MODIFIERS

WORDS THAT ALTER, GIVE ADDITIONAL MEANING OR MODIFY

ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS ARE BOTH MODIFIERS

 

ADJECTIVES

WORDS WHICH ALTER, GIVE ADDITIONAL MEANING TO OR MODIFY NOUNS AND PRONOUNS

IT WAS A YELLOW DOOR.

“YELLOW” GIVES ADDITIONAL MEANING TO “DOOR,” A NOUN.

A, AN AND THE ARE ALWAYS ADJECTIVES

THEY ALWAYS GIVE ADDITIONAL MEANING TO NOUNS AND PRONOUNS

 

HOW TO TELL IF A WORD IS AN ADJECTIVE

DICTIONARIES TELL IF WORDS ARE ADJECTIVES…

BUT SOMETIMES A WORD CAN BE MORE THAN ONE PART OF SPEECH DEPENDING UPON ITS USAGE

CHECK THE DICTIONARY AND THE USAGE

 

ADVERBS

ADVERBS ALTER, GIVE ADDITIONAL  MEANING TO OR MODIFY VERBS, ADJECTIVES AND OTHER ADVERBS

 

ADVERB MODIFYING A VERB

HE DRANK SLOPPILY.

SLOPPILY GIVES ADDITIONAL MEANING TO DRANK, A VERB

 

ADVERB MODIFYING AN ADJECTIVE

HE WAS VERY TALL.

VERY GIVES ADDITIONAL MEANING TO TALL, AN ADJECTIVE

 

ADVERB MODIFYING ANOTHER ADVERB

HE DRANK VERY SLOPPILY.

VERY GIVES ADDITIONAL MEANING TO SLOPPILY, AN ADVERB

 

HOW TO TELL IF A WORD IS AN ADVERB

WORDS WITH AN –LY SUFFIX ARE ADVERBS

NOT EVERY WORD ENDING IN –LY, BUT THOSE WITH –LY ADDED ARE ADVERBS

NOT, NEVER AND VERY ARE ALWAYS ADVERBS

WORDS THAT GIVE INFORMATION ON HOW, WHEN OR HOW OFTEN ARE USUALLY ADVERBS

THE ABOVE IS ALMOST ALWAYS TRUE

 

DECIDING WHETHER TO USE AN ADJECTIVE OR AN ADVERB

FIND THE WORD BEING MODIFIED

IF THE WORD BEING MODIFIED IS A NOUN OR PRONOUN, USE AN ADJECTIVE

IF IT’S A VERB, ADJECTIVE OR ADVERB, USE AN ADVERB

 

DEGREES OF COMPARISON

BOTH ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS HAVE DEGREES OF COMPARISON

TALL, TALLER AND TALLEST ARE ADJECTIVE DEGREES OF COMPARISON

LATE, LATER AND LATEST ARE ADVERB DEGREES OF COMPARISON

IRREGULAR DEGREES OF COMPARISON

AS SHOWN IN GOOD, BETTER AND BEST, DEGREES OF COMPARISON ARE SOMETIMES IRREGULAR

QUICKLY, MORE QUICKLY MOST QUICKLY (IRREGULAR ADVERB DEGREES OF COMPARISON)

BAD, WORSE, WORST (IRREGULAR ADJECTIVE DEGREES OF COMPARISON)

USE A DICTIONARY TO DETERMINE THE FORMS OF IRREGULARLY CHANGING DEGREES OF COMPARISON

BEFORE BUYING A DICTIONARY, LOOK UP BAD

IF IT DOESN’T GIVE YOU WORSE AND WORST, DON’T BUY IT

 

WHEN TO USE COMPARATIVES IN REPORTS

DO NOT USE COMPARATIVES IF MORE SPECIFIC INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE

“THE SUSPECT WAS “TALL” TELLS THE READER ALMOST NOTHING

“THE BLONDE SUSPECT WAS TALLER THAN THE BRUNETTE,” GIVES A LITTLE INFORMATION

“THE BLONDE SUSPECT WAS APPROXIMATELY 6 FEET TALL. THE BRUNETTE WAS APPROXIMATELY 5 FEET TALL” IS  MUCH MORE SPECIFIC THAN THE TWO PREVIOUS EXAMPLES.

 

REPORT WRITING RULE #15: DON'T USE COMPARATIVE MODIFIERS UNLESS A BASIS FOR COMPARISON IS GIVEN.

 

CONFUSING MODIFIERS

MODIFIERS NEED TO BE CONNECTED TO THE WORDS THEY MODIFY

I FOUND A KNIFE ON THE BED WHICH WAS WET.

DOES WET REFER TO THE KNIFE OR THE BED?

TO AVOID CONFUSING MODIFIERS, PUT THE MODIFIERS NEXT TO THE WORDS BEING MODIFIED.

I FOUND A WET KNIFE ON THE BED OR I FOUND A KNIFE ON THE WET BED

 

WRITING IN COMPLETE SENTENCES

COMPLETE SENTENCES MINIMIZE CONFUSION

EVERY COMPLETE SENTENCE HAS A SUBJECT, A VERB AND CONVEYS A COMPLETE THOUGHT WHICH STANDS ALONE.

A COMMAND IS THE ONLY COMPLETE SENTENCE IN ENGLISH IN WHICH THE SUBJECT IS IMPLIED BUT NOT GIVEN

“STOP!”

 

SENTENCES IN REPORTS

SENTENCE FRAGMENTS ARE INCOMPLETE SENTENCES

THEY LACK SUBJECTS OR  VERBS OR DON’T CONVEY COMPLETE THOUGHTS

RUN-ON SENTENCES CONVEY TWO OR MORE COMPLETE THOUGHTS

I FOUND A HAIR AND I COLLECTED  IT IS TWO COMPLETE THOUGHTS.

I FOUND A HAIR, AND I COLLECTED IT  IS TECHNICALLY CORRECT ENGLISH (BECAUSE OF THE COMMA)

 

PROSE v. TECHNICAL WRITING

A PROSECUTING ATTORNEY MAY ASK, “WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?”

YOU’RE SUPPOSE TO ANSWER EVERY QUESTION WITH THE SHORTEST POSSIBLE TRUTHFUL ANSWER.

THE CORRECT ANSWER TO THE PROSECUTOR’S QUESTION IS ONE THING SUCH AS: “I FOUND A HAIR.”

IF YOU WRITE TWO THOUGHTS IN ONE SENTENCE, YOU MAKE YOUR TESTIMONY MORE DIFFICULT

“I FOUND A HAIR AND I COLLECTED IT” IS IMPROPER TESTIMONY

SO WRITE “I FOUND A HAIR. I COLLECTED IT.” TO MAKE TESTIMONY EASIER

DON’T CONNECT TWO THOUGHTS WITH AND, OR OR BUT IN REPORTS (WITH OR WITHOUT A COMMA)

 

PUNCTUATION

POOR PUNCTUATION CAN CAUSE CONFUSION IN REPORTS

 

POOR PUNCTUATION EXAMPLES

“THE SUSPECTS LEFT IN A BLUE GREEN CAR.”

“THE SUSPECTS LEFT IN A BLUE-GREEN CAR.”

“THE SUSPECTS LEFT BLUE/GREEN CAR.”

“THE SUSPECTS LEFT IN A BLUE, GREEN CAR.”

 

WHAT COMMAS DO

A COMMA TELLS A READER WHERE TO PAUSE IN A SENTENCE

“THE HAWAIIAN SHIRT WAS YELLOW, GREEN AND WHITE.”

WITHOUT THE COMMA THE SHIRT IS TWO COLORS ONLY, YELLOW-GREEN AND WHITE.

COMMAS ARE ALSO USED TO SEPARATE ITEMS IN SERIES, ADDRESSES AND DATES

THE FLAG WAS RED, WHITE, AND BLUE. (COMMA IN A SERIES)

THE COMMA BEFORE AND IS OPTIONAL ABOVE

181 LA CALLE DE LAS FLORES Y PULGAS, MICHOACAN, MEXICO (COMMAS IN AN ADDRESS)

JULY 11, 1952 (COMMA IN A DATE)

 

APOSTROPHES

USE APOSTROPHES TO SHOW LETTERS HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT

IT WAS 7 O’CLOCK. (LETTERS LEFT OUT OF “OF THE CLOCK”)

APOSTROPHES ARE ALSO USED TO SHOW POSSESSION

THE KNIFE WAS SMITH’S.

REMEMBER, POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS DO NOT USE APOSTROPHES TO SHOW POSSESSION

TO MAKE MOST POSSESSIVES PLURAL, ADD –S’

THAT WAS THE BOY’S BIKE. (SINGULAR)

THOSE WERE THE BOYS’ BIKES. (PLURAL)

IF A NOUN ENDS IN –S, FORM THE PLURAL BY SIMPLY ADDING AN APOSTROPHE

HE VANDALIZED THE WITNESS’ CARS TO SCARE THEM.

USE AN APOSTROPHE TO FORM A PLURAL OF A NOUN ONLY IF THE NOUN IS A NUMBER OR FIGURE

HE GOT STRAIGHT A’S.

THERE WERE THREE 6’S IN A ROW.

 

PARENTHESES

PARENTHESES SHOULD ENCLOSE NUMBERS THAT ARE NOT MERE REPEATINGS OF SPELLED-OUT NUMBERS.

EVIDENCE: (1) A BLUE COAT, (2) BROKEN GLASS AND (3) A HUMAN FINGER.

NOT “THERE WERE THREE (3) ITEMS OF EVIDENCE.”

DON’T USE PARENTHESES TO ENCLOSE SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION IN REPORTS

JONES (THE SUSPECT) WAS BLEEDING FROM HIS NOSE.

IF THE INFORMATION IS ESSENTIAL, USE COMMAS INSTEAD OF PARENTHESES

 

REPORT WRITING RULE # 16: DON'T SPELL OUT A NUMBER AND THEN IMMEDIATELY REPEAT THAT NUMBER WITH A NUMERAL IN PARENTHESES.

 

BRACKETS

DON’T USE THEM IN REPORTS

THEY’RE USED TO SET OFF AN AUTHOR’S COMMENT INSIDE ANOTHER PERSON’S QUOTE

“THERE [SIC] MINE,” HE WROTE.

 

DASHES

DON’T USE THEM IN REPORTS

AS WITH PARENTHESES, USE COMMAS IF THE INFORMATION BETWEEN DASHES IS ESSENTIAL

(BAD EXAMPLE) JONES – THE SUSPECT – WAS BLEEDING FROM HIS NOSE.

 

HYPHENS

USE THEM IN COMPOUND NUMBERS BETWEEN TWENTY AND ONE HUNDRED

“THERE WERE TWO TWENTY-TWO SHELL CASINGS.”

SOMETIMES (RARELY) USE THEM TO AVOID CONFUSION

“HE WAS THE EX-PRESS SECRETARY FOR THE PRESIDENT.” (AS OPPOSED TO THE EXPRESS SECRETARY)

USE THEM WITH SOME PREFIXES AND SUFFIXES

EX-WIFE

PRESIDENT-ELECT

USE THEM IN PLACE OF THE WORD “TO”

HE GOT 2O-LIFE IN PRISON

CAUTION: A HYPHEN MEANS “TO” NOT “THROUGH”

·     JUNE 2 – JUNE 4 MEANS JUNE 2 AND 3 ONLY

 

· CAN BE USED TO DIVIDE WORDS AT SYLLABLES IF PUTTING PARTS OF ONE WORD ON TWO LINES

·     PAPER IS CHEAP AND THIS CAN BE CONFUSING

·     DON’T DO IT WHEN HANDWRITING REPORTS

 

COLONS

USE THEM IN REPORTS TO INTRODUCE LISTS

(EXAMPLE) EVIDENCE:

DO NOT USE COLONS IN 24-HOUR TIME

USE ONLY 24-HOUR TIME IN REPORTS

1313 HOURS, NOT 13:13 HOURS

DO NOT USE "AM" OR "PM" WITH 24-HOUR TIME

DO NOT USE "IN THE MORNING," 'IN THE AFTERNOON" OR "IN THE EVENING" WITH 24-HOUR TIME.

 

REPORT WRITING RULE #31 - USE 24-HOUR TIME. 24-HOUR TIME IS ALWAYS FOUR NUMERALS WITHOUT COLONS. 0001 HOURS IS ONE MINUTE AFTER MIDNIGHT. 1201 HOURS IS ONE MINUTE AFTER NOON.

 

 

SEMICOLONS

DON’T USE THEM IN REPORTS

 

QUOTATION MARKS

USE THEM FOR A PERSON’S EXACT WORDS ONLY WHEN NECESSARY UNDER FIVE CONDITIONS ONLY (THIS IS AN EXPANSION ON RUTLEDGE'S EARLIER LIST)

 

DO NOT QUOTE OTHER THAN UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES:

 

(1) IF IT HELPS PROVE THE CRIME

(EXAMPLE) SHE YELLED, “FIRE!” IN THE CROWDED THEATER.

 

(2) WHEN NECESSARILY USING SLANG

(EXAMPLE) SHE SAID SHE’D GIVE ME A “HALF AND HALF JOB” FOR TWENTY DOLLARS.

 

(3) WHEN QUOTING A SUSPECT’S PROFANITY

(EXAMPLE) HE SAID, “FUCK YOU, PIG.”

 

(4) ADMISSIONS AND CONFESSIONS

·     (EXAMPLE) HE SAID, “I KILLED HER.”

 

(5) DENIALS

·     (EXAMPLE) “I DID NOT MOLEST THAT LITTLE GIRL.”

 

REPORT WRITING RULE #24: ONLY QUOTE UNDER THE ABOVE FIVE CIRCUMSTANCES. OTHERWISE, DO NOT QUOTE AT ALL.

 

UNDERLINING AND ITALICS

USE ITALICS WHEN TYPING, KEYBOARDING

USE UNDERLINING WHEN HANDWRITING

THE NAMES OF PARTIES TO ANY COURT CASE

MIRANDA v. ARIZONA

MIRANDA v. ARIZONA