Are You Using ‘That’ and ‘Which’ Correctly?

In everyday conversation, people use that and which interchangeably without giving the words much thought. However, when using them as relative pronouns to introduce adjective clauses, the choice of using that or which determines the meaning of a sentence. It’s another grammar rule that is more important in writing than it is in speech.

So, how do you know which word to use? Simply put, use that before a restrictive clause and which before a nonrestrictive clause. Easy enough, right?

That

Restrictive (or essential) clauses limit the meaning of the nouns they modify. They add important information, and leaving it out would change the sentence’s meaning.

Example: The bacon cheeseburgers that are topped with cheddar sell fast.

In this sentence, we specifically know the bacon cheeseburgers with cheddar sell fast. We don’t know anything about the burgers with a different cheese.

Which

Nonrestrictive (or nonessential) clauses simply provide additional information that can be left out of a sentence without changing its meaning.

Example: The bacon cheeseburgers, which are topped with cheddar, sell fast.

In this sentence, we can assume cheddar is on every bacon cheeseburger and they all sell fast.

Did you notice the commas in the nonrestrictive clause example and how they are absent in the restrictive clause example. The rule of thumb is to surround a nonrestrictive clause with commas. If the sentence ends in a nonrestrictive clause, set it off with a single comma. For example, “I ate a bacon cheeseburger for lunch, which was delicious.”

Would you like us to explore other grammar questions? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

When Is Twitter Going to Add an Edit Feature?

Here at Yearick-Millea, we love Twitter as a go-to source for news, general information, laughs and more! With that said, Twitter needs to add an edit feature to help clarify tweets, whether it is misinformation from a news source, an accidental tweet from your phone or an embarrassing typo (like Delta’s typo last month).

Earlier this week, this tweet from the AP really demonstrated the need for the edit button on Twitter:

ap tweet 1

The wording in this Tweet caused quite a bit of confusion and horror, with people thinking the military plane had crashed. Though the AP delivered a correction moments later, the damage was done because people already had widely retweeted the post and taken screenshots of it.

ap tweet 2

The addition of an edit button on Twitter could help users fix their errors much more smoothly. Other social media outlets, like Facebook, offer similar features.  On Facebook for instance, users are allowed to edit their posts after publication and previous versions are visible to anyone who wants to see them.  There are obviously some logistics to work out with an edit button on Twitter – editing time frame after the initial post, the visibility of previous versions of the tweet, etc. –but it’s clear Twitter needs it.

Do you agree? Do you think Twitter needs an edit button?

 

 

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things—The Gateway Clipper

The Yearick-Millea office has a great view of one of the best things to experience in Pittsburgh—the Gateway Clipper Fleet.

The Gateway Clipper

The Gateway Clipper

Docked at Station Square, the Gateway Clipper Fleet offers a variety of cruises—sightseeing, social, dining, entertainment, seasonal and holiday events. Whether you’ve lived in Pittsburgh your whole life or you’re a newbie to the city, there’s a cruise for you.

Tourists and residents alike can enjoy the sightseeing cruises to take in the beauty of the city. The one-hour cruise offers a different view of the beautiful landscapes and buildings Pittsburgh has to offer, as well as some fun facts about the three rivers. Themed sightseeing cruises—think superheroes, princesses and pirates—are fun for the whole family, while dining cruises like the Captain’s Dinner Dance, are perfect for a date night.

But don’t think you have to set aside an afternoon/evening to enjoy a ride on the Gateway Clipper. If you’re heading to a sporting event or a concert on the North Shore, you can take a riverboat ride from the Station Square dock.

If you’re ever aboard one of the ships during the week, wave at the First & Market building!

Attracting New Business

If you’re in a small business like ours, you know first-hand how vital it is to seek our new customers or expand opportunities with existing ones.

In the restaurant world, a chef might add a new entrée.  In the retail business, a local mom-and-pop shop might run a contest on social media. Both scenarios revolve around a common thread — generating a buzz about your business to attract new customers.

Has your business changed with the hiring of a specialized employee?  Has your company started making or selling a new product, or opened a new location?  Your prospecting program should be designed to make the most of developments like these.

Here are some tools you should consider to help you do so:

  • An accurate and continually updated e-mail database of customers and prospects
  • A mechanism for reaching your customers and prospects on a regular basis, whether it’s an electronic newsletter, a monthly “secret sale” for loyal customers or an informal breakfast meeting with a new business prospect
  • A vibrant website that is continually adding new content
  • A comprehensive social media program focused on the right forum for your targeted audience

Beyond the website, none of these tools has to be a major financial investment.  They just require persistence and a regular investment of time.  Successful gardeners know the work doesn’t stop when the seeds are planted.  The same rules apply to your customer acquisition program.  Take a few hours each week and see what a little watering can do for your business.

LinkedIn Tips for Professionals

LinkedIn can be one of the greatest assets for a professional in any industry. It’s a place to gather insights, establish expertise and develop new business opportunities. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to make a great first impression for anyone just discovering you – perhaps a future colleague or a potential client, so make the most out of your LinkedIn profile by following a few suggestions:

  • Start with a profile photo and professional headline: Choose a photo that is recent and professional, and create a specific description or job title that will grab the attention of your viewers. Both of these items help establish your social media credibility. Not having a photograph or headline could cause viewers to be suspicious of your profile, so include something that matches the sense of your industry.
  • Include a summary: The summary section of your LinkedIn profile can bring together your headline and experiences. Think of it as a brief overview of yourself, including keywords that can help you to be found in industry searches. This area allows you to tell a story in more ways than a traditional resume.
  • Add visual content: LinkedIn allows you to add videos, images, documents and presentations to each experience that you list on your profile. Showcase items from your portfolio to demonstrate skills.
  • Solicit professional recommendations: Request recommendations from current and former colleagues. This can be a valuable area of your profile to potential employers and business partners/clients.
  • Leverage LinkedIn messaging: LinkedIn allows you to tag an individual or company now by using the “@” symbol followed by your connection’s name. Doing so ensures that your connection will see your post and also engages members of your network. Use this strategically – only for things that are important. The rest of your connections can see posts like this in their news feeds, so ultimately, this creates a more valued relationship amongst those in your network.
  • Join local groups, follow industry resources and create conversation: Provide more significance to your network by also participating in these areas as a way to establish thought leadership. The more content that you share, the better chance you have of others viewing your profile. Be careful not to use this as a way to promote yourself or your company, but as a way to share thoughts and gain feedback.
  • Claim your URL: LinkedIn allows you to customize the URL. Most claimed URLs include the last name (e.g., linkedin.com/lastnamehere). You can also adjust how you appear when people search for you through online platforms such as Google or Yahoo!.

 

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Summer

If the intense heat wasn’t a dead giveaway, let it be known that summer is well underway. While we are able to enjoy all four seasons—some more than others—summer offers nice weather and a variety of activities: some that you may have been doing since you were a kid and some that you may not even know about. That’s why it’s one of our favorite Pittsburgh things.

Catch a ballgame

The Pittsburgh Pirates are normally hitting their stride and climbing in the rankings this time of the year. Even if you’re not a fan, enjoying a day at PNC Park and the surrounding area offers a variety of activities, whether you’re into food, music, or a casual stroll along the Allegheny River.

Seek some thrill

Kennywood’s open! Whether you are looking for some thrills, roller coasters, driving recklessly in a bumper car, or feasting on Potato Patch fries, Kennywood offers a chance to relive your youth and make new memories.

Fun in the sun

If you’re not lucky enough to have your own backyard pool, it seems like there is one available in every community. But, if you’re feeling more adventurous, spend a day riding the slides or floating around at Sandcastle.

The great outdoors

While there’s plenty to do in Pittsburgh, sometimes it’s nice to get away from city life. There are countless camp sites, rafting locations, and off-roading sites that are within an hour or two.

Beach bum

Ok, maybe you can’t be a beach bum in Pittsburgh, but Lake Erie is roughly two hours away. Pack up the family or gather some friends and spend a day at the lake and work on your tan. There’s nothing more relaxing than having your toes in the water; bum in the sand.

Those are some of our favorite things about summer in Pittsburgh. What are yours?

PNC Park

PNC Park

Formatting the Press Release: Proper Punctuation

When you send a press release or media alert, the ultimate goal is for publications to pick up the information and distribute it to their audiences. The information is critical to the message you want to convey, and so is its presentation.  In this series, we discuss tips to help you appropriately format press releases for publication. Your media contacts will appreciate it!

Punctuation plays such an important role in writing. Commas, periods, question marks, etc. can completely change the meaning of a sentence depending on where they are placed. Also, if you utilize proper punctuation in your press release or announcement, journalists will take you much more seriously.

Here are some general punctuation rules:

  • Use only one period, exclamation point or question mark to end a sentence. In text messages, emails and on social media, it’s common to use multiple punctuation marks to emphasize your point, but it’s not proper for formal press releases.
  • Journalists and most public relations practitioners do not utilize the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma). You can read more about it in this Words From Y-M blog post.
  • Use a single, not double, space after a sentence.
  • An ellipsis is a series of three dots (…) — no more, no less.
  • Titles of movies, television shows, plays, webinars and speeches go inside quotes (e.g. I look forward to watching “Big Brother” on TV each summer).
  • Titles of newspapers, magazines, websites and blog sites are italicized (e.g. Pittsburgh Magazine, The Huffington Post).
  • Punctuation is placed outside of parenthesis. A majority of the bulleted items on this list can be used as examples.
  • Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks. For example: He said, “Let’s enjoy the warm weather.”

For more information, check out the Public Relations Society of America’s style guide at www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/GuidelinesLogos/PRSAStyleGuide.pdf or the Associated Press Stylebook’s website at www.apstylebook.com. Keep reading our blog for more grammar and writing tips!

Brand Engagement on Instagram

Recent reports have shown that brand engagement — the percentage of fans or followers who interact with your post — on Instagram is much higher than any of the other major social networks,  including Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few reasons why this might be the case:

  • Visual content: Instagram users share photos and short videos.  In general, visual posts tend to get the most engagement on all social media platforms, not just Instagram.
  • Visibility: There are fewer brands on Instagram than other social networks. Because of this, brands aren’t filtered out for more “relevant” content like they are on Facebook. This also means there isn’t an oversaturation of brands on the network to make people feel like it has become an advertising space. Also, almost all brand posts you see aren’t paid ads, whereas on Facebook, you are much more likely to see a brand’s post if it is an ad.
  • Time & Money: Brands have higher budgets and more time to devote to Instagram. Brands can take time to set up higher quality photos and put more thought into their short videos than the average user, making them more visually appealing and engaging.
  • Demographic: The average Instagram user is younger than the average Facebook user, and the younger demographic is more likely to interact with brands on social.
Red Bull has been said to be one of the top-performing brands in terms of engagement.

Red Bull has been said to be one of the top-performing brands on Instagram  in terms of engagement.

Is your brand using Instagram? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

Formatting the Press Release: Announcing Events

When you send a press release or media alert, the ultimate goal is for publications to pick up the information and distribute it to their audiences. The information is critical to the message you want to convey, and so is its presentation.  In this series, we discuss tips to help you appropriately format press releases for publication. Your media contacts will appreciate it!

As public relations experts, our job includes making it easy for information to be shared and distributed on behalf of clients. When you’re dealing with dates, times and addresses, there are so many different ways to present that information. If you stick with the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook guidelines—typically followed by journalists and public relations practitioners—you’ll make it much easier for reporters to post your event announcement as-is.  Here are a few tips to help you craft your announcement:

Annual Events

  • Spell out first through ninth when they indicate a sequence in time. Digits and letter suffixes should be used with numbers 10 and higher (e.g., the Second Annual Car Cruise, the 10th Annual Book Sale). On a related note, you should never refer to an event happening for the first time as the “First Annual”—it should be the “inaugural” event.

Dates

  • When using specific dates, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. (e.g, Her birthday is on Aug. 19; or I’m taking the day off on Sept. 26, 2014). The month name is always spelled out when it is being used alone or when it is paired with only a year (August 1986).
  •  Don’t use shorthand for dates (6/27/14)
  • Only use digits (no letter suffixes) in dates (June 1, not June 1st)

Addresses

  • When used with a complete address, abbreviate St., Ave. and Blvd. All others are spelled out (e.g., 100 Market St., 300 Pennsylvania Road). Spell street names out when they’re not used with a formal address (the 100-block of Market Street).
  • Numbered streets should be spelled out First through Ninth. Digits and letter suffixes should be used with numbers 10 and higher (100 First Ave., 300 57th St.).

Times

  • Use a.m. and p.m. (period after the first and second letter)
  • Use noon and midnight instead of figures (please don’t use 12 noon or 12 midnight). Similarly, avoid redundancies—write 10 p.m. rather than 10 p.m. tonight.
  • Eliminate the double zero in times (5 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m.)

Want to learn more? Check out the Public Relations Society of America’s style guide at www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/GuidelinesLogos/PRSAStyleGuide.pdf or the AP Stylebook’s website at www.apstylebook.com. Check back for more tips on the blog!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things – Market Square

Market Square has undergone quite the transformation in recent years. Because of its proximity to the Yearick-Millea office, it’s one of our favorite places to visit, especially during the warm summer months.

A mix of old and new, the historic downtown Pittsburgh district offers restaurants, shopping and plenty of summer activities. During the weekdays, you’ll find office workers taking a break to enjoy the weather at the many open tables. The “Summer in the Square” programming sponsored by Market Square Merchants Association and supported by the Pittsburgh Downtown partnership provides free live performances and events all summer. Be sure to check out:

Mellow Mondays: Live acoustic entertainment from noon to 1 p.m.

Tuesday: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Reading Room, where visitors can sample a few of the programs offered at the library from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mid-Week Music Wednesdays: Live bands from noon to 1 p.m.

Farmers Market Thursdays: Shop a variety a vendors (produce, desserts, wine) each Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. now through Oct. 30.

Market Square Farmers Market

Market Square Farmers Market

If you’re in the area Monday through Friday, make sure to stop in to the Yearick-Millea office to say hi!