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In our effort to administer the law fairly and to identify those

who have not filed returns ... Here and shows us that to identify is on a par with to administer.

This will require that you file an amended return, and the net

result will be a reduction in the combined tax liabilities. In this instance and balances neatly two equal thoughts.

But how do we sometimes use this connective? In a lazy way. We say "and” when we mean almost anything.

I have discussed the matter with my supervisor, and he feels that

we may be able to make some sort of adjustment. In this sentence the forms of the two parts are not alike, and the thoughts are hardly the same value. Try subordinating the second part by substituting “who” for “and he.”

Or this one, a good illustration of what happens when we dictate without thinking—or without hearing what we say:

We have had one or two letters from Mr. Doe with reference to this and we expect to refer the matter to the Blank office that handles Farmersville, where he resides, and we will no doubt hear from them in the course of the next several days, at which time we will make a determination as to our next move, and we will

advise you as soon as we hear from them. Exaggerated? Perhaps. Check over some of the letters you have dictated.

But and yet—These words signal to the reader, “Turn sharply here." If the taxpayer reads, “You are allowed $600 exemption for each dependent, but you may not deduct ...” he knows clearly that there is no use looking beyond that but for any more allowances. But and yet show contrasting ideas, as in these examples:

We are sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced but pleased that you have been spared the additional delay of a formal investigation to locate a lost check.

We have searched the files, yet we find no record of this return. For—This word indicates that an explanation or an additional thought follows.

The $1,000 is not deductible as necessary repairs, for the expendi

tures are not made to keep the property in operating condition. Here for is used instead of because—the most common use of this connective.

When you use for as a connective to mean because, put a comma before the word to prevent possible ambiguity. Not: No doubt the office will be closed for that day is a local

holiday. But: No doubt the office will be closed, for (because) that day

is a local holiday. Or and nor—These words tell your reader that an alternative follows.

You may use the cash receipts and disbursements basis or you may use the accrual basis.

He did not say when he would return, nor do we know.

Many writers believe that they cannot begin a sentence with one of these connectives. That is another of a series of beliefs about grammar that verge on superstition. It is not only grammatically correct to begin a sentence with a conjunction, but in many cases it is preferable. For these introductory words prepare for and emphasize the thought that follows.

We urge our employees to perform their duties in a courteous
and professional manner. And many of them do.
..., such amounts are not includible in your income. But if the
withholding also covers such personal facilities as laundry, dry
cleaning, and social services, ...

If you wish to visit our office, an appointment will be scheduled at your convenience. Or, if you prefer, you may submit your substantiation by mail.

Words that show relationship

If we have two ideas of about the same thought value, we can put them into two sentences tied together with a coordinating conjunction. If one of the ideas is of less importance, it is only sensible to put it in a form that shows this value. The words that we can use to point out the relationship of parts of the sentence are subordinating conjunctions. Some of these are: after

though although

since

unless because

that

while before

so that

when, etc.

if

Don't limit yourself to ands and buts when there is a variety of words that express your meaning more exactly.

Miss Smith teaches math in a high school. There is an opening to teach in the science department and her request to transfer to this department is granted, but she is required to take specified courses in science.

Vary your sentences, and, at the same time, be more exact:

Miss Smith teaches math in a high school, where there is a teaching opening in the science department. Her request to transfer to this department is granted, although she is required to take

specified courses in science (or provided, or if she takes). This sentence sets forth facts in a primer-like fashion:

Frank and Evelyn sold their old home and they paid its buyer $100 to cover taxes on that property for the first quarter of the

year. A subordinating conjunction improves the sentence:

When Frank and Evelyn sold their old home, they paid its buyer $100 to cover taxes on that property for the first quarter of the year.

Pitfalls

Because-Don't be afraid to use the word because. In an attempt to vary their sentences, writers often substitute as or since for because. Be sure, if you do this, that your reader will not interpret them to mean time instead of cause.

As the office is closed on Saturdays ... This could mean "because the office is closed on Saturdays” or “during the time the office is closed on Saturdays."

Since we have had these workshops, ...
This could mean either “because” or “after that time.”

When and whereUse when or where to refer to time. Neither word is a substitute for if.

Not: Advertising expenses are deductible where it can be

shown ...

Substitute “if” or recast the sentence.
Not: Where the sale of a product is the income-producing factor

in your business, ...
Substitute “if” for “where."

WhileThis is another time signal. Don't use while to mean but or although.

Not: While possession has passed to the consignee, title remains

with the consignor.

Substitute "although” for “while.”
Not: He wrote the report, while I typed it.

Substitute “but” or “during that time” or recast the sentence.

Other links

Conjunctive adverbs are words which tie two main clauses together and, at the same time, point in the direction in which the sentence is going. This group includes such representative words as: however

consequently accordingly
nevertheless hence

also
moreover
then

thus
therefore
furthermore

likewise Of these words, two are often overworked. However, like but, is an indication of a change in the direction of the sentence. Don't use it to the exclusion of other connectives; and don't insert a “however” because you feel such a fine stylistic touch would add that indefinable something to your writing.

You may also claim amounts paid for ... However, you may not

claim premiums paid on policies previously paid ... The other overworked word, therefore, signals, “What follows is a logical result of what has gone before.” Accordingly, too, has this meaning. These words, like however, are not accessories to be added to writing to dress up its style; they are used in places where there is no question of contrast or of cause and effect.

Punctuation

When a conjunctive adverb joins two main clauses, USE A SEMICOLON OR A PERIOD BEFORE IT. A comma may be used before the coordinating conjunctions, but a conjunctive adverb requires a stronger mark.

The following example illustrates a common error:

A Form 899 showing the advance payment is also enclosed, however, the deficiency has not yet been assessed.

If we use a comma before however, the reader has no way of telling to which clause the however belongs. The semicolon acts as a barrier to keep it confined to the clause to which it refers.

When a conjunctive adverb is inserted in the middle of a clause and is not acting as a linking word, then it is correct to set it off by commas:

This rule does not, however, exclude the value of the decedent's interest in the property ...

The language is rich in connectives and indicators. What ones can you add to this list? Addition : furthermore

moreover

besides
Instances : for instance (not e.g.)

that is (not i.e.)
to illustrate

first ... then
Cause and because
effect : consequently

for this reason
Conditions : if

although
though
even though
nevertheless

[blocks in formation]

Don't think of punctuation marks as “seasoning” to be added to "flavor” the communication.

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