Type
Solution Manual
Book Title
Business Communication: Building Critical Skills 6th Edition
ISBN 13
978-0073403267

978-0073403267 Chapter 15 Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises

April 6, 2019
Module 15 - Choosing the Right Word
Module 15
Choosing the Right Word
LO 15-1 Recognize value in using the right words.
LO 15-2 Apply strategies for critical thinking in reading, writing, and beyond.
LO 15-3 Explain principles for word definition.
LO 15-4 Distinguish acceptable jargon from other types.
LO 15-5 Define words with similar sounds but different meanings.
Module Overview
Module 15 addresses word choice. Even students who have fairly strong vocabularies may find
themselves struggling occasionally to find the right word for the right rhetorical situation. Those
who don’t read regularly are likely to have even more difficulty.
Kitty and Steve suggest assigning Module 15 with Module 14 (“Editing for Grammar and
Punctuation”) and Module 16 (“Revising Sentences and Paragraphs”) early in your course so
students have time to review their challenges with language issues.
Teaching Tip: Despite obvious difficulties with language use, some students will
neglect seeking the help they need. Such students must understand that changes will
not occur until they take the initiative to learn. Some students’ proficiency with
language may be so poor that they will need to work with a tutor for the duration of
your course and, perhaps, beyond. Whatever the situation, establish and maintain
your standards for language use throughout your course. Communicate those
standards up front to your students.
Kitty and Steve also recognize that your students may represent a variety of communities whose
language forms and practices differ from standard edited English. We recommend, however,
using standard edited English as the cornerstone of your course, as most schools, businesses, and
organizations prefer it.
Teaching Tip: To encourage students to read more, consider requiring them to give
short synopses of major news stories appearing in such business-oriented
publications as Bloomberg Businessweek or The Wall Street Journal. They can do so
in one-page memos to you or as oral presentations (perhaps two students per class,
assigned throughout the term). Alternatively, have “pop” current events quizzes
based on readings from the same publications. (Direct students to find these
publications in your school or local public library.)
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
15-1
In-Class Exercise: For homework, have students identify five words whose meanings
they don’t understand. The next class period, have students share these words with
the rest of the class; see how many words working as a group they can define.
Create a master list from what remains, distribute it, and use it as the basis of a
vocabulary quiz in one week. Repeat this exercise throughout the term as necessary.
Kitty and Steve also group words into four basic categories:
Accurate Words
Appropriate Words
Familiar Words
Technical Jargon
Use PP 15-3 and PP 15-4 to show students these categories.
What’s in This Supplement
This supplement is organized around the major questions posed in
Module 15. It covers
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises Page 256
Part 2: Answers to Textbook Assignments Page 267
Part 3: Appendixes with Handouts/Transparency Masters Page 270
PowerPoint presentations can be found at our Web page at www.mhhe.com/bcs6e.
Questions (with answers) suitable for quizzes are in the Instructors Test Bank. For student
practice quizzes with answers, see our Web page.
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
15-2
Module 15 - Choosing the Right Word
Does using the right word really matter? LO 15-1
The right word helps you look good and get the response you want.
Choosing the right word is important in business communication—Kitty and
Steve would argue that it’s critical. But many students choose words
indiscriminately. Some also assume that words have only one definition, or
that regardless of audience or situation, words always mean the same thing
even if they have multiple definitions. PP 15-5 through 15-10 show some of
the considerations for understanding words.
Therefore, it’s critical to illustrate the differences between denotative and
connotative language—use PP 15-5 and PP 15-8 to show them.
Teaching Tip: Your English as Second Language (ESL) learners
may struggle more than native speakers with issues of
connotation and denotation. While there’s no quick fix for
themClanguage acquisition typically occurs only with extensive
experience—encourage these students to read as much as possible, as well as interact
with a broad range of native speakers. If your school has one, promote a
“conversation partner” program or, perhaps, start one of your own by assigning a
partner who is a native speaker to an ESL learner. (You could make this a volunteer
program, perhaps offering extra credit for students willing to participate.)
Teaching Tip: Ask students to share what slang words they use with peers. What do
these words mean? How did they learn them? Why do they use such words?
In-Class Exercise: Give students 10-15 minutes to complete Exercise 15.13 on p.
268. Afterward, have students share their solutions with the rest of the class.
In particular, words with negative connotations prove problematic in business communication.
Writers who use such words may miscommunicate their true meaning or inadvertently insult or
alienate their readers. Examples of such words include guess, argue, and stubborn. They can
also include words that have sexist meanings (as well as racist, ageist, and non-“people first”
meanings, see Module 3), such as salesman and manpower.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
15-3
In-Class Exercise: For 10-15 minutes, have students share words they believe have negative
connotations. Create a master list and then have students create examples that use these
words negatively. What positive alternatives to the negative words exist? Have students
rewrite their examples to avoid using the negative words? Have students put their solutions
on the board and discuss them.
As PP 15-9 suggests, writers should also avoid stuffy words, such as
commence or utilize, when simpler alternatives are available. There are
exceptions to using shorter words, especially if the shorter word has a
negative connotation.
Teaching Tip: Students sometimes point to professions like
law, medicine, or accounting and ask, “But if longer, difficult words are less
acceptable, why do these highly respected fields use such terms?” It’s a good
question. Ask your students: What do they believe are the reasons for using such
words in these fields? What examples can they think of? How does it make a
person feel when he or she doesn’t understand what a lawyer, physician, or
accountant is talking about? Should this be the case?
Bypassing occurs when two people use the same word to mean different things. Bypassing is
particularly dangerous in situations where lives may be at risk. Using accurate words is one way
to minimize bypassing.
In-Class Exercise: Have students share for 10-15 minutes experiences they may have
had with bypassing, either at work or in their personal lives. What went wrong?
How did they feel? What could they have done to solve the problem? How might
they apply their solutions to business communication situations?
In-Class Exercise: Give students 10-15 minutes to complete Exercise 15.12 (p. 268).
Afterward, have students share their answers. Ask students what could be done to
improve meaning in the statements.
Thinking critically LO 15-2
Critical thinking is one of those skills we really can’t teach so much as encourage in our students.
Yet, critical thinking is vital to a good life, both in terms of personal situations and business ones.
PP 15-11 shows some of the considerations for learning to think
critically:
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
15-4
Module 15 - Choosing the Right Word
In its most basic sense, critical thinking means using precise words and asking questions
about what you read and hear.
In its most advanced sense, critical thinking means asking about and challenging
fundamental assumptions.
Teaching Tip: Most students do think critically in “everyday” situations, even if they
don’t realize that is the skill they are employing. Give them comparable examples,
such as when a person spends a great deal of time explaining the merits of, say, an
automobile. Using critical thinking skills, what might the students surmise the
person is really trying to do? Then, using advertisements for common products, ask
students to decipher the nature of the persuasion. Is it using peer pressure? An
appeal to vanity or culture? Chances are, students will be able to see quickly how
critical thinking is a practical, important skill.
In-Class Exercise: Ask students to bring in a copy of an editorial from a
well-regarded business publication. Then ask them to spend 10-15 minutes analyzing
the editorial for what the student believes are the writers values – politically,
economically, or socially, for instance. What are the “markers” that allow the
student to determine this? Is there anything about the editorial’s title or illustrations,
if any, that reinforce the writers values? You might ask students to summarize their
findings in a brief memo to the rest of the class.
How do words get their meanings? LO 15-3
Most meanings depend on usage.
New words and phrases, particularly slang, seem to pop up every day—the latest catch phrase is
next week’s old news.
The challenge to novice writers is to recognize that much of what we describe as a word’s
meaning is dependent on usage. Dictionaries help, but not all dictionaries address the same
issues. Descriptive dictionaries suggest how a word is actually used. In prescriptive
dictionaries, on the other hand, words are defined as they should be used by a panel of experts.
Teaching Tip: Have students bring the dictionaries they use to class. Check the
inside cover or first couple of pagesCwhat kind of dictionary is it? Ask them to
consider how this might affect their choice of words and the appropriateness of them
in their writing.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
15-5
Organizational culture and discourse community also affect word choice. Engineers, for
instance, may define “failure” differently than people outside of the field. But few if any writers
will communicate only with internal audiences. Therefore, it’s critical for students to understand
that how the audience perceives the words they use is critical in the writing process, not simply
the words privileged by them or their organization.
Teaching Tip: Have students bring to class examples of correspondence—perhaps
sales letters or government publications—whose language seems open to
interpretation. What meaning did the student get from specific passages where the
language seems interpretable? Is this the same meaning that others in the room get?
What language alternatives could be used to make the correspondence more clear?
In-Class Exercise: Assign students to locate both descriptive and prescriptive
dictionaries. Have them look up common words, such as verbal, imply, and bad.
How do the definitions differ? Which definitions seem most appropriate? Why?
Does one dictionary seem to do a better job than another? Why or why not? Have
students discuss the implications of privileging one type of dictionary over the other.
Is it OK to use jargon? LO 15-4
If it’s essential.
Jargon that may be acceptable in business communication includes technical language
common to a field and business slang. In general, writers should use a plain English equivalent
where possible; however, writers may want to use jargon in documents where it establishes
credibility, such as in a job application letter or a report to a highly technical audience.
Businessese is arcane or dated language that should be avoided.
Teaching Tip: Use PP 15-12 to introduce the concept
of jargon. Then ask students to brainstorm words and
phrases common to business. Ask them to define these
phrases, where possible. Finally, have students share
which words and phrases are technical language,
business slang, and businessese. Create a master list
for students to use throughout the quarter.
In-Class Exercise: Use Appendix 15-A to have students identify words and phrases
that may not be acceptable. (The letter example is purposefully outdated to help
students more easily spot trite phrases.) Which are forms of technical language?
Business slang? Businessese? If words or phrases are unacceptable, what words
could be used to replace them?
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
15-6
Module 15 - Choosing the Right Word
What words confuse some writers? LO 15-5
Words with similar sounds can have very different meanings.
As PP 15-14 and Appendix 15-B through Appendix 15-D
show, some writers confuse words that sound or are spelled
similarly. (More such words are included in the textbook.) While
seeing such words in use through reading will help eliminate some
of their confusion, you should probably spend time in class going
through these words.
Teaching Tip: Have short quizzes over these words periodically, perhaps as extra
credit. Expect students to be able to define the words and also use them in a
sentence. You can use Appendix 15-B through Appendix 15-D.
In-Class Exercise: Assign as homework Exercise 15.19 on p. 269. Have students
bring their solutions to class to share. Are there disagreements over which words are
correct? If there are, have students review the words in the dictionary of their
choice. Which ultimately are the best solutions?
Last Word: Some of your students will have limited vocabularies and will need help
to increase their abilities with language. Do your best to encourage them, both by
completing assignments in your class and by reading more. But maintain your
standards for language throughout the courseCstudents struggling with choosing the
right word will need to understand now, while there are resources and time, that they
must take charge of their own efforts to acquire stronger language skills.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
15-7

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