Business Writing

Test Yourself: Changing Passives to Active Verbs

Business Writing

I'm copyediting a book this week, so I have immersed myself in rules and rule-breaking for nonfiction writing. The project is a church history. To work quickly, I have been using my grammar and spelling checker to make obvious errors and inconsistencies pop. One that keeps popping is passive verbs.

2019 180

Signs That Need Your Proofreader's Eye

Business Writing

Even when I am on vacation, I can't turn off my proofreading eyes. The three signs below, which I spotted in Charleston, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina, got my attention. Can you recognize why? Each sign has at least. Proofreading

2019 240

Proofreaders, Follow the Rules!

Business Writing

As someone who designed the course Proofread Like a Pro, I pay attention when a competitor offers a training program on proofreading. Today my inbox included an invitation to a session. Below is the graphic with the program title. Proofreaders, Proofreading

2019 214

True Story: How to Help Employees Write Better

Business Writing

Read the brief, true story below about Eric and his supervisor, Linda. Then decide: If you were in Linda's role, would you handle the situation the same way? ** Eric has just written his first newsletter article about an innovative approach the team has developed and used to get great.

2019 130

ESL Instructors--Is This Book for Ewe?

Business Writing

Today is Book Lovers Day, an unofficial holiday celebrating the love of books. It's a great excuse to relax and read. I picked an easy book to enjoy, P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever, written by rapper. Best Picks Books Gems of Language Global Communication

2019 205

Punctuation Advice for "Ask Amy"

Business Writing

Today I read "Ask Amy" in The Seattle Times. Amy was giving advice to someone who could not set boundaries for herself. I liked Amy's advice, but her punctuation--or lack of it--grabbed my attention. Which punctuation mark would you add. Punctuation Pointers

2019 198

FAQs About Complimentary Closes

Business Writing

With business communication evolving into shorter, quicker messages, people wonder about long-standing formalities like complimentary closes (for example, Sincerely and Best wishes). Do we still use them? If so, which ones belong where?

2019 130

Do I Capitalize Words Followed by Numbers or Letters?

Business Writing

I received a good question by email today. A reader wanted to know my views on capitalizing words that are followed by numbers or letters, for example, Step 1 vs. step 1, Section A vs. section A, and Line 2 vs. line 2. How would you decide whether to capitalize.

2019 163

"Reoccur" or "Recur"? Which Is Correct?

Business Writing

The other day while giving feedback to a client on her customer-service writing, I noticed this sentence: "Once you receive your new card, please contact any merchants with whom you have reoccurring charges." Reoccurring charges? Is that correct? Or should it be “recurring charges”?

2019 153

One Quick Way to Frustrate Customers and Friends

Business Writing

My husband is on a mailing list for information about upcoming stamp shows. This week he got an email announcement and saw his email address in a clump of at least a hundred others. All were there in a long list, a gold mine for people wanting to sell stamps. Email Etiquette Tips on Microsoft Offic

2019 141

If You Are a Writer or an Editor, You Need This book

Business Writing

In an earlier post, I promised to review Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style "in a few days." That was more than three weeks ago. I've been savoring the book, making notes on every chapter.

2019 217

How to Connect With Clients & Others at Thanksgiving

Business Writing

Time to act! Your Canadian clients and customers will celebrate Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l'Action de grâce) on Monday, October 14. Your U.S. contacts will do the same on Thursday, November 28. Be wise and thoughtful, and take this opportunity to remember them before the holiday (c)rush.

2019 141

Google, You've Gone Too Far

Business Writing

Certainly we can admire Google for its growth, global reach, inventiveness, and the brilliance of its teams. But they've gone too far. Cleverness has its limits. Analyze, yes. Optimize, yes. Publicize, yes--those are all things online content providers want to do. But troubleshootize?

Google 130

Hyphen Help: 30-Percent Discount for 30th-Anniversary?

Business Writing

Hyphens are among the most challenging punctuation marks. In two phrases that seem very much alike, one will have a hyphen and one will not. Consider an example. Would you add hyphens to the following sentence? Syntax Training is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Seattle with a 30 percent discount.

2019 153

Audience: A Good Example of a Bad Choice

Business Writing

A friend of mine who works at a large, urban university on the West Coast shared an example of a business person who did NOT think about their audience. And the person's choice led to the loss of a customer order. The university's Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion wanted.

2019 153

Need to Say No in Writing? Here's How--and Why

Business Writing

Do you know how to say no? Are you comfortable writing a message that says no to someone's request? Or do you ignore requests hoping they will go away? Read this post to learn the easy way to say no--and. Courteous Writing Email Etiquette How to Write

2019 164

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 207

Language That Enslaves Our Thinking

Business Writing

Traveling recently in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, I visited many places that told the story of slavery in the South. From the start, I noticed that presenters used the phrase enslaved people or enslaved person rather than. Gems of Language Teaching Business Writing

2019 180

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 203

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

Use a Thank-You Note to Fix Interview Blunders

Business Writing

At job interviews it's easy to stumble over at least one question, especially if it's unexpected. Interview blunders can cause you to dread following up on your application. But don't lose heart! A thank-you note can remedy the situation. Courteous Writing Etiquette Writing Tips

2019 170

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

"I Hope You're Well" as an Email Opener

Business Writing

On Saturday The New York Times ran a humorous column "I Hope You're Well," by Kerry Elson. In case you are unable to access The New York Times online, here are two opening exchanges from the piece: Hi, Robin, Courteous Writing Email Etiquette

2019 151

Find the Errors and Win the Prize

Business Writing

Warm up by finding one concisely spelled error in this sign. When you find it, go on to the next challenge. This dumpster sign has three punctuation errors, along with some funny commentary. Don't quit until you find everything. Thank. Proofreading Punctuation Pointers

2019 141

A Guide to Gender-Neutral Language

Business Writing

It's LGBTQ Pride month and a good time to start using gender-neutral language if you haven't started already. That's words such as people, folks, everyone, they, them, and their, which do not indicate gender. It's different from the expressions ladies.

2019 153

Who/Whom, Whoever/Whomever: Test Yourself

Business Writing

The other day a friend told me he was concerned about having taken on a copy editing job because he didn't yet feel confident of who/whom and whoever/whomever. How about you? Are you confident about where to use those pronouns?

2019 141

Read Your Dense Privacy Policy? No, I'll Go Elsewhere

Business Writing

Earlier this month The New York Times published an interactive data-filled article on privacy policies titled "We Read 150 Privacy Policies. They Were an Incomprehensible Disaster." Author Kevin Litman-Navarro performed several analyses. For example, he timed the minutes it took.

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

Does "Ladies" Belong in a Salutation?

Business Writing

Rob wrote: I thought you might be a helpful sounding board from something I'm experiencing at work. Recently, one of our female executive leaders has been using the word Ladies as a salutation in her emails that include men in. Courteous Writing Email Etiquette

2019 141

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

Why You Need a Style Sheet and How to Create One

Business Writing

I'm helping two friends who have just completed a book manuscript. They work beautifully together and will have a wonderful book when it's finished. But right now, tiny inconsistencies appear everywhere. In one chapter, all numbers are in words; in.

2019 130

How to Write for Senior Executives

Business Writing

When you and I don’t work efficiently, we may waste time, money, supplies, and opportunities. But imagine the waste involved when the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and other executives at “C-level” work inefficiently. Beyond the cost of their time, executive.

2019 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 214

Great Is Not So Great

Business Writing

I began reading an article by a university president about the school he leads. In the first paragraph, this is what I learned about the university: Most of you know and appreciate what a great university this is, with a. Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2019 151

Can You Fix This Error-Filled Email?

Business Writing

Below is a screenshot of the first half of an email invitation I received for a bill-signing event in Seattle. I understood the content and appreciated the invitation, but I couldn't help spotting all the errors. How many do you. Proofreading Punctuation Pointers Teaching Business Writing

2019 141

Error or No Error?

Business Writing

I saw this great card designed by Jessica Hogarth at my local supermarket. It's a thank-you card for a teacher. Does it contain an error? If so, where? If not, why not? Do you worry about whether errors are getting. Grammar and Usage Proofreading Punctuation Pointers Teaching Business Writing

2019 141

How to Write the Interview Thank-You Note

Business Writing

My daughter's friends in college are interviewing for internships and permanent positions. Days after their interviews some of them ask, "Should I have sent a thank-you?" To them I say, Yes! And this blog post will help them--and you--write it.

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

A New York Times Lesson for Business Writers

Business Writing

As an online subscriber and recipient of Sunday delivery, I enjoy the excellent writing in The New York Times. The paper often uses a powerful technique to meet readers' needs: listing and answering the readers' questions. For decades I've been. Teaching Business Writing Writing Tips

2019 151

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 188

When Auditors Read Your Meeting Minutes

Business Writing

When I teach Meeting Notes Made Easy, I encourage note-takers to record what was done, not what was said. People don't need to know the lengthy he said/she said details. But my friend Heidi, a tax attorney, advised me to. Meeting Notes and Minutes

This Sign Needs Help

Business Writing

I've cropped the store's name and email to save it the embarrassment. I hope the staff takes a proofreading course during closure! How many errors can you find? Lynn Syntax Training. Proofreading

2019 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