Category Archives: 4. Classroom Exercises

Handling Hyphens

[Instructors: Downloads PDFs of the exercise and its key at the end of this post.]

When you join two or more words to form a single modifier preceding a noun, add a temporary hyphen: a two-year-old child. If the same words appear after the noun, a hyphen is usually not necessary: the child was two years old. However, some compound modifiers are permanently hyphenated, such as first-class, well-known, part-time, and old-fashioned. Check a dictionary to be sure.


Hyphen Rules to Remember

  • Do hyphenate a compound modifier before a noun. (She ran a home-based business.)
  • Do hyphenate permanent compounds before or after a noun (The office was old-fashioned.)
  • Do not hyphenate combinations including adverbs that end in ly (Our newly decorated offices look great.)
  • Do not add hyphens involving prefixes such as non, pre, over, and super (nonabrasive, nonbearing, preseason, overpaid, and supersmart).

Add or delete hyphens as appropriate in the following sentences. Mark “C” if a sentence is correct.

  1. Managers must revise the company’s five year business plan.
  2. The commission will consider every taxpayer inquiry on a case by case basis.
  3. We sought up to date information from the consultant who was well known for his expertise.
  4. Only a highly regarded architect will be considered for the proposed building.
  5. The contract included a number of non-binding but important suggestions.
  6. All employees participate in on the job training after being hired.
  7. The doctor’s receptionist made a follow up appointment for next month.
  8. It is the receptionist’s job to follow up after a doctor performs some procedures.
  9. Even the most commonly used ingredients were unavailable after the storm.
  10. Although I worked only part time, I was given two weeks of vacation time.
  11. Antonio used his two week vacation to travel to Alaska.
  12. Attorneys provided many documents in the pre-trial period of the case.
  13. We were afraid the manager would give another long winded speech.
  14. If you follow the step by step instructions, you will have no trouble assembling the bicycle.
  15. Most speakers provide a question and answer period after they finish.

Handling Hyphens Exercise

Handling Hyphens Key


Informational E-Mail Rhetorical Analysis: Nike VP E-Mails Workers

Instructors: Use this real-world sample of a direct message as a way to solidify students’ understanding of the genre’s structure and writing strategies.


Jeff Nichols, Nike’s vice president of workplace design and connectivity, sent the e-mail below outlining employees’ return to the sportswear global giant’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Read the e-mail and answer the questions that follow.

WHQ Teammates,

By now you should have received a message from Mo about our return to the workplace, and some of you may have also heard from your geo VP/GM. Here, we’d like to share additional details and guidance for those of you who are office-based outside of Retail and Air MI, with office locations at World Headquarters and returning to the workplace in the coming months.

First, and most important, we can’t wait to see you in person! While it’s true many of us feel productive working remotely, there’s something about spending time in the office with your team. WHQ is the physical representation of Nike’s heart and soul. Coming back together means the opportunity to honor our legacy and create the future together. And we’ll do it with added flexibility – because we know that work happens anywhere, not just in an office.

WHQ’s Phased Return 

Throughout the pandemic, WHQ has remained open and supported business-critical work with stringent processes in place around health and safety. Starting in June, we’ll gradually open campus for more employees, and ramp up services and amenities over the summer. We’ll work in close partnership with functional leaders to welcome teams back to WHQ, in accordance with government guidance and employee safety considerations. The hope is that by September, all buildings on campus will be open at reduced capacity.

Supporting Our Flexible Working Model at WHQ 

As Mo shared, the current plan is to move to a new model that will allow all office-based teammates to work remotely up to two days a week, with the expectation that we come into the office at least three days a week. Over time, we anticipate that norms will develop around the days we’re together, and we’ll learn and assess what works best.

Given what we’ve learned in the last year – the need to allow for more flexibility, remain agile and ensure greater equity – campus will look, feel and operate a bit differently. In fact, this was the journey we had been on pre-pandemic, designing our workplace and creating environments that adapt to future ways of working and enhance the employee experience. Like so many other initiatives, this work accelerated in the past year and you’ll notice changes to amenities and services that align to our new ways of working (and living). One example is the addition of more flexible, shared workspaces and collaboration areas. Another is mobile food ordering; you’ll see this same capability for on-campus food options. These changes, with more to come, are detailed in the WHQ Field Guide on Workvivo.

We’ll continue to leverage technology to support our flexible working model and our safe return to the workplace – developing a reservation system that adheres to capacity limits and upgrading campus technology to better support virtual meeting attendees.

We’ll still follow strong, established safety protocols around enhanced cleaning, social distancing and face coverings. You can read more in the Field Guide or in our COVID-19 and Workplace Practices at WHQ FAQ. We continue to follow the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules for COVID-19, including the requirement that all individuals wear face coverings at the workplace, regardless of vaccination status. Also implemented is a clean desk policy, which allows for social distancing with the mandate to clear all items from the desk you are using each day.

What’s Next 

We’ll provide more information in July, after Oregon OSHA’s next planned update. Until then, please check the WHQ space on Workvivo for regular service updates, program announcements and other campus-related content. We know you have questions, and we have some answers; check Zero for our Return to Workplace FAQ, which we’ll continue to update. You’re also welcome to send me thoughts and feedback.

Please remember, we are all learning and evolving the way we work together. This flexible model is new to all of us, and we’ll continue to seek your input and make adjustments as needed over time. Thank you for your continued patience and resilience. We’re excited to see you soon.

Jeff Nichols
VP, WD+C, Americas

Rhetorical Analysis

  1. Which category/type of message is the e-mail? Support your answer.
  2. In which paragraph do you find the main idea? Why is it placed there?
  3. In which paragraphs do you find the details supporting the main idea?
  4. How does the e-mail close?
  5. Examine the salutation. Why does Nichols address readers as he does?
  6. What purpose do the headings serve?
  7. Why does the author use short paragraphs?
  8. How does the author build buy-in to the new procedures?
  9. What techniques does Nichols employ to ensure readability, and could he do more to make the document easier to read/skim?
  10. What have you learned from analyzing this real-world example? How will you incorporate what you’ve learned into your writing process for business documents?

Classroom Exercise_Rhetorical Analysis

Key_Rhetorical Analysis Exercise


Accurate Apostrophe Use

To correctly use the apostrophe, follow these five steps. 

  1. Look for possessive construction. When two nouns appear together often first noun shows ownership of, or a special relationship to, the second noun.

the girl‘s car

one month‘s time

the employees’ duties

  1. Reverse the nouns using a prepositional phrase. Examine the ownership word. Does it end in an “s” sound?

car of the girl (ownership word, girl, does not end in an “s” sound)

time of one month = (ownership word, month, does not end in an “s” sound)

duties of employees (ownership word, employees, does end in an “s” sound)

  1. If the ownership word does NOT end in an “s” sound, add an apostrophe and “s.”

car of the girl (ownership word does not end in an “s”) = girl’s car

time of one month (ownership word does not end in an “s”) = one month’s time

  1. If the ownership word DOES end in an “s” sound, usually add only an apostrophe.

duties of employees (ownership word ends in an “s”) = employees’ duties

rent of six months (ownership word ends in an “s”) = six months’ rent

  1. If an extra syllable can be easily pronounced in the possessive form, add an apostrophe and “s” to singular nouns. Relatively few words and some names (proper nouns) fall in this category.

desk of the boss = boss’s desk (extra syllable can be pronounced

Try your skill in transforming words into the possessive case in the following. Write the correct form in the space provided. Write C if the sentence is correct.

  1. All of our customers e-mail addresses are now updated.
  2. Some of our customers prefer not to receive e-mail messages.
  3. In only ten months time, you can expect a profit.
  4. The IRSs goal is to simplify tax form language.
  5. All applicants must pay a years rent in advance.
  6. The managers position was eliminated.
  7. My boss office is exceedingly neat.
  8. Harvard is Americas richest university.
  9. Our companys annual report is available online.
  10. Many artists paintings are displayed at the exhibit.
  11. The profits of all organizations are being affected by developing technologies and worldwide competition.
  12. How far do you think five dollars worth of gasoline will take us?
  13. To validate a contract, both parties signatures are necessary.
  14. Security officers checked all fans packages at two checkpoints.
  15. Mario and Juanas daughter is applying to law schools.

Accurate Apostrophe Exercise

Accurate Apostrophe Key