Business Writing

Six Tricks to Make Your Writing Seem Shorter

Business Writing

Sometimes you simply have a lot to say. But you know that people often don't read long documents, and you are looking for ways to shorten yours. After you cut a few extra words and one or two unnecessary sentences, Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2019 176

Does Humming Attract Birds? A Punctuation Problem

Business Writing

My friend Eric W., a great sign spotter, sent me this photo for your enjoyment. He asks, "What does it hum?" I ask you, "What is the problem with the heading below?" It's an easy problem for a snowy Monday. Punctuation Pointers Teaching Business Writing

2019 190

Top Grammatical Error of 2018--Do You Avoid It?

Business Writing

When a newspaper makes the mistake on the front page of the sports section, you know an error has spread. The writer, copyeditor, and proofreader all missed it. Can you recognize it? When I saw that error in a Seattle. Frequently Asked Questions Grammar and Usage Teaching Business Writing

2018 205

Five Ways to Clear Up Fuzzy Writing

Business Writing

When writing is fuzzy, perfectly clear ideas come across as vague, illogical, or ambiguous. Don’t let fuzzy writing undermine your brilliant ideas! Great ideas deserve clear expression. Avoid the five don’ts below to communicate clearly with your audience. Don’t.

2019 194

Paragraphs--Not a Brick Wall, Not a Pile of Bricks Either

Business Writing

Most bad paragraphing involves big walls of text. Readers see those walls and turn away. They move around the wall to shorter paragraphs and bullet points, things that appear to be easier to comprehend. Those big walls of text may. Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2019 141

A Spelling Test for You

Business Writing

I am enjoying Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. Author Benjamin Dreyer, copy chief of Random House, included a chapter titled "Notes on Easily Misspelled Words." Thinking you will enjoy the challenge, I offer a spelling. Proofreading Spellchecking

2019 141

A Large Amount of Mistakes

Business Writing

Today I was reading an article online in Forbes. I expect Forbes to produce error-free articles, but an error popped out in this sentence: When you stop to think about it, the sheer amount of websites can also confuse and. Grammar and Usage Proofreading Teaching Business Writing

2019 153

Over Their Heads and Far From Their Comprehension

Business Writing

Marcia Yudkin's excellent "Marketing Minute" arrived in my inbox today. It included an important reminder about jargon. Marcia gave me permission to share this guest post with you. Over Their Heads and Far From Their Comprehension By Marcia Yudkin. Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2019 151

Apostrophe Doubts? Review and Test Yourself.

Business Writing

A dear friend just told me about an embarrassing apostrophe situation she experienced at work. She had just put up a sign with the heading October Birthday's, which listed employee and member birthdays, when someone stopped and stared grimly at. Proofreading Punctuation Pointers

2018 191

Acronyms and SMEs--Help!

Business Writing

Tim wrote today with an acronym situation he would like to resolve. What do you think about his desire to spell out acronyms and initialisms, even when writing for SMEs (subject-matter experts)? Here is his message: I read your blog. Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2019 141

Cuba Is Complicated, But Writing Should Not Be

Business Writing

Cuba is complicated. That's what our guides told us when we asked questions about how things work in the country: Es complicado. Salaries, food, ownership, restoration, politics, global relationships--Todo es complicado. But writing about Cuba should not be complicated. Writers.

2019 141

10 Etiquette Tips for Business Text Messages

Business Writing

Texting customers, colleagues, clients, and others is mainstream business behavior. But with regular use, there can be abuse. Don’t text just because you can. Text because people want or need to hear from you, and make the messages convenient for. Courteous Writing Etiquette

Incarcerated but Not Hyphenated

Business Writing

I received an invitation to a professional meeting focused on hiring "formerly-incarcerated talent (FIT)." FIT--that's a catchy acronym. But what caught my attention more was the unnecessary use of the hyphen. Did you notice it? These are formerly incarcerated (not.

2019 151

Another Sign for You to Proofread

Business Writing

My friend Eric W. sent me a sign that needs your proofreading eye. What would you change? Please share your recommendations in a comment. If your company or organization has a sign-making department, suggest that one of its team members. Proofreading

2018 151

"They" Pulls Ahead in the Language Game

Business Writing

Our six-year-old neighbor brought his Pokémon card game over for a playdate the other night. As our daughter read aloud the instructions on a card, the grammar caught my attention. Do you notice it too? Your opponent puts a card. Etiquette Grammar and Usage

2018 213

Simple, No-Cost Gifts to Give

Business Writing

In many parts of the world, December is a month of giving gifts. On the job, you can give simple gifts this month and every day of the year with very little effort and no cost. Like the smile that. Courteous Writing Etiquette

2018 141

Can Your Writing Pass This Test? Take It to Find Out.

Business Writing

It's easy to fall into bad writing habits at work. Sometimes it's because we are racing. Sometimes it's because we have read enough swollen sentences, obscure acronyms, and endless messages to lower our standards. And sometimes we write on autopilot.

2018 158

Do Graduates, Brides, and Grooms Write Thank-Yous?

Business Writing

It's the season of graduations and weddings, wonderful opportunities to celebrate graduates' accomplishments and individuals' commitments to one another. If you are a recent or soon-to-be bride, groom, or graduate, congratulations! Life is just beginning for you in many ways.

2018 185

Proofreading Checklist to Avoid "Oops!" Messages

Business Writing

I just received an "Oops!" email from our beloved, prestigious public television station. When I read the subject line, "Oops! Correction for Rick Steves Preview Screening and Q+A!" I instantly knew what the oops must be: a date error. Indeed, Email Proofreading Teaching Business Writing

2018 164

Personal, Tangible Greetings: Why and When to Send Them

Business Writing

When is the last time you sent a card or note to a business associate? If it's that long, read on for a nudge and some inspiration. The Case for Tangible Messages Thousands of unread messages fill my email inbox, Courteous Writing Etiquette

2018 153

Should You "Dumb It Down"?

Business Writing

esterday while coaching a scientist on her writing, I suggested that she consider simplifying this wording: “The results of this trial may elucidate the most efficacious intervention strategies.” Can you guess which words I thought were overly. Teaching Business Writing

2018 164

Take Time to Think Inside the Box

Business Writing

My daughter enjoyed an attraction called Enchant Christmas, which is currently in Seattle. I thought I'd like to go too, so I checked out the website on my phone. I was surprised that Enchant was also being offered in Arlington, Global Communication Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2018 141

Recommended Book: Unleash the Power of Storytelling

Business Writing

I expect a book on communication—which is what storytelling is—to teach me something new or remind me of truths I had better not forget. Rob Biesenbach’s Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds, Get Results surpassed my expectations, Best Picks Books

2018 194

Three Quests for Errors

Business Writing

Are you feeling smart and alert today? Test yourself in the three short passages below. Each "Error Quest" has just one error. Find and correct it. Error Quest 1: Since you asked, this is RoAnn's and my suggestion: We believe. Gems of Language Grammar and Usage Proofreading Punctuation Pointers

2018 141

Test Your Proofreading Skills

Business Writing

Get your proofreading game on! Three challenges await you. A hint about the number of errors, followed by the solutions, appears at the end of the tests. Test 1: The Note of Thanks Dear Krista; Thank you very much for. Grammar and Usage Proofreading Punctuation Pointers Teaching Business Writing

Skills 205

Are You Envious--or Jealous?

Business Writing

Envious? Jealous? Do you use these words interchangeably? Or do you make a distinction between them? Test your understanding by filling in these blanks: I am of my neighbors' gorgeous backyard. Rob feels when he sees Carlos talking. Gems of Language Proofreading

2018 141

An Unimpressive Message From My Dentist

Business Writing

I want the best in dentistry--not business writing--from my dentist. But I'm still disappointed when I receive a pointless, error-filled email like the one below. In it, I have changed the name of the dental practice to "Your Favorite Dentist.".

2018 141

T-F Test on Formatting Business Letters and Emails

Business Writing

The standards of writing change. What was once correct in business messages now comes across as old-fashioned--or does it? Take this true-false test to check your knowledge of basic formatting standards for business letters and emails. Note: The questions and.

2018 180

Which Mistakes Do You Make on Purpose?

Business Writing

If you can write a catchy sentence using I when the wording really demands me, do you choose I or me? If fewer fits your meaning but less sounds breezier, do you go with the correct fewer or the rhythmic. Grammar and Usage Teaching Business Writing

2018 158

An Awkward Request Phrased Beautifully

Business Writing

Scenario: Imagine that you run a classy beachside hotel. Many of the hotel rooms have balconies that face the beach. Everyone walking from the beach toward the hotel can see the balconies. When guests hang wet bathing suits, towels, and. Courteous Writing Global Communication Positive Language

2018 151

How to Make Your Writing Flow

Business Writing

Do people tell you that your writing is choppy or difficult to follow? Do they say it doesn't flow? Or maybe you've noticed that your team's writing doesn't flow. Good flow in writing is method, not magic. When writing doesn't. Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2018 186

Nauseous vs. Nauseated--Which Is She?

Business Writing

My dear friend just had major surgery in another city. Texting me to let me know how she is, her husband wrote, "She's nauseous a lot." But is she nauseous or nauseated? What do you think? Word sticklers distinguish between. Gems of Language Grammar and Usage

2018 141

How Do You Feel About Sloppy Supplier Messages?

Business Writing

A reader named Deborah shared a short email she recently received: Dear Sirs, pls let me have by return the supp docs about yr a.m. invoice because we cannot find our shpm. Thks and rgds How would you feel if. Email Etiquette Proofreading

How to Write When You Can't Change Things

Business Writing

I led a class for a group of writers who respond to citizen complaints about airplane noise. The writers cannot make the planes quieter, and they can't make them go away. What can they do? They can respond in ways. Courteous Writing Etiquette Positive Language

2017 187

Things Changed--Is Your Style Guide Up to Date?

Business Writing

While you have been busy working, some of the rules of writing evolved, and the University of Chicago Press released a new Chicago Manual of Style. Take a look at the changes below to determine which ones you need to.

2017 188

How to Be Assertive, Not Pushy

Business Writing

If you write to customers, clients, employees, or almost anyone on the job, you have times when you need to assert yourself. You have to disagree, delegate, instruct, remind, and say no—in each situation coming across as clear and forceful. Courteous Writing Email Etiquette

How to Unintentionally Diminish Others

Business Writing

The other day I met my friend Barb for lunch. She arrived at the restaurant first, and the server asked, “Just one?” Barb often eats out alone, and she frowns when she hears that question. This time she replied, “Here. Courteous Writing Etiquette Positive Language

2017 191

How to Write Mighty Thank-Yous

Business Writing

In my survey on business writing and relationships of 686 adults, 81 percent of respondents said that a thank-you note they received had a definite positive influence on their decision to do business with a company or an individual again. Books Courteous Writing Etiquette

2018 151

10 Places to Ignore Your Grammar and Spelling Checker

Business Writing

You check your documents electronically to try to catch every error. But your grammar and spelling checker may be giving you bad advice. Because it's a software program, it can't read your mind or know your intentions. Also, it can't.

2017 194

Test Yourself: Which Pronoun Is Correct?

Business Writing

There's a hit song titled "Him and I" whose ungrammatical title and lyrics drive me nuts. A correct title would be either "Him and Me" or "He and I"--never "Him and I." Because him is an object pronoun, and. Grammar and Usage Proofreading Teaching Business Writing

2018 141

Usage Challenge: Can You Pick the Correct Word?

Business Writing

Do you think you know words well? Take this challenge: Pick the correct word or phrase in every sentence below. No peeking at the answer key until you have finished! This site/sight/cite is ideal for our conference. Grammar and Usage

2017 212

Do Not Use Apostrophes to Make Plurals

Business Writing

Please--don't do it. Don't use apostrophes to make expressions plural, like this: This photo of a plumbing supply company storefront is NOT for a company owned by people named Spa and Pool. If it were, Spa's & Pool's might be. Frequently Asked Questions Punctuation Pointers

2015 262

British vs. US Spellings

Business Writing

I traveled (travelled?) around the Big Island of Hawaii the last two weeks and found that--even at Volcanoes National Park--I could not escape thinking about writing. This text grabbed my attention on the Sulphur Banks trail: It appeared on this. Books Proofreading Spellchecking

2018 164