Consider this non-sentence: “As we were inspecting the house and ceiling with the consultant who noted the loose shingles.”
It is as though the writer felt that to avoid
a lengthy sentence it might be best to stop
even though the words do not have the requisite subject and verb.
These examples of run-on sentences
could have been corrected by using the
semicolon instead of the comma. Most of
the time, semicolons separate complete
thoughts that relate closely to each other.
For example: “Joe is in charge of support
staff; Sallie is in charge of managers.
The semicolon can also be used as a way
of grouping a concept that already uses a
comma. Take this sentence: “He went to
Taos, New Mexico, New York, New York,
and Chicago, Illinois.” It seems jumbled and
we can’t tell the cities from the states eas-
ily. It should be written “He went to Taos,
New Mexico; New York, New York; and
Chicago, Illinois. Here, the semicolons help
group the city and state for easy reading.
To face the challenge of having younger
claims writers evolve into the best genera-
tion of writers and editors, insurers must
redouble their training efforts, focusing
on some of the generational gaffes that
can keep young writers from excelling in
the world of claims adjusting.
Gary Blake, Ph.D., (garyblake725@
gmail.com) is director of The Com-
munication Workshop, a Florida-based
company that offers onsite seminars
and online webinars devoted to helping
claims and other business profession-
als improve their writing. He is the
author of The Elements of Business
Writing, used as a text at more than 100
Reading letters or emails aloud works well
as a training tool, but it is also effective for
those reviewing any correspondence being
sent out on behalf of the company.
-William “Bubba” Ryan, CEO
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