Tag Archives: used to

Using Word Endings in Police Reports

Speaking is not the same as writing, even though we use the same words for both activities. So making the transfer from talking to writing can create difficulties, especially if you’re new to report writing.

Difficulties in transferring from one to the other especially show up in word endings. When we talk, we naturally run sounds together, and we tend to omit letters. When you’re talking, that’s not a problem. But those omitted letters will detract from the professionalism of a report you’re writing.

For example, listen to yourself while you read this sentence aloud:

Bill tried to find the source of the contraband.

Chances are you ran the “d” in “tried” together with the “t” in “to.” Everyone does it!

Here’s the problem, though: Are you going to remember to write that -ed ending, since you don’t hear it? All too often, officers write sentences like this: Bill try to find the source of the contraband.  INCORRECT

Here’s another one. Again, listen to yourself read this sentence aloud:

The memo lists the days and times for next month’s meetings.

Chances are you omitted the final “s” in “lists”: It’s difficult to say correctly, especially when you’re talking fast. Unfortunately, the sentence may look like this when an officer writes it: The memo list the days and times for next month’s meetings. INCORRECT

Let’s try two more. Here are phrases that often omit the -ed ending: supposed to and used to.

I used to work every holiday. CORRECT

We’re supposed to receive a raise next month. CORRECT

Professional writers are careful to use that final “d.” Are you?