Lesson 211 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals – Gerunds

A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Eatingis fun.
The gerund can be a subject (Eating is fun.); a direct object (I like eating.); a predicate nominative (A fun time is eating.); an appositive (A fun time, eating, takes much time.); an indirect object (I give eating too much time.); or an object of a preposition (I give much time to eating.)
Instructions: Find the gerunds in the following sentences and tell if they are used as subject, direct object, predicate nominative, appositive, indirect object, or object of the preposition.
1. My father’s occupation was farming.
2. My desire, traveling, may happen soon.
3. Writing is sometimes difficult.
4. By saving, we can do our traveling.
5. Some people give gossiping too much time.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. farming = predicate nominative
2. traveling = appositive
3. writing = subject
4. saving = object of the preposition / traveling = direct object
5. gossiping = indirect object

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
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When to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails)

"Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe." – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

It feels good when you’ve done your research before pitching an article idea to an editor:

  • You know the publication’s audience
  • You know your topic offers value in unique ways
  • You know the editor’s content preferences and pet peeves

But you’re not done yet.

Although hitting the “send” button on your email seems like an inconsequential step in your article pitching process, I recommend pausing before you take that action.

That moment of excited impatience could spoil all the important research you’ve just performed.

Caution: avoid these days of the week

Have you ever suggested a fun activity to a friend, significant other, or family member when they’re in a bad mood, and they immediately decline?

Although they would normally love your idea, you’ve asked them at a time when they don’t want to be bothered.

I compare that experience to submitting an article pitch to an editor on a Friday or Monday.

Friday is a day to wrap up the workweek before the weekend and organize upcoming tasks.

Monday is a day to catch up from the weekend and start juggling pressing priorities.

When you reach out to someone you don’t know, your email might get lost in the hustle and bustle of those busy days. If you’ve worked with the editor before, it still might not be a priority to review your article pitch promptly.

Another warning

My theory about Fridays and Mondays is absolutely not a strict rule. After all, an editor may have requested that you submit a pitch to them on a Friday or Monday.

It’s simply a way to think about reaching out to someone when they might be more receptive to hearing your idea.

Keeping that guideline in mind, I’ve had a high success rate of getting responses from editors over the years.

Short-term and long-term to-do lists

We all have to prioritize our work, and there are two common types of to-do lists.

  • Short-term to-do lists: work that must get done that day … or that week
  • Long-term to-do lists: work that is not a top priority but needs to get done eventually

If you send an article pitch on a Friday or Monday, the editor might want to respond. But as they prioritize their work, your email could end up on their long-term to-do list (or even their I-keep-forgetting-about-that list).

Instead, if you send an important email on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, replying to your email might be viewed as a short-term to-do list item. It’s often a lot easier to tackle work as it comes in once the week is rolling along.

I used the phrase “an important email” above because this advice can also be applied to optimize your chances of reaching anyone (coworkers, managers, dental hygienists, etc.) at a favorable time.

People are people

You’re not sending a message to a continually enthusiastic robot that reviews all of the emails they receive with perfect objectivity and care.

You’re emailing another person … a human being.

Ask yourself:

How important is the content of this email for the recipient? Is it helpful to have this information right now? Or, is it just important to me because of the time and effort I’ve spent crafting it?

If it’s mainly important to you, is there a better time to send the email?

There may not be.

But pausing here gives you a chance to think about whether or not the person may prefer to receive it at another time.

What do you know about their current schedule? Do they have more free time the following week? If it’s an article pitch, would waiting to submit your idea until later in the year be beneficial?

Unless an email is urgent, I’ll wait a few days and then decide if it makes sense to send it or continue to wait.

What if you don’t hear back from the editor?

Of course, there is no guarantee you’ll get a quick reply — or any reply — even if you carefully choose when to send an email.

I like the Two-Week Rule when following up with an editor. One week can go by quickly, but after two weeks, it’s reasonable to check in to see if the editor is considering your topic.

And if you do get a response, it might not be the “Yes” you want to hear.

Pitches that are poorly researched or have grammar errors and typos will likely get marked as spam.

If you submit an article to a publication that doesn’t review unsolicited pitches, you likely won’t get a response no matter how compelling your topic is.

For example, Copyblogger does not currently review unsolicited guest post pitches.

There are also many factors out of your control, so be patient and don’t take any response personally.

Trust the editor’s judgment.

A different publication may be an even better fit for your idea … and a rejection from one editor creates an opportunity to explore other options.

Over to you …

What are your tips for sending article pitches to editors? Are there any days of the week or traps you avoid?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Quiz for Lessons 206 – 210 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

Instructions: Find the verbals in these sentences.
1. The rolling hills seemed to go on forever.
2. Having grown sleepy, I finally put down my book.
3. The parcel wrapped in brown paper was thought to be a bomb.
4. Hearing the screeching brakes, I rushed to the window.
5. Swimming is not my favorite sport.
6. To accept defeat well is often hard.
7. To go now would be foolish.
8. Having been invited to attend a party, I hurriedly took a shower.
9. The added figure made the price too high.
10. Is it time to leave yet?
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. rolling / to go
2. having grown
3. wrapped / to be
4. hearing / screeching
5. swimming
6. to accept
7. to go
8. having been invited / to attend
9. added
10. to leave

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
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Lesson 210 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

A verbal is a verb form used as some other part of speech. There are three kinds of verbals: gerunds, participles and infinitives.
A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Example: Eatingis fun.
A participle is used as an adjective and ends various ways. A present participle always ends with ing as does the gerund, but remember that it is an adjective. A past participle ends with ed, n, or irregularly. Examples: played, broken, brought, sung, seeing, having seen, being seen, seen, having been seen.
An infinitive is to plus a verb form. It can be a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Examples: to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten.
Instructions: Find the verbals in the following sentences.
1. Changing his mind, Fred agreed to play the part.
2. Having been seen at lunch, the man tried to escape.
3. The team winning the final game will win the cup.
4. One way to improve is to work harder.
5. Decayed and crumbling, that old wall is dangerous.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. changing / to play
2. having been seen / to escape
3. winning
4. to improve / to work
5. decayed / crumbling

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/06/lesson-210-parts-of-sentence-verbals.html

Lesson 209 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

A verbal is a verb form used as some other part of speech. There are three kinds of verbals: gerunds, participles and infinitives.
A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Example: Eatingis fun.
A participle is used as an adjective and ends various ways. A present participle always ends with ing as does the gerund, but remember that it is an adjective. A past participle ends with ed, n, or irregularly. Examples: played, broken, brought, sung, seeing, having seen, being seen, seen, having been seen.
An infinitive is to plus a verb form. It can be a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Examples: to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten.
Instructions: Find the verbals in the following sentences.
1. Sometimes I need to work more effectively.
2. Surreptitiously slipping the answers to his friend, the boy looked innocently at the ceiling.
3. Why won’t you try to be nicer?
4. I hope we never become too old to learn.
5. Having forgotten her lines, Jena fled from the stage.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. to work
2. slipping
3. to be
4. to learn
5. having forgotten

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/06/lesson-209-parts-of-sentence-verbals.html

The Balance of Creativity and Productivity

The Balance of Creativity and Productivity

If you read Copyblogger for any length of time, you’ll notice a theme that comes up again and again — the balance of creative “arty stuff” with pragmatic productivity.

Creativity makes our content worth reading. Strategic implementation gets us where we want to go. Each depends on the other.

On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about cultivating a Pomeranian state of mind to expand your creativity. (Read the post to find out why you actually do want to do this.)

And on Tuesday, she outlined a plan to use that Pomeranian creativity to actually make something that other people want to read, watch, or listen to.

Finally, on Wednesday, our editorial team sent me their favorite writing books — a healthy mix of the arty, the crafty, and the strategic.

Over on the Copyblogger FM podcast, I shared two resources that have seriously impressed me — one on the science of learning (this is great if you’re improving your skills, but it will also be incredibly useful for course creators) and one on creative focus (hello shiny).

Want to make great leaps in your writing this summer? Get your Inner Pomeranian going, pick up some of the books on the reading list, sharpen that focus just a bit, and decide on a project to implement with Stefanie’s plan. By September, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on this week’s content


creativity is not linear This Common Belief Could Be Blocking Your Creative Potential

by Stefanie Flaxman


think about where you could be one year from now if you start todayA Simple Plan for Managing and Completing a Content Project

by Stefanie Flaxman


Editorial RoundtableYour Summer Reading List from the Copyblogger Editorial Team

by Sonia Simone


Two Powerful Resources for Life-Changing GrowthTwo Powerful Resources for Life-Changing Growth

by Sonia Simone


How Merriam-Webster Lexicographer and Author Kory Stamper Writes: Part OneHow Merriam-Webster Lexicographer and Author Kory Stamper Writes: Part One

by Kelton Reid


8 Ways Startups Can Make Money with an Online Audience8 Ways Startups Can Make Money with an Online Audience

by Brian Clark


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http://www.copyblogger.com/copyblogger-weekly-38/

Your Summer Reading List from the Copyblogger Editorial Team

Editorial Roundtable

I don’t believe in a “writing gene.”

Writing comes more easily to some folks, for sure. But those aren’t always the people who end up writing really well.

Writing is a skill that requires plenty of practice. But practice is always more effective when you’re working on the right things.

That’s when it’s time to seek out some good advice.

This week, we asked Copyblogger’s editorial team to share some of their favorite writing books. There’s a mix here — some books are about the art of writing, some about craft, and some about strategy.

Any of them will help you put your words together in more powerful ways.

Here are the recommendations, in each writer’s own words:

Brian Clark

Fun Fact: I’ve never read a “normal” writing book, only copywriting books. So:

Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, Joe Sugarman
I have a lot of copywriting books and courses, and if I were starting out from square one today, I’d start here. Joe Sugarman is a direct marketing legend, and he does a great job of getting basic copywriting concepts across in an enjoyable way. So if you’re brand new to copywriting, this is where to go.

Editor’s note: This edition of Sugarman’s book is out of print, but was reissued as The Adweek Copywriting Handbook.

Breakthrough Advertising, Eugene Schwartz
For the advanced, here’s the money book, courtesy of the late, great Gene Schwartz. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, this is what just about any highly successful copywriter will tell you is the Holy Grail of deep psychological insights that lead to breakthrough marketing campaigns.

Stefanie Flaxman

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!, Al Ries and Jack Trout
It’s a quick read, but every time you pick it up as you progress on your marketing journey, something new clicks into place or it sparks new ideas for a project you’re working on.

And I’m going rogue on my second submission 😉

My suggestion is to treat every book (or article) you read as a lesson. Why do you like the writing? Why do you dislike the writing? If you answer those questions and study the craft of other writers, you can improve your own writing. See if you can adapt the qualities you like to fit your own style — and avoid the qualities you dislike. 

Robert Bruce

The Unpublished David Ogilvy
Though he is most famous/infamous for his industry-shattering Ogilvy on Advertising, Unpublished offers a deeper look into the original Mad Man. His tactics, motives, and strategies are laid bare … not to mention some of the funniest internal memo writing you’ll ever read.

Selected Letters (3 Volumes), Charles Bukowski
Another case (for me) in which the writer’s offhand, non-staged work seems so much more alive than what he is known for. Or, maybe I’m just too old and too dead inside to reach for his poetry and fiction over this fascinating, exploding, and beautifully human correspondence.

Jerod Morris

On Writing, Stephen King
I love On Writing. It cuts through all the bullshit and gets right to the heart of what it means to write. “Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”

The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield
It actually shares some over-arching thematic similarities to King’s in how uncompromising they are about the commitment it takes to be a good writer, and how writing isn’t about staring out a window and waiting for the muse … but strapping on your work boots, sitting down, and typing. 

Kelton Reid

Besides the obvious — Cialdini, Ogilvy, Schwartz, Hopkins, Godin, McKee, King, Clark, Simone, and Bruce — I have a few other go-to faves:

Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon
New York Times bestselling author Austin Kleon has been called “one of the most interesting people on the Internet” by The Atlantic magazine. An authority on “creativity in the digital age,” this guide offers the message: “You don’t need to be a genius; you just need to be yourself.”

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Mason Currey
How did the greats get it done? If you’re like me and you nerd-out on the processes of annoyingly productive creatives, this is for you. A well-written survey of the daily rituals of 161 novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, and more, on how they “… get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late.”

Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors, Sarah Stodola
Accomplished journalist, editor, and creative nonfiction author Sarah Stodola compiled a fascinating collection of the habits and habitats of heralded scribes titled, Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors. Much word-nerdery here. Enjoy!

Sonia Simone

Since I put this together, I got the benefit of seeing what everyone else wrote. I share a lot of the favorites above, but here are a few that my colleagues didn’t mention.

Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg
I read this over and over when I was just a wee writer, and it’s always stuck with me. Goldberg talks about writing as a Zen meditative practice, and this is a book that can help you get out of your own way and start to find your writing voice.

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structures for Writers, Christopher Vogler
These days everyone and their Aunt Frances has written about the “hero’s journey” and how it informs the stories we tell. Vogler was one of the first, and his book (intended for screenwriters) has lots of juicy ideas you can swipe to inform the stories we tell with content today.

Marketing Bullets, Gary Bencivenga
It’s well worth your time to seek out copywriting advice that was written for direct response — particularly what we usually call “junk mail.” These writers had to make every syllable work hard to offset the high costs of a direct mail campaign. Gary Bencivenga was one of the most successful writers ever to work in that format.

His advice “bullets” are old-school (sometimes they might even strike you as cheesy), but they’re still smart and they’re still powerful. Reworking them so they make sense in today’s environment and with your individual voice will make anyone a more effective and persuasive writer.

All Marketers are Liars and Permission Marketing, Seth Godin
Seth fills out the other side of the persuasion equation. You want to express yourself clearly and give people the information they need to make a buying decision — that’s what copywriting techniques are for.

But you also need to speak to the desire for belonging, the yearning for connection and shared values, that marks every human society, past or present. That’s what Seth’s books and blogs are for. I found these two particularly useful, but if you have a different favorite, of course I want to hear about it below. :)

How about you?

Do you have any favorite writing books? Are they more “art of writing” or “science of persuasion?”

Let us know in the comments …

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