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Report Correction

Aim: This exercise will help you to avoid common errors in reports.
Note: This exercise is also available in MS Word format by clicking here.

Instructions:
  1. Read the letter below and choose the correct option from the drop-down list
  2. You will see a tick beside the options if you have chosen correctly
  3. To see an explanation, choose the 'Show the Answer' option, click on the tick, or press the 'Check Answer' button at the end of the report
  4. When you have finished, you can read the corrected report.

CONTACT COMPUTER GRAPHICS

MEMORANDUM
 

To:
From:
Date:
Subject:
S.M. Chan, General Manager




At the monthly staff meeting on , you requested information about staff satisfaction the new microwave oven. The aim of this report is to present this information, and make suggestions about how to improve the situation.


, since the move to the new office in Kowloon Bay, staff have had difficulty in finding a nearby place to buy lunch. the new office is in a factory area, and restaurants. A Sharpe R-3R29 microwave oven purchased so that staff could eat hot lunches at work. However, some staff expressed dissatisfaction with the microwave.


  surveyed by questionnaire .


    In general, staff not satisfied the power size of the microwave. Some were with the location of the microwave, and most were with its reliability (see ). On analysing the data, two distinct groups of staff emerged. The first group were 40 staff who had usually eaten in the office when the office was in Central. The second group of 20 staff had usually eaten outside in Central.

    : Staff Satisfaction  with the Microwave Oven

    Feature Staff Satisfaction
    Group A
    Usually ate in the office (n=40)
    Group B
    Usually ate outside the office (n=20)
    Both Groups
    Size 55% 35% 48%
    Power 30% 25% 28%
    Location 70% 75% 71%
    Reliability 95% 95% 95%
    Average 62.5% 57.5% 60.5%


    Only of Group B staff said that oven was powerful enough for their needs. Also, less than a third of Group A staff were satisfied, giving a total for both groups of less than 30%. Staff responded that took too long for the oven to cook their food, and they had to queue at lunchtime.


    , about Group B staff said that the microwave was too small. For example, one member of staff that his 10" pizza would not fit in the oven. However, more than half of Group A staff were satisfied, giving a total satisfaction for both groups of just under 50%.


    About of both groups of staff thought that the location of the oven was acceptable. rest of the staff agree on a better position for the oven.


    reliability, the staff were satisfied. Three did not understand how to operate the oven.


The Findings show that staff, especially staff in Group B, were not satisfied with the power and size of the microwave. We should therefore consider buying a bigger and microwave.


There are we consider, :


    Given that we need a better microwave, we return the microwave to the shop and ask them if we can buy a bigger one, and only pay the difference. I suggest this first.


    If the shop will not take back the old microwave I recommend a new one, and keeping the old one another part of the office for the staff do not like the present location. Alternatively, we could the old microwave second hand.


    We let the staff arrange a system for different staff to use the microwave at different .

 

 

 

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Answer

Your current score is:

CONTACT COMPUTER GRAPHICS

MEMORANDUM
 

To: S.M. Chan, General Manager
From: Samantha Ng, Office Manager (Your answer: The job title should be in title case.)
Date:  
Subject:  Report on Staff Satisfaction with the Microwave Oven ( Your answer:
The subject heading should be in title case, and should not have a full stop at the end.
)

1. Introduction ( Your answer: . Sections should be numbered so that it is easy for people to refer to sections of your report; e.g. "You said in Section 1 that...")

At the monthly staff meeting on , you requested information about staff satisfaction with the new microwave oven. (Your answer: The correct preposition here is 'with'. Click here for more information on satisfaction.)

The aim of this report is to present this information, and make suggestions about how to improve the situation. (Nothing) (Your answer: 'This is because the staff are not satisfied.' is a Finding.
'Improving the situation would improve morale.' is a Conclusion.
'I surveyed the staff to find their opinions.' is part of the Method.
'It is hoped that this will improve staff morale.'  assumes that morale is bad, but this can only be shown by the Findings, which have not been described yet.
)

2. Background (Your answer: Sections should be numbered so that it is easy for people to refer to sections of your report; e.g. "You said in Section 2 that...". ' to the Situation'  is redundant, and should be omitted to make the heading concise.)

(Nothing) (Your answer: 'As we all know' and 'We all know' are not appropriate expressions for formal written reports, as they are more suitable for persuasive speaking. They are also redundant, as if everyone knows, then it is not necessary to write it.

Since the move to the new office in Kowloon Bay, staff have had difficulty in finding a nearby place to buy lunch.

This is because the new office is in a factory area, (Your answer: 'This' refers to the situation of staff having difficulty. 'It' is wrong, because it would refer to 'lunch', and therefore would mean 'Lunch is because...'.  'It is due to' and 'This is due to' are wrong because after 'due to' the grammar of verb 'to be' is usually 'being', not 'is'; e.g. 'This is due to the new office being in a factory area...').

and there is a lack of restaurants (Your answer: 'lack' can be a verb or a noun. As a verb, this part of the sentence would be 'a factory area which lacks restaurants.'  However, 'there is lacking' is bad grammar because, 'there' does not mean in Kowloon Bay. 'There is' is the same 'there is' as in 'There is a test soon.' The correct preposition after 'lack', when it is a noun, is 'of', so 'there is a lack' is wrong. Click here for more information on how to use 'lack'.

A Sharpe R-3R29 microwave oven was (Your answer: this is a past tense passive voice. The passive voice uses the verb 'to be' before the main verb, and the oven was purchased in the past, and is singular, so 'was' is correct.)  purchased so that staff could eat hot lunches at work.

However, some staff have (Your answer: )  expressed dissatisfaction with the microwave. The main verb is 'expressed' and the '_ed' ending shows that it must be past tense or present perfect. If it was past tense there would not be an auxiliary verb, and the correct option would be (Nothing). However, as this option is not available, the verb must be present perfect. Due to the word 'some' the uncountable noun 'staff' is thought of as a plural here because you can't have 'some' of one person, so 'has' is wrong and 'have' is correct. )

3. Method (Your answer: Sections should be numbered so that it is easy for people to refer to sections of your report; e.g. "You said in Section 1 that...". The Method section can also be called the 'Methodology' or the 'Procedure', but they should be numbered.)

 
Sixty (Your answer: ) staff (Your answer: ) were (Your answer: ) surveyed by questionnaire... (In the second box, 'staff'  can only be plural if you are referring to the staffs of more than one company. A staff is like a team, in that sometimes a writer or speaker is thinking of the staff as one group, especially when they act together; and sometimes as individuals that make up a group, especially when they act or think differently. In a questionnaire situation it is normal to expect staff to reply differently, and therefore they are viewed as individuals. 'Members of staffs' is wrong because there is only one company's staff being questionnaired. Click here to learn more about 'staff'.

In the first box, '60% of' is correct in its preposition, but wrong in its style. It is bad style to start a sentence with a number, so the number should be written as words. As 'Sixty' is a word, and does not need the preposition 'of' because it is not a percentage or a fraction, it is the right answer.

In the third box you should have chosen a form of the verb 'to be', because it is part of a passive voice. As 'staff' is viewed as a plural in this situation (see above), the correct word is 'were'.

from (Your answer: the dash ( - ) between the two numbers means 'to'. Of the options, only 'from' and 'between' are used to refer to two dates. 'From' matches the 'to', and 'between' matches 'and'; e.g. between the first and fifth day of next month.).

4. Findings (Your answer: 'Findings' should have an 's' at the end because questionnaires almost always ask more than one question, which results in a plural number of findings. Also, report headings should be numbered for clarity.)

    4.1 Introduction (Your answer: It is important to have an introduction to your Findings to summarise them for busy people who do not have time to read all of them, and to give readers an overview of what to expect in the Findings. This helps them to understand the Findings more easily, because the information is not totally new.

    Click here for more details of the numbering system.)

    In general, staff were not (Your answer: 'satisfied' is an adjective, and therefore should have part of the verb to be in front of it. The questionnaire took place in the past, and is finished, so the word you choose should show the past tense. 'Staff' is a plural here, because if they were singular the noun phrase would be 'the staff', or 'our staff'. The past tense plural form of the verb 'to be' is 'were'.)

    satisfied with (Your answer: 'with' is the correct preposition between 'satisfied' and the performance or quality of something) the power and size (Your answer: 'power' and 'size' make a list of two items. 'Size' is the last item in the list. It is a rule of writing lists in formal English that you should write 'and' before the last item in the list. '&' is too informal for a report.) of the microwave.

    Some were satisfied with  the location of the microwave, (Your answer: After 'were' the part of speech is often  an adjective or a past tense verb, so 'were satisfy' and 'satisfaction' are not correct.  Objects and actions are 'satisfactory', but not 'satisfactory with'. Two adjective options left, 'satisfying' and 'satisfied'. Adjectives ending in '_ing' are the causes of feelings, but adjectives that describe the feeling itself end in '_ed'. Click here to find out more about 'satisfied'.)

    and most were satisfied (Your answer: See the previous explanation) with its reliability (see Table 1 (Your answer: This is a table. The word 'Figure' is used for the titles of charts, graphs and diagrams.)

    On analysing the data, two distinct groups of staff emerged. The first group were 40 staff who had usually eaten in the office when the office was in Central. The second group of 20 staff had usually eaten outside in Central.

    Table 1: Staff Satisfaction with the Microwave Oven (Your answer: This is a table. The word 'Figure' is used for the titles of charts, graphs and diagrams.)
     

    Feature Staff Satisfaction
    Group A
    Usually ate in the office (n=40)
    Group B
    Usually ate outside the office (n=20)
    Both Groups
    Size 55% 35% 48%
    Power 30% 25% 28%
    Location 70% 75% 71%
    Reliability 95% 95% 95%
    Average 62.5% 57.5% 60.5%

    4.2 Power (Your answer: 'Power' is the first feature described because it is the most important feature. This is because the satisfaction level is lowest for this feature. The organisation of the findings is from the feature with the least satisfaction level from staff to that with the most. This is because the writer wants to highlight the problems, and then lead into solutions. If the writer wanted to minimise the importance of the problems, they would start by describing the most satisfactory features first.

    Click here for more details of the numbering system.)

    Only a quarter of Group B staff (Your answer: '25' is wrong, as it is not a percentage. 'Less than a third' is not accurate enough. 'One quarter' does not have a hyphen, so the punctuation is not correct. Click here for more details on approximation.)

    said that the oven  (Your answer: 'a' and 'an' are both wrong because they mean an oven that the reader does not know about. 'The' and 'that' can both refer to the oven that the reader already knows about, but 'that' shows distance between the writer and the oven, which is not correct in this situation. For more information, see Unit 71 in the book 'English Grammar in Use', available in CILL. )

    was powerful enough for their needs.  Also, less than a third of Group A staff were satisfied, giving a total for both groups of less than 30%.

    Staff responded that it took too long for the oven to cook their food (Your answer: 'it' does not mean 'the oven' It is the subject of this 'that' clause, and is the same use of 'it' as in e.g. 'It is hot today.' So 'it' is the correct answer. 'He' is wrong because there is no male person in this situation. 'This' and 'that' are used to refer to previously-mentioned situations, but the previous situation here is about power, not cooking time.)

    and therefore (Your answer: This answer must show the link between the oven taking a long time to cook their food, and the staff having to queue. As this is a cause and effect relationship the correct word is 'therefore'. All the other options show addition, not cause and effect, and therefore do not show the relationship accurately. Click here for more on cause and effect.)

    they (Nothing) had to queue at lunchtime. (Your answer: The answer must be an adverb, because it gives more details about the next word, which is a verb phrase 'had to queue'. Therefore, 'frequent' is wrong, because its adverb is 'frequently'. 'Always' is wrong because it does not describe the situation accurately, in that the first people to use the microwave will not have to queue. Therefore it is an over-exaggeration, which is not suitable in workplace writing. 'A lot' is an adverb, but it usually goes after the verb; e.g. 'they had to queue a lot at lunchtime'.)

    4.3 Size (Your answer: 'Size' it the second most important feature of the oven as it is the second-most dissatisfactory. 4.3 continues the numbering system that was used previously.)

    In addition, (Your answer: 'Besides', 'moreover' and 'furthermore' all mean that the following information is more important than the previous information. This is both bad organisation and is not correct. 'On the other hand' is used to signal a change, for example from  positive to negative or satisfactory factors to dissatisfactory ones. However, staff are not satisfied with both the power and size of the oven, and therefore 'on the other hand' is wrong. 'In addition' is correct because size is an additional dissatisfactory factor.

    about two-thirds of Group B staff said that the microwave was too small. (Your answer: The options can be divided into two groups, fractions and non-fraction. The non-fractions, 'many', 'a number of ' and 'quite a few' are too inaccurate. The fractions should have a hyphen after the number, and an 's' after the second number (thirds) because the first number (two) is plural. The correct answer should also have the preposition 'of' to show that this is a fraction of the staff.)

    For example, one member of staff complained that his 10" pizza would not fit in the oven. (Your answer: The answer must be a verb because of the sentence structure. Therefore, 'complaint' is wrong because it is a noun. The member of staff said this in the past, and 'complaining' is not a past tense verb. Therefore, 'complained' is correct.)

    However, more than half of Group A staff were satisfied, giving a total satisfaction for both groups of just under 50%.

    4.4 Location (Your answer: The next least-satisfactory feature is the location of the microwave, and  '4.4' continues the numbering system from previous headings.)

    About three-quarters of both groups of staff (Your answer:  'Most' is not accurate enough. Of the fractions, only 'three-quarters' has a hyphen and an 's' at the end to agree with the plural 'three'.

    thought that the location of the oven was acceptable. The rest of the staff (Your answer: It is bad style to start a sentence with 'And' or 'But' ['In addition' and 'However' are better]. 'For' is wrong because the sentence does not have two clauses with a comma in the middle [Click here for more details on topicalisation errors ]. Therefore 'the rest of ' is correct.)

     did not agree on a better position for the oven. (Your answer: As in 'the rest of staff ' shows that staff are thought of as plural in this situation, 'doesn't' and 'does not' are wrong. In formal writing it is not usually appropriate to use apostrophes, so 'did not' is correct.)

    4.5 Reliability (Your answer: 'Reliability' is the final feature from Table 1, and the least important because staff are most satisfied with it. The number 4.5. continues the numbering system we are using.)

    Regarding reliability, (Your answer: 'As regard' is wrong because it always has an 's' at the end: 'As regards...'. 'For' is wrong, because it should be 'As for,...' 'Regarding to' and 'Concerning to' should not have 'to', so 'Regarding' is correct. )

    almost all of the staff were satisfied. (Your answer: '90%' is not accurate, as Table 1 gives a percentage of 95% for satisfaction with reliability. 'Just under' should not be used with 'all'.  'The majority of ' can mean any number over 50%, and therefore is not accurate. Therefore 'almost all of ' is correct.)

    Three members of staff did not understand how to operate the oven. (Your answer: 'Employee' is wrong because 'Three' is plural, so the correct answer would have to be 'employees'.
    'Staffs' is wrong because there is only one staff in this situation, which is the staff of Contact Computer Graphics. ['Staff' refers to a group of people, of whom each one is a 'member of staff'.]
    'Members of staff' is correct because as there are three, 'members' should be plural, but as there is only one staff, it should be singular.

5. Conclusions (Your answer:   After the Findings there are usually either a 'Discussion of Findings' section or the Conclusions section. Note that both end in 's' because there is more than one findings and usually more than one conclusion. If you read the section below you will see that it not only summarises the Findings, but also makes a general suggestion, which leads into the Recommendations. Therefore this section is the Conclusion. The number 5. continues the numbering system we are using.)

The Findings show that staff, especially staff in Group B, were not satisfied with the power and size of the microwave. We should therefore consider buying a bigger and more powerful microwave. (Your answer: 'Powerfuller' is wrong because comparative adjectives for adjectives of more than two syllables, such as 'pow?/font>er?/font>ful', which has three syllables, do not get '_er' endings, but have 'more' in front of them. 'Much' can only be used to define 'more'; e.g. 'much more powerful'. 'More power' is wrong because 'power' is not an adjective, it is a noun. Therefore 'more powerful' is the correct answer.)

6. Recommendations (Your answer: The final section of the main body of a report is usually the recommendations. If there is only one, use 'Recommendation'. However, in the example below there are three, so the plural, 'Recommendations', is used. It is especially important that these should follow logically from the Findings and Conclusions, because your managers will use these to make important decisions about the future of your organisation. The number 6. continues the numbering system we are using.)

There are a number of options (Your answer: 'Several' and 'quite a few' are grammatically correct, but not specific enough. Actually, there are three recommendations. 'Three' is a number, not numbers. Due to the fact that there are three, 'options' should be plural. Therefore 'a number of options' is the correct answer.)

we could consider, (Your answer: 'Will' is wrong because it is too certain, and maybe your manager will not consult with you [you and the manager = 'we'], and maybe not even consider any of your options. It is formal writing style to show that the manager is responsible for this decision, so do not use 'will'. 'Would' is also wrong because, although it is more polite, it seems to be in a conditional structure about the past. The correct answer is 'could', because it describes a possibility, not a certainty, and 'could' is less direct, and  so more polite, than 'can'.

as follows (Your answer: The other options are not correct English phrases.) :

    6.1 Exchange (Your answer: 'Part Exchange' is the correct description of the activity described in the paragraph. The number 6.1 continues the numbering system we are using.)

    Given that we need a better microwave, we should / could return the microwave (Your answer: 'May' sounds as if you are giving your organisation permission to do something, which is not appropriate for this situation. 'Might' is too tentative, and 'would' is also wrong because, although it is more polite, it seems to be in a conditional structure about the past. Therefore the correct options are 'could' and 'should'. 'Should' is appropriate for the primary option, because you should put the option you prefer first.)

    to the shop and ask them if we can buy a bigger one, and only pay the difference. I suggest trying this first. (Your answer: After 'suggest' and 'recommend', use an '_ing' verb.)

    6.2 Purchase of a New Microwave (Your answer: The number 6.2 continues the numbering system we are using.)

    If the shop will not take back the old microwave I recommend buying a new one, (Your answer: After 'suggest' and 'recommend', use an '_ing' verb.)

    and keeping the old one in another part of the office (Your answer: 'In' is the correct preposition for 'the office'.

    for the staff who do not like the present location. (Your answer: The correct relative pronoun for a group of people is 'who'. 'That' and 'which' are not as polite, as they can also refer to things.)

    Alternatively, we could sell the old microwave second hand. (Your answer: After modal verbs such as 'could', use an infinitive verb without 'to'.)

    6.3 Queuing System ( Your answer: 'Queuing System' is the most accurate description of the content of the paragraph. The number 6.3 continues the numbering system we are using.)

    We could let the staff arrange a system for different staff to use the microwave  (Your answer: 'Should' is too strong for a final option, as the options should be in order with the best one first. 'Could' is more cautious. 'May' sounds as if you are giving your organisation permission to do something, which is not appropriate for this situation. 'Might' is too tentative, and 'would' is also wrong because, although it is more polite, it seems to be in a conditional structure about the past. Therefore the correct option is 'could'.)

    at different times. (Your answer: After 'different' you should usually  use the plural form of countable nouns. An exception to this rule is 'different staff ', which is a short form of 'different members of staff'.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title Case: This means that all of the words should start with upper-case (or 'capital') letters, except articles ('a', 'an', and 'the') and prepositions; e.g. 'Report on the Microwave Oven'. The first word of a title case always has an upper-case first letter; e.g. 'The Report Correction Exercise'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redundant: something that is unnecessary, and therefore should not be included. Things may be redundant because:

  1. they are obvious, and therefore the reader does not need to be told
  2. they have been written already, and do not need to be repeated.

In workplace writing you need to balance the need for conciseness with the need for clarity, especially as the report may be read in the future by someone who does not understand the situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The numbering system is a modern one. It is a very flexible system, as you can have sub-sub-sub-sub-section 4.1.3.5.19, but it is difficult in the traditional system to go beyond a three-level organisation; e.g. 4. a. iii. For example, the numbering for 'Air Space for Cooling' is an easy-to-understand '4.2.1.1' in the first list, but a confusing '1.' in the second list:

4. Findings
 
        4.1 Introduction
 
  4.2 Size
 
            4.2.1 Width
 
       4.2.1.1 Air Space for Cooling
   
    The microwave needs to have a space of 2" all the way round for ventilation and to get rid of excess heat. Therefore we need to add 2" to all of the measurements.
     
    4.2.2 Height
 
    4.2.3 Length
 
    4.2.4 Volume
 
  4.3 Power

 

4. Findings
 
        a. Introduction
 
  b. Size
 
            i. Width
 
   
  1. Air Space for Cooling
    The microwave needs to have a space of 2" all the way round for ventilation and to get rid of excess heat. Therefore we need to add 2" to all of the measurements.
     
    ii. Height
 
    iii. Length
 
    iv. Volume
 
  c. Power

Also, Roman numerals can be hard to understand; e.g. xliv = ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xliv = 44      ( l = 50,    xl = 40 (ten before 50)     v = 5      iv = 4 )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corrected report
Click on the links to go to explanations of sections:

CONTACT COMPUTER GRAPHICS

MEMORANDUM
 

To: S.M. Chan, General Manager
From: Samantha Ng, Office Manager
Date:  
Subject:  Report on Staff Satisfaction with the Microwave Oven

1. Introduction
At the monthly staff meeting on , you requested information about staff satisfaction with the new microwave oven. The aim of this report is to present this information, and make suggestions about how to improve the situation.

2. Background
Since the move to the new office in Kowloon Bay, staff have had difficulty in finding a nearby place to buy lunch. This is because the new office is in a factory area, and there is a lack of restaurants. A Sharpe R-3R29 microwave oven was purchased so that staff could eat hot lunches at work. However, some staff have expressed dissatisfaction with the microwave.

3. Method 
Sixty staff were surveyed by questionnaire from .

4. Findings

    4.1 Introduction
    In general, staff were not satisfied with the power and size of the microwave. Some were satisfied with  the location of the microwave, and most were satisfied with its reliability (see Table 1). On analysing the data, two distinct groups of staff emerged. The first group were 40 staff who had usually eaten in the office when the office was in Central. The second group of 20 staff had usually eaten outside in Central.

    Table 1: Staff Satisfaction with the Microwave Oven

    Feature Staff Satisfaction
    Group A
    Usually ate in the office (n=40)
    Group B
    Usually ate outside the office (n=20)
    Both Groups
    Size 55% 35% 48%
    Power 30% 25% 28%
    Location 70% 75% 71%
    Reliability 95% 95% 95%
    Average 62.5% 57.5% 60.5%

    4.2 Power
    Only a quarter of Group B staff said that the oven was powerful enough for their needs.  Also, less than a third of Group A staff were satisfied, giving a total for both groups of less than 30%. Staff responded that it took too long for the oven to cook their food and therefore they had to queue at lunchtime.

    4.3 Size
    In addition, about two-thirds of Group B staff said that the microwave was too small. For example, one member of staff complained that his 10" pizza would not fit in the oven. However, more than half of Group A staff were satisfied, giving a total satisfaction for both groups of just under 50%.

    4.4 Location
    About three-quarters of both groups of staff thought that the location of the oven was acceptable. The rest of the staff did not agree on a better position for the oven.

    4.5 Reliability
    Regarding reliability, almost all of the staff were satisfied. Three members of staff did not understand how to operate the oven.

5. Conclusions
The Findings show that staff, especially staff in Group B, were not satisfied with the power and size of the microwave. We should therefore consider buying a bigger and more powerful microwave.

6. Recommendations
There are a number of options we could consider, as follows:

    6.1 Exchange
    Given that we need a better microwave, we should return the microwave to the shop and ask them if we can buy a bigger one, and only pay the difference. I suggest trying this first.

    6.2 Purchase of a New Microwave
    If the shop will not take back the old microwave I recommend buying a new one, and keeping the old one in another part of the office for the staff who do not like the present location. Alternatively, we could sell the old microwave second hand.

    6.3 Queuing System
    We could let the staff arrange a system for different staff to use the microwave at different times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012