Chapter XIX. Business Exposition
$91. Exposition is explanation. It sets forth underlying principles. If it describes or narrates, it is only to get at principles. If yon give the look of a machine, you are describing. If you tell how it is put together, or how it works, or why it works, or why it is good for a certain purpose, you are expounding. Your description of it becomes an expository description. Whether a given piece of writing is to be called description, narration, or exposition depends upon its chief aim. If you are setting out to explain, your use of description and narration must be kept subordinate to the principle aimed at. And your temper must be cool. Explanation is the coolest of all forms of writing.
A glance into the current number of several trade journals will show you that apart from news items they consist almost entirely of expositions. A large proportion of these are answers to that common business question. How? Note these titles: How I keep my personal account; Wrong methods made right; Business methods in a pioneer country; A system for mailing; How to keep tab on raw materials; Looking after details; Successful ways of approach; Eccentric ways of saving money; Handling a mailing list; Electric smelting of pig iron; Means of overcoming resistance; How life-insurance can serve you.
A second sort of exposition answers the question Why? You can see this from such titles as: Why rents are lower; Reasons for buying in April; The secret of coal shortage; Factors that entered into the panic; Human motives in answering ads; Causes of failure; Grounds for strike-breaking; The trouble with the newspapers.
A third type of explanation is that which classifies. It answers the question, What kinds? This is the type which is commonest in scientific works. A work on botany, for example, is devoted to explaining the common traits which group plants into families, orders, genera, species, and varieties.
A fourth type is exposition by definition. It is easy to see that explanation of a class term becomes a definition. Note that a definition is not a description. We describe an individual, but we define a class. We describe a particular horse, but we define "horse." Strictly speaking, nobody ever saw "horse." It is an abstract notion, an invention of the mind, a sort of composite photograph of all horses. What we see is a horse, some individual of a particular color; but "horse" has no particular color.
We must presently illustrate these four types of explanation: exposition of method, exposition of cause, exposition of kinds, exposition of a class. First however we must note that each of these four types may be less practical or more practical. Each may be merely scientific or it may be "applied." Each may be less functional or more functional. You may explain the theory of gravity in a purely scientific mood, little dreaming of its practical application. But the minute you want to sell your gravity engine or your gravity binder, gravitation becomes a practical principle. Then you have to show the customer how your device enables him to cash in the law of gravity. There is probably no scientific principle so abstruse that it may not be given a practical twist by a skillful business writer. Indeed, there is a whole school of philosophers who believe that it is only because man is a practical animal that he has any scientific interest or intellect. Of course the scientific man won't admit and shouldn't admit that his investigations are all actuated by the love of money. To do so would make him hasty and careless, for you can't safely cash a scientific principle before its credit is established at the bank of truth. But sooner or later everybody makes money out of every scientific abstraction.
This being so, let us take two illustrations for each of our four types. Let each of the two be decently practical, but let the second be definitely framed with a view to selling goods; let it be taken from some good advertisement. Thus we shall get for each type a less pointed and a more pointed exposition: an ordinary business explanation and an advertising explanation.
§ 92. 1. An Ordinary Business Exposition Of Method. How To Deposit
In making your deposit always head your deposit ticket with your name exactly as you wrote it when leaving your signature with the Paying Teller, otherwise, it might be credited to some other person. Also, fill in the amount of your deposit as plainly and as legibly as possible. After the receiving teller has checked off your deposit ticket, it is passed on to the individual bookkeeper who has charge of your account. He is only human, and any bad figures on your ticket may lead to mistakes and consequent irritation to you.
Always make out your own Deposit Ticket The Receiving Teller should not be asked to do this. There are generally other people in line, and they, as well as the Teller, have a right to complain if he has to stop and do this for you.
List your money separately as gold and silver, and, in entering your checks, write against each amount the name of the Bank drawn on, and the town, as plainly and briefly as possible. Then add the various amounts and hand the slip to the teller.
When depositing currency arrange the bills so that the ones and twos will be together, the fives together, the tens together, and so on. Have the bills straight and face upward. With the gold and silver follow the same idea. If your deposit is large put the money in packages and label with amount and your name.
By following these directions you will put the Receiving Teller under everlasting obligations. He has a very short time in which to accomplish a great deal, and his position at best is nerve racking.
In endorsing a check, either simply write your name on the back, or write
"Pay to the order of............Bank" and then sign your name. When a check is undoubtedly intended for you, and your name is not stated correctly on its face, endorse it exactly as it is made payable, and then endorse as you generally do. For instance, if a check intended for Brown Bros. & Co. is made payable to Brown Bros., it should be endorsed first Brown Bros., and then Brown Bros. & Co.