carried a paperback dictionary in our briefcases so that we could manually spell check our work. A little later on, the electronic spellers came into vogue but they were fairly expensive for their limited capabilities. ...

Report Writing Tips #50 – Subject And Verb Agreement

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

I am not the best editor but even I can catch subject and verb agreement errors. Fortunately, by learning a few simple rules, it is easy to make sure the nouns and verbs in your reports live happily ever after. When the subject of a sentence is composed of two ...

Report Writing Tip #49 – Appositives

Monday, October 27th, 2008

An appositive is a noun or pronoun (often with modifiers) positioned beside another noun or pronoun to explain or identify it. Here are some examples of appositives. Example: Your friend Scott is in trouble. Example: My buddy's patrol car, a sporty red sedan with bucket seats, is the envy of the other ...

Report Writing Tip #48 – Use of Articles (A v. An)

Monday, October 20th, 2008

The choice of article (A v. An) is actually based upon the sound of the first letter in a word, not on the written representation of the letter. If the first letter makes a vowel-type sound, you use "an"; if the first letter would makes a consonant-type sound, you use ...

Report Writing Tip #47 – Using the Slash ( / )

Monday, October 13th, 2008

The slash can be a useful tool when writing reports. The most common usage for the slash to separate "and" and "or", when appropriate. The phrase "and/or" suggests that a series of options are not mutually exclusive. Example: To register for the class, you will need a copy ...

Report Writing Tip #46 – Using Parentheses, Brackets, And Braces

Monday, October 6th, 2008

When writing an official report, the proper use of parentheses, brackets, and braces can clarify your message for your reader. However, many writers treat them as interchangeable punctuation tools when, in reality, each has a specific purpose. Use parentheses ( ( ) ) to clarify, to place an afterthought, or ...

Report Writing Tip #45 – Who/Whom

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Sometimes the rules of grammar change making formerly incorrect grammar acceptable for general use. The rule governing when to use who versus whom is one of those changes, although there appears to be a continuing debate about the issue. According to formal rules of grammar, who forms the subjective case ...

Report Writing Tip #44 – Using A Dash

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

We all know that a police officer cuts a dashing figure in that blue uniform. However, some officers come up a little short when they try to use a dash as a form of punctuation. The dash ( -- or — ) should be used when making a brief interruption ...

Report Writing Tip #43 – Unnecessary Commas

Monday, September 15th, 2008

One of the few unofficial grammar rules that I firmly committed to memory in high school pertained to commas. The rules was “when in doubt, leave them out.” Although my English teacher did not accept the rule as a excuse for leaving out a necessary comma, it did ...

Report Writing Tip #42 – Subject-Verb Agreement

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Proper sentence structure is a very important part of reporting writing. When writing a sentence, the number of the subject and the verb must always match. In other words, a plural subject requires a plural verb and a singular subject requires a singular verb. This sounds pretty ...

Report Writing Tip #41 – Watch Your Tense

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Most offense reports are written to describe incidents that happened in the past. The form of the verbs that are used to construct the sentences change when they express "when" something happened: the past, present, or future. The form of the verb is called its "tense". There are ...

Report Writing Tip #40 – Shifts in Person

Monday, August 25th, 2008

One of the more frequent report writing errors is inconsistency with person within a sentence. Officers should be careful not to make abrupt shifts in person or number. Such shifts can be quite confusing for the reader. For example, if you use the singular form of a word in ...