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Business Writing: <body class="layout-three-column"> <div id="container"> <div id="container-inner" class="pkg"> <!-- banner - rev2 --> <div id="banner"> <div id="banner-inner" class="pkg"> <h1 id="banner-header"><a href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com" accesskey="1">Business Writing</a></h1> <h2 id="banner-description"></h2> </div> </div> <div id="pagebody"> <div id="pagebody-inner" class="pkg"> <div id="alpha"> <div id="alpha-inner" class="pkg"> <!-- sidebar1 --> <!-- user photo --> <table border="0" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" id="about"> <tr> <td valign="top" class="photo"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/about.html"><img src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fa91debe970b-pi" alt="Lynn Gaertner-Johnston" border="0" title="Lynn Gaertner-Johnston"/></a></td> <td width="80" valign="top"><ul class="aboutus"> <li><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/">Visit Lynn's Website</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/about.html">About Lynn</a></li> <li><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/contact_us.html">Contact Lynn</a></li> </ul> <strong>Subscribe</strong> <ul class="subscriber"> <li class="email"><a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=2863746&loc=en_US" title="Receive a link to the latest post in your inbox.">Email</a></li> <li class="rss"><a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/businesswritingblog/BwB09" title="Receive the latest post to your favorite newsreader or Outlook.">RSS</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </table> <!-- about page link --> <div id="syntax_training" class="module-typelist module"> <h2 class="module-header">Syntax Training</h2> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Read about upcoming public classes, both online and in person. 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"href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/signup.html">Email Tips: 25 Tips for Email Etiquette</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="The main article of the current issue is titled "Take Control of Your Jargon.""href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/signup.html">Free Monthly Ezine on Business Writing</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Visit Lynn's website for more articles on business writing."href="http://syntaxtraining.com/articles.html">Lynn's Articles on Writing </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title=""href="http://syntaxtraining.com/heart.html">"Business Writing With Heart": Lynn's New Book</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title=""href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com">Visit Lynn's Website</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div id="writing_resources" class="module-typelist module"> <h2 class="module-header">Writing Resources</h2> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Fine blog on writing, marketing, and business"href="http://badlanguage.net">Bad Language</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Lynn's picks for best books"href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/recommended_books.html">Business Writing Books</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Tips from Syntax Training"href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com/business_writing_tips.html">Business Writing Tips</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Q&A on questions of style and consistency"href="http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/CMS_FAQ/new/new_questions01.html">Chicago Manual of Style</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Useful statistics on Internet use and traffic"href="http://www.clickz.com/stats">ClickZ Stats Toolbox</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Hundreds of errors listed alphabetically"href="http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/index.html">Common Errors in English</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Review 440 lessons in grammar and punctuation in the archives"href="http://www.dailygrammar.com">Daily Grammar</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Photos to inspire and stretch"href="http://dailywalks.com/">Daily Walks | Diane Varner</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Thought-provoking pieces on marketing "href="http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/weblog.php">Duct Tape Marketing Blog</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="With 150 excellent interactive quizzes"href="http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/">Guide to Grammar and Writing</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Over 1000 interactive quizzes at varying levels of difficulty"href="http://a4esl.org">Interactive ESL Quizzes</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Games and exercises for everyone, including native English speakers"href="http://www.manythings.org">Interesting Things for ESL/EFL Students</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Resources for lawyers who write"href="http://raymondpward.typepad.com/newlegalwriter/">Legal Writer</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="In celebration of punctuation"href="http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com">National Punctuation Day</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Get results from as many as 18 dictionaries"href="http://www.onelook.com">OneLook Dictionary Search</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Join the fight for clear writing"href="http://www.plainenglish.co.uk">Plain English Campaign</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Proofreading symbols listed and illustrated"href="http://www.journalismcareers.com/articles/proofreadingsymbols.shtml">Proofreading Symbols</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Explore the site for MLA & APA Style guidance, rules, exercises, and presentations "href="http://owl.english.purdue.edu/">Purdue's Writing Lab</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Test your spelling at five levels of difficulty"href="http://eslus.com/LESSONS/SPELL/SPELL.HTM">Spelling Tests</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Words spelled differently in British, Canadian, and American English"href="http://www3.telus.net/linguisticsissues/BritishCanadianAmerican.htm">Spelling: British, Canadian, American</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Syntax Training (Lynn's company) website"href="http://www.syntaxtraining.com">Syntax Training</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="A test on which Lynn got 3 wrong! "href="http://books.guardian.co.uk/quiz/questions/0,5957,1303707,00.html">Tough Spelling Test</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Take a free typing test. Available in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and Finnish. "href="http://www.typingtest.com">TypingTest.com </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="Words with different meanings in British, Canadian, and American English"href="http://www3.telus.net/linguisticsissues/britishcanadianamericanvocab.html">Vocabulary: British, Canadian, American</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="A list that allows you to search by misspellings--not correct spellings"href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_common_misspellings">Wikipedia: List of Common Misspellings </a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="New words defined, a great resource"href="http://www.wordspy.com">Word Spy</a></li> <li class="module-list-item"><a title="A search engine to hundreds of online dictionaries, and much more"href="http://www.yourdictionary.com">YourDictionary.com</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="beta"> <div id="beta-inner" class="pkg"> <div id="sharethis" style="text-align:right;"> <span class='st_twitter' displayText='Tweet'></span> <span class='st_facebook' displayText='Facebook'></span> <span class='st_linkedin' displayText='LinkedIn'></span> <span class='st_pinterest' displayText='Pinterest'></span> <span class='st_sharethis' displayText='ShareThis'></span> <span class='st_email' displayText='Email'></span> </div> <script type="text/javascript"> window.ZemantaBlogSettings = ""; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://content.zemanta.com/static/typepad/js/recommend.js"></script> <!-- entries --> <h2 class="date-header">July 11, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-best_picks_ entry-category-books entry-category-proofreading entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2ff7d2970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/book-review-a-good-laugh-at-other-peoples-mistakes.html">Book Review: A Good Laugh at Other People’s Mistakes</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p><em>Just My Typo: From “Sinning With the Choir” to “The Untied States,”</em> by Drummond Moir, provides lots of hearty laughs. As I read the book last night, I caught myself repeatedly snickering at the errors proofreaders had missed and feeling grateful that I had not made or missed them.</p> <p><a class="asset-img-link" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2ffa4a970b-pi" style="display: inline;"><img alt="Just My Typo" border="0" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2ffa4a970b img-responsive" src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2ffa4a970b-800wi" title="Just My Typo" /></a><br />The jacket copy of the 181-page book describes it accurately as “a charming collection of typographical errors, slips of the pen, and embarrassing misprints.” Below are bits of that collection that made me smile.</p> <p>From a section called “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You”:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I am a rabid typist.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I worked for 6 years as an uninformed security guard.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">As part of the city maintenance crew, I repaired bad roads and defective brides.</p> <p> </p> <p>From the chapter “To Be or to Be: Typos in Literature”:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Late that same evening after a vain search all around the village, Mary found the dog dead in the garden. She curried the body indoors. [From <em>Life in Barnsthorpe </em>by Patricia Cox]</p> <p> </p> <p>From the chapter “The Fourth Mistake: Typos in the Media”:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Report: Armstrong Used Rugs [From a CBC News caption about Lance Armstrong’s admission]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Before the verdict was rendered this morning “Miss Mexico” told interviewers that if the court freed her, she would become a nut. [From <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em>]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">He and his wife Gillian, who is a teacher, have three children, Gaven, aged 13 and 11-year-old twins ugh and Helen. [From <em>Orpington News Shopper</em>]</p> <p> </p> <p>On weddings:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Here the bridal couple stood, facing the floral setting, and exchanged cows. [From <em>Modesto News Herald</em>]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Mr. & Mrs. Garth Robinson request the honor of your presents at the marriage of their daughter Holly to Mr. James Stockman. [From a wedding invitation—I had to look twice to catch the error.]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">And they were married and lived happily even after. [From <em>Church World</em>]</p> <p><br />Punctuation problems led to many gaffes cited in the book:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Rachel Ray Finds Inspiration in Cooking Her Family and Her Dog. [From <em>Tails</em> magazine cover]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Prudential—were here to help you. [Advertisement for insurance]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">The legendary gangster, movie star and sensitive art collector Edward G. Robinson . . . .” [From <em>Guardian</em> Corrections and Clarifications. It should have read “gangster-movie star.”]</p> <p><br />And sometimes a simple missing letter made all the difference:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Welcome to Hotel Cosy: Where no one’s stranger.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Text Trust proudly lists “the 15 million we pages spell-checked over the past year.” [From a company press release]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Fresh pain throughout [From a real estate blurb]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">ILLEGALLY PARKED CARS WILL BE FINE [From a sign]</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><a class="asset-img-link" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73deafdb0970d-pi" style="display: inline;"><img alt="Parking will be fine photo" border="0" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73deafdb0970d img-responsive" src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73deafdb0970d-800wi" title="Parking will be fine photo" /></a></p> <p> </p> <p>One of the scariest errors was described in a correction slip and press release on the <em>Easy Sky Diving Book</em>:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">On page eight, line seven, the words “state zip code” should read—“pull rip cord.”</p> <p>The chapter “Autocorrect Dystopia: The Future of the Typo” features hilarious text exchanges, all of which are too X-rated for this blog. But I recommend them for a hearty laugh or guilty giggle.</p> <p>The <em>pubic</em> for <em>public</em> error appears several times. The costliest example involved a ballot proposal on “pubic employment.” Reprinting and distributing the ballots cost $40,000.</p> <p>The most embarrassing such error appeared on the 2012 commencement brochure of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of “Pubic” Affairs. I strongly recommend that everyone (except medical office staff) <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2005/12/public_or_pubic.html" target="_self" title="This blog post tells how">add an autocorrection to their grammar and spelling checker</a>, automatically changing every <em>pubic</em> to <em>public</em>. </p> <p>The book’s “Note to the Reader” gives these instructions:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">If during the course of reading this book you think you spot a typo, you haven’t. If you think you might have spotted one all the same, you haven’t.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No typos will be corrected for future editions.</p> <p>Wouldn’t it be terrific if we could all include such a note on our documents? Maybe, maybe not.</p> <p>If you would enjoy a quick read with lots of humor, get Drummond Moir’s <em>Just My Typo: From “Sinning With the Choir” to “The Untied States,”</em> published by Three Rivers Press and retailing for US$11.99</p> <p>If you would like to catch as many errors as possible in your written messages, register for our <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/PDF/Proofreading_Like_a_Pro_July_17_2014.pdf" target="_self" title="Learn more and register">Proofreading Like a Pro</a> class. The next one takes place on Thursday, July 17, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. </p> <p><em>Lynn</em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Traiing</a> (That was another typo featured in the book) </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">July 11, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/best_picks/">Best Picks </a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/books/">Books</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/proofreading/">Proofreading</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/book-review-a-good-laugh-at-other-peoples-mistakes.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/book-review-a-good-laugh-at-other-peoples-mistakes.html#comments">Comments (0)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/book-review-a-good-laugh-at-other-peoples-mistakes.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">July 02, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-grammar_and_usage entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2a179e970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/can-you-solve-this-july-4-riddle-.html">Can You Solve This July 4 Riddle? </a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p><a class="asset-img-link" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2a16e3970b-pi" style="display: inline;"><img alt="July 4 edit" border="0" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2a16e3970b image-full img-responsive" src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd2a16e3970b-800wi" title="July 4 edit" /></a></p> <p> </p> <p>I featured this riddle on Facebook, and it seems to have stumped people. Do you know the answer?</p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website ">Syntax Training </a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">July 02, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/grammar_and_usage/">Grammar and Usage</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/can-you-solve-this-july-4-riddle-.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/can-you-solve-this-july-4-riddle-.html#comments">Comments (6)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/07/can-you-solve-this-july-4-riddle-.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">June 30, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-teaching_business_writing entry-category-writing_tips entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd288f63970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/copy-what-works.html">Copy What Works</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>A new instructor led our water aerobics class at the local pool yesterday. Unfortunately, every choice she made showed her lack of experience. </p> <p>She led us in doing the same exercise for minutes (boring). She had us work on our legs without exercising our arms (inefficient). She spoke too softly to get our attention over the music, and she had side conversations that kept us repeating the same movements while we waited for her to finish.</p> <p>I wish the new teacher had observed the class of an excellent instructor, Peter, who always pushes us to have a good workout and a good time. If she had copied only half of what he does and how he does it, her class would have been effective. And people would not have been talking in the locker room about going to other pools.</p> <p>The same is true of writing: If you are new to business writing--or to writing a particular type of document--copy what works.</p> <p>Don't flounder the way the new aerobics teacher did. If you are assigned a new writing task, ask your supervisor for an example of what he or she expects. Get good examples of proposals, meeting minutes, announcements, and performance appraisals--whatever kinds of business writing are new to you. </p> <p>With a model proposal, you will recognize how to focus on the client's needs. With samples of good meeting minutes, you will know how much to record. Model announcements will help you include all the necessary information, and examples of performance appraisals will help you identify the appropriate professional tone. </p> <p>If you supervise writers, be sure to share excellent examples of the kinds of business writing you want. </p> <p>My book <em><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/heart.html" target="_self" title="Learn more about the book">Business Writing With Heart</a>: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time </em>includes more than 200 samples of effective messages. </p> <p>My guide<em> <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/guide.html" target="_self" title="Read sample solutions">Help Employees Write Better</a>: A Guide for Managers, Trainers, and Others Who Care About Business Writing </em>includes 60 ways to improve employee writing and solve writing problems. </p> <p>Our <em><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/PDF/BBW_Seattle_July_21_2014.pdf" target="_self" title="Learn about the July 21 class">Better Business Writing</a> </em>class features 23 model documents such as responses to customer complaints, recommendations, and requests. </p> <p>Model your writing on the effective writing of others. Copy what works. </p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's website">Syntax Training</a> </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">June 30, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/teaching_business_writing/">Teaching Business Writing</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/writing_tips/">Writing Tips</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/copy-what-works.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/copy-what-works.html#comments">Comments (2)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/copy-what-works.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">June 25, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-courteous_writing entry-category-etiquette entry-category-teaching_business_writing entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd254ebc970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/enclosed-please-find-means-youve-lost-it.html">"Enclosed Please Find" Means You Lost It</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Sandra wrote today asking about the expression "enclosed please find":</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I took a business letter writing class in 1988 and was told NEVER to say "enclosed please find" because it's redundant! I see correspondence from lawyers using "enclosed please find." As the letter writer you are saying "enclosed" SO WHY would you say again, PLEASE FIND?? It <br /> doesn't make sense.</p> <p>Good question, Sandra! Here's the short answer:</p> <p>Only use "please find" if you have lost something and want your reader to find it. </p> <p>Like Sandra, I have seen the phrases "attached please find" and "enclosed please find" countless times in other people's writing. In my first office job back in college, people wrote, "Enclosed <em>herewith</em> please find." Those were the painfully verbose years. </p> <p>We have many options to replace those needlessly wordy phrases:</p> <ul> <li>Here is . . . </li> <li>Enclosed are . . . </li> <li>Attached is . . . </li> <li>We have enclosed . . . </li> <li>I have attached . . . </li> <li>The attached proposal includes . . . </li> <li>The enclosed document shows . . . </li> <li>Please review the attached diagram . . . </li> <li>The attached spreadsheet covers . . . </li> <li>Please use the enclosed envelope to . . . </li> </ul> <p>You may be wondering whether legal documents require a formality that only "enclosed please find" and similar phrases convey. Well, legal writing expert Bryan Garner calls "please find enclosed" and like phrases "archaic deadwood."</p> <p>Garner points out that such phrases have been condemned in business writing texts since the late 1800s. In his <em>HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, </em>he cites an 1880 text in which a man named Richard Grant White wrote, "A more ridiculous use of words, it seems to me, there could not be."</p> <p>There's your answer, Sandra. Let's echo Richard Grant White's cadence and confidence: "A more ridiculous use of words, it seems to be, there could not be." </p> <p>In your work do you still see "please find attached" and other old-fashioned phrases? Feel free to share your frustration here. </p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/upcomingclasses.html" target="_self" title="Learn about upcoming classes">Syntax Training </a></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"> </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">June 25, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/courteous_writing/">Courteous Writing</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/etiquette/">Etiquette</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/teaching_business_writing/">Teaching Business Writing</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/enclosed-please-find-means-youve-lost-it.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/enclosed-please-find-means-youve-lost-it.html#comments">Comments (10)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/enclosed-please-find-means-youve-lost-it.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">June 24, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-grammar_and_usage entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511d46349970c"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/test-yourself-subject-verb-agreement.html">Test Yourself: Subject-Verb Agreement</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Subject-verb disagreement is one of the commonest errors I see these days in business writing. People who have mastered punctuation, pronouns, and challenging word pairs still miss the occasional agreement problem. </p> <p>Sometimes a plural verb is incorrectly paired with a singular subject, for example: </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Each of the selected candidates have to write a personal statement. (Correct: Each . . . has) </p> <p>And sometimes a singular verb is incorrectly matched with a plural subject, as in this error I recently heard on National Public Radio:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">The chaos and violence continues in Iraq. (Correct: The chaos and violence continue--because chaos and violence are two distinct things.) </p> <p>Test yourself on subject-verb agreement in these 10 sentences. Some sentences are correct. </p> <ol> <li>Options regarding the ways to handle the risk was discussed. </li> <li>Either Carolyn or her team members has copies of the rental agreement. </li> <li>Our recommendation and bid cover training in business writing, including grammar and punctuation.</li> <li>The advice from the senior team and the input from the public was considered in developing the program.  </li> <li>Contributions raised at the annual event funds our local programs.</li> <li>Customer satisfaction and product reliability is our responsibility. </li> <li>Our team has been working diligently and is making excellent progress. </li> <li>Neither of her professional references have called me back yet.  </li> <li>One of the reasons she contacted us are the accounts payable problems. </li> <li>This survey, along with earlier analyses, suggests that we increase prices.</li> </ol> <p> </p> <p>Before you review the answers below, check to see whether you fixed seven incorrect sentences. </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Here are corrections: </p> <ol> <li>Options regarding the ways to handle the risk were discussed. (options . . . were) </li> <li>Either Carolyn or her team members have copies of the rental agreement. (team members have)</li> <li>Correct--if the recommendation and bid are two separate pieces.</li> <li>The advice from the senior team and the input from the public were considered in developing the program. (the advice . . . and the input . . . were) </li> <li>Contributions raised at the annual event fund our local programs. (contributions . . . fund) </li> <li>Customer satisfaction and product reliability are our responsibility [or responsibilities]. (satisfaction and . . . reliability are) </li> <li>Correct. <em>Team </em>is singular in this context.</li> <li>Neither of her professional references has called me back yet. (neither . . . has)  </li> <li>One of the reasons she contacted us is the accounts payable problems. (one . . . is) </li> <li>Correct. Ignore the phrase within commas when determining the verb.</li> </ol> <p>My Microsoft grammar and spelling checker missed the errors in Numbers 5, 6, and 9 but identified all the other errors. It did not suggest changing the correct sentences. </p> <p>Did any of these examples trick you?  </p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com%20" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training </a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">June 24, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/grammar_and_usage/">Grammar and Usage</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/test-yourself-subject-verb-agreement.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/test-yourself-subject-verb-agreement.html#comments">Comments (6)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/test-yourself-subject-verb-agreement.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">June 10, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-grammar_and_usage entry-category-proofreading entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511cb1d5a970c"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/can-you-find-my-error.html">Can You Find My Error?</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Today I sent out my free monthly newsletter, <em><a title="Subscribe to "Better Writing at Work" " href="http://syntaxtraining.com/signup.html" target="_self">Better Writing at Work</a>, </em>to more than 19,000 subscribers. As always, I included an Error Quest. That's the monthly puzzler paragraph that includes one error for readers to find. Unfortunately, this month's had two. </p> <p>I have removed the error I intended from the paragraph below. Can you find the one error I missed? </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">What I like about the paint department in our hardware store is the swatches of paints that go well together. I am never certain which colors complement others, but the color strips guide me in the right direction. </p> <p>Did you find my unintended error? If not, keep trying. <a title="Subscribe at no cost " href="http://syntaxtraining.com/signup.html" target="_self">Subscribe to </a><em><a title="Subscribe at no cost " href="http://syntaxtraining.com/signup.html" target="_self">Better Writing at Work,</a> </em>and you can try to find one error (I hope just one!) each month. </p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><span style="color: #000000;">Thanks to Nancy Wagner and Russell Clarke for alerting me to the error. They both communicated about it quite tactfully too!</span></span></p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a title="Visit Lynn's company website" href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self">Syntax Training</a></p> <p> </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">June 10, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/grammar_and_usage/">Grammar and Usage</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/proofreading/">Proofreading</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/can-you-find-my-error.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/can-you-find-my-error.html#comments">Comments (14)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/can-you-find-my-error.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">June 06, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-best_picks_ entry-category-books entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fd18abdf970b"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/whats-new-in-ap-stylebook-2014.html">What's New in AP Stylebook 2014</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p><em>The AP Stylebook 2014 </em>just came out, and my copy arrived in the mail on Wednesday. I have studied it searching for changes you might want to know about (if you don't subscribe to the AP's tweets), and they appear below. If you are not familiar with <em>The AP Stylebook, </em>it's a style guide for writers and editors. Most U.S. newspapers and newsletters, along with many businesses, follow it. (I just peeked at it to be sure my rendering of <em>U.S.</em> is correct with periods. It is--but use no periods in a headline.)</p> <p><strong><em>Over </em>vs. <em>more than.</em></strong><em> </em>I am delighted that <em>AP </em>has finally joined <em>The Chicago Manual of Style, The Gregg Reference Manual, </em>and <em>Garner's Modern American Usage </em>in accepting <em>over </em>as synonymous with <em>more than. AP 2014 </em>describes <em>over</em> as <em>"</em>acceptable in all uses to indicate greater numerical value" and offers this example: "The crop was valued at over $5 billion." </p> <p><strong>Names of states. </strong>The other significant change for business writers is the spelling out of state names in sentences, even when they appear with cities. Last year's <em>AP Stylebook </em>would have approved "The students from Portland, Ore., visited two Springfield, Mass., colleges. But <em>AP 2014 </em>wants the sentence this way: "The students from Portland, Oregon, visited two Springfield, Massachusetts, colleges. For those of us who cannot remember <em>W.Va. </em>for West Virginia and <em>Wyo.</em> for Wyoming--or who don't like abbreviations in our sentences--this change is a gift. </p> <p><em><strong>District of Columbia.</strong></em><strong> </strong>Like states, <em>District of Columbia </em>is <em>AP</em>'s new preference over <em>D.C. </em>Second references to the District of Columbia should now be <em>the District</em> (formerly <em>the district</em>). </p> <p>T<strong>hese new <em>AP </em>entries will help your punctuation and usage: </strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>dis, dissing, dissed </em>(not defined in <em>AP, </em>but it's a slang verb meaning "to disrespect") </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>first aid </em>as a noun, <em>first-aid </em>as an adjective</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>goer </em>as part of a compound word does not require a hyphen (<em>concertgoer, partygoer</em>) </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>hands-free </em>is always hyphenated</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>in vitro fertilization </em>has no hyphen</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>onboard </em>is one word as an adjective ("onboard entertainment"), two words otherwise ("let's get on board")</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Q&A format</em> now has no hyphens<em> </em>(<em>AP </em>used to prefer <em>Q-and-A format</em>)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>whistleblower </em>now has no hyphen</p> <p><strong>These new entries will confirm your spellings:</strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>"Auld Lang Syne"</em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Caucasus Mountains </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>emoji</em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>gyp,</em> meaning "to fraud or swindle someone"</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>selfie</em></p> <p><strong>Capitalization questions? These new entries may help: </strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">bitcoin</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>ID</em> (acceptable abbreviation for <em>identification, ID card</em>) </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>LGBT</em> (acceptable on first reference for<em> lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender</em>; spell out in body of the story) </p> <address style="padding-left: 30px;">Lyme disease</address><address style="padding-left: 30px;"> </address><address style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>MERS </em>(correct on second reference for Middle East respiratory syndrome)</address> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Snapchat</em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Vine </em></p> <p><strong>If you write about sports,</strong> note that <em>AP </em>now says Super Bowls should be identified by their year, not by Roman numerals, except in formal references. (Past <em>Stylebooks </em>recommended using Roman numerals sparingly for Super Bowls.) Also, <em>AP </em>now stresses that <em>soccer </em>is an American term for what the rest of the world calls <em>football. </em><em><br /></em></p> <p><strong><strong>Need to use the latest weather terms? </strong></strong><em>AP 2014 </em>has added <em>derecho, monsoon, polar vortex, </em>and <em>storm surge.</em> If you need to use these terms, you probably know what they mean. </p> <p><strong>Do you write about food? </strong>Among the 36 food terms appearing for the first time in <em>AP</em> are:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>amaretti</em> (<em>AP </em>says this is an Italian <em>macaroon</em>, but my Italian dictionary says it's a plural word, with <em>amaretto </em>as the singular)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>angel food cake</em> (three words, no capitals)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>applesauce</em> (one word)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Baileys</em> (liqueur, no apostrophe)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>beef stroganoff</em> (no capitals, compare <em>beef Wellington</em>)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Buffalo wings</em> (capitalized because of Buffalo, New York)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>caipirinha</em> (a Brazilian cocktail that is hard to spell)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>chiffonade</em> (<em>AP </em>says "to slice vegetables very thinly"; other sources use <em>chiffonade </em>for the vegetables themselves or the technique)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>demi-glace</em> (a rich sauce with a hyphen)  </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>foodways</em> ("refers to a set of food traditions") </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>kitchen parchment</em> (use instead of <em>parchment paper </em>or <em>baking paper</em>)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Mornay sauce</em> (note the capital letter)</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>sugarplums</em> (one word) </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>napa cabbage</em> (note the absence of a capital letter) </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>taproom</em> (one word) </p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Tiki bar</em> (note the capital <em>T</em>) </p> <p>The 2014 version also has a new religion section. You will not need to search for religious terms in the long alphabetical list. Find <em>agnostic, atheist, Allah, Baha'i, Baptist churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, Orthodox Jews,</em> and others side by side in the same section. </p> <p>If you, like me, need to have the latest style manuals at hand, I recommend getting <em>The AP Stylebook 2014. </em>Where else would you learn kitchen terms like <em>foodways </em>and <em>cracklings </em>or find <em>Vatican City</em> one entry away from <em>Voodoo</em>? </p> <p>The print edition of <em>The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law </em>retails for $20.95 and is available from the <a href="https://www.apstylebook.com/apbookstore/invoice.php?pid=978-0-917360-58-9" target="_self" title="Visit the store">AP Stylebook Online Store</a>. You can also buy an online subscription and automated style checkers. (It would be useful to have the new terms above added automatically to your software's dictionary, wouldn't it?) </p> <p>Will you buy the new guide? Have you tried the online style checkers? </p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com%20" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training</a> </p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">June 06, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/best_picks/">Best Picks </a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/books/">Books</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/whats-new-in-ap-stylebook-2014.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/whats-new-in-ap-stylebook-2014.html#comments">Comments (9)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/whats-new-in-ap-stylebook-2014.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">June 02, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-writing_tips entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73dd05710970d"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/watch-your-buttons-an-online-editing-step.html">Watch Your Buttons: An Online Editing Step</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>We just ordered the new version of a prestigious style manual. The last step in placing the online order had these instructions:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Please confirm your order and click "Complete this order" to submit your order.</p> <p>We looked for the "Complete this order" button. EDIT ORDER appeared on one button. CANCEL ORDER appeared on another. SUBMIT ORDER appeared on two buttons. </p> <p>It may seem like a small thing, but it slows down and frustrates Web visitors when you send them to a button they cannot find--because it doesn't have the name you used in your instructions.  </p> <p>After a short pause, we clicked SUBMIT ORDER. The style manual is on its way. </p> <p>Writing tip: When you write for the Web, be sure your instructions match the name of your links and buttons--especially BUY buttons. Add "Check links and buttons" to your editing checklist. And be sure that step includes (1) clicking each link and button to see that it takes the reader where it should, and (2) confirming that its name is consistent with other content. </p> <p>What slows you down or frustrates you on the websites you visit? How can we improve business writing on the Web? </p> <p><em><span style="color: #0000bf;">Lynn</span></em><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training</a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">June 02, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/writing_tips/">Writing Tips</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/watch-your-buttons-an-online-editing-step.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/watch-your-buttons-an-online-editing-step.html#comments">Comments (4)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/watch-your-buttons-an-online-editing-step.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">May 27, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-meeting_minutes entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a73dcc290a970d"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/minute-taking-tip-get-three-appts-on-your-calendar.html">Minute-Taking Tip: Put Three Appointments on Your Calendar</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>Here is a tip that will help you feel more confident taking meeting notes and minutes and completing the final draft. I use it when I take minutes for the board of the <a href="http://joyfulnoiseseattle.org" target="_self" title="Joyful! Noise website">Joyful! Noise</a> community choir, a job I do about eight times a year. </p> <p>When you are scheduled to take minutes at a meeting, put three appointments on your calendar:</p> <ol> <li>An appointment with yourself--and sometimes with the meeting leader--to prepare for the meeting</li> <li>The meeting </li> <li>An appointment with yourself to complete the minutes</li> </ol> <p>Too often note takers put only the meeting time on their calendars, but preparation time before the meeting and completion time afterward make the job much easier. </p> <p><strong>During your preparation time before the meeting,</strong> complete any of these tasks that match your situation:</p> <ol> <li>Download the meeting agenda.</li> <li>Create a note-taking template from the agenda.</li> <li>Fill in as much as possible on the template, for example, attendee names, meeting date and time, and any information that is not likely to change. I include all attendee names; then before the meeting, I highlight the name as each individual arrives.  </li> <li>Review the minutes of the previous meeting to be aware of ongoing topics and action items. </li> <li>Download any materials people have distributed in advance, for example, team reports and slide presentations.</li> <li>Review the materials, looking for any information you might need to know to make your job easier. I suggest flagging any jargon and abbreviations and finding out what they mean so you will feel informed when people use them during the meeting. </li> <li>Create automatic entries for any long terms people may use such as "Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center" and ones with challenging spellings such as "Weyerhaeuser." Using automatic entries (for which you type just a few strokes rather than the entire word or phrase) will help you keep up during the meeting. </li> <li>Meet by phone or in person with the meeting leader, if possible, to learn about the kind of meeting and minutes he or she expects. For example, does the leader want you to capture information that participants write on white boards? Is he or she willing to let you know when a point in a long discussion should be recorded? Ask questions about anything on the agenda that isn't yet clear to you. </li> </ol> <p><strong>During the meeting,</strong> you know what to do, right? If not, take our online class Meeting Notes Made Easy. The next one takes place on Wednesday, June 4. <a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/PDF/Meeting_Notes_Made_Easy_June_4_2014.pdf" target="_self" title="Learn more and register. ">Learn more about it</a>. </p> <p><strong>After the meeting,</strong> have time set aside to finish your notes or minutes. I get home from the board meeting around 9:30 p.m., and I like to finish the minutes then. Although doing that makes it a long evening, I love the satisfaction of sending out the finished minutes the next day. When I don't do the minutes within 24 hours, I regret putting it off. The information is less fresh in my mind, and people do not have the typed list of action items to get started on right away. </p> <p>Do you have tips that help you take meeting notes efficiently? Please share them here.</p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training</a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">May 27, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/meeting-minutes/">Meeting minutes</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/minute-taking-tip-get-three-appts-on-your-calendar.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/minute-taking-tip-get-three-appts-on-your-calendar.html#comments">Comments (4)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/minute-taking-tip-get-three-appts-on-your-calendar.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <h2 class="date-header">May 22, 2014</h2> <div class="entry-category-courteous_writing entry-category-etiquette entry-category-tips_on_microsoft_office entry-author-lynn_gaertnerjohnston entry-type-post entry" id="entry-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511bdd45a970c"> <div class="entry-inner"> <h3 class="entry-header"><a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/women-are-not-guys-at-work-are-they.html">Women Are Not "Guys" at Work, Are They?</a></h3> <div class="entry-content"> <input type="hidden" name="zemanta-related" val="" /> <div class="entry-body"> <p>You have read and heard statements like these at work:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"I'll ask the guys on my team to work on that feature."</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"We need to get a top-notch guy in here to fill that role."</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"Let me know how you guys are doing."</p> <p>Barbara wrote to ask my opinion on <em>guys</em> used for groups that include women and <em>guy</em> used for an unknown individual. She shared the examples above. </p> <p><a class="asset-img-link" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511be263c970c-pi" style="display: inline;"><img alt="Lynn Sherk photo" border="0" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511be263c970c image-full img-responsive" src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a511be263c970c-800wi" title="Lynn Sherk photo" /></a><br />Communication involves both the sender and the receiver of the message. The sender may intend <em>guys</em> to refer to everyone in a group. In fact, <em>guys </em>can mean "members of a group regardless of sex" according to <em>Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. </em>But the receiver may interpret <em>guys</em> to mean men.</p> <p>Because <em>guys</em> may miscommunicate or even cause bad feelings depending on the situation, it makes sense to use a different word. Why use a risky word when other words can communicate your meaning safely?  </p> <p>Alternatives to <em>guys </em>are <em>you, anyone, everybody, team, people, individuals, </em>and <em>all </em>depending on the situation and sentence. "You" can easily replace "You guys" although "you guys" does clearly indicate more than one, which "you"<em> </em>alone does not. </p> <p>Yes, I recommend that we cut <em>guys </em>from our written messages when we mean a mixed group or a group of women. And we should not use <em>guy </em>when we mean "someone<em>." </em>Cutting those words from our writing makes sense because other words are more precise. Also, we cannot know whether <em>guys</em> and <em>guy </em>may exclude or offend a reader. For example, a woman in a group of mostly male software engineers or firefighters may feel like a misfit when messages use "you guys." </p> <p>Taking that step should be easy, especially since grammar and spelling checkers flag the use of <em>guys</em> and <em>guy. </em>For this blog post, my Microsoft grammar and spelling checker set on Grammar &Style (not Grammar Only) recommended <em>people </em>and <em>person </em>for every <em>guys </em>and <em>guy </em>I used. </p> <p>Speech may be more challenging since we don't have a grammar checker to flag words before they come out of our mouths, and the informal "you guys" may be a longstanding habit. If you want to eliminate <em>guys </em>in situations where it may not belong, you might try a sign on the bulletin board above your desk with the reminder "You <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">guys.</span>" You can also add a reminder to your smart phone or tablet. </p> <p>Does it make sense to avoid using <em>guy </em>and <em>guys </em>in business communication? Yes, it makes sense if the use may offend or leave out someone.</p> <p>But what about the situation captured in the photo above, with Lynn Sherk and me at Firehouse Coffee in our neighborhood? If the servers had called us "you guys," would we have minded? No, not a bit. </p> <p>What is your experience with <em>guy </em>and <em>guys </em>at work? <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="color: #0000bf;"><em>Lynn</em></span><br /><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com" target="_self" title="Visit Lynn's company website">Syntax Training</a></p> </div> <!-- SIGNATURE --> </div> <div class="entry-footer"> <p class="entry-footer-info"> <span class="post-footers">May 22, 2014 in <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/courteous_writing/">Courteous Writing</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/etiquette/">Etiquette</a>, <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/tips_on_microsoft_office/">Tips on Microsoft Office</a> </span> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="permalink" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/women-are-not-guys-at-work-are-they.html">Permalink</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-comments" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/women-are-not-guys-at-work-are-they.html#comments">Comments (13)</a> <span class="separator">|</span> <a class="entry-trackbacks" href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/05/women-are-not-guys-at-work-are-they.html#trackback">TrackBack (0)</a> </p> <!-- technorati tags --> <!-- post footer links --> </div> </div> </div> <div class="pager-bottom pager-entries pager content-nav"> <div class="pager-inner"> <span class="pager-right"> <a href="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/page/2/"><span class="pager-label">Next</span> <span class="chevron">»</span></a> </span> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="gamma"> <div id="gamma-inner" class="pkg"> <!-- sidebar2 --> <!-- Google Search --> <script type = "text/javascript"> function clickFocus(input){ input.className = 'focus'; if (input.value == input.defaultValue){ input.value = ''; } } function unFocus(input){ input.className = 'entered'; if (input.value == ''){ input.value = input.defaultValue; input.className = 'normal'; } } </script> <form method="get" action="http://www.google.com/search"> <div class="googlebox"> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="UTF-8" /> <input type="hidden" name="oe" value="UTF-8" /> <div align="center"><input type="text" name="q" size="14" maxlength="255" value="Search This Blog" class="searchbox" onfocus="clickFocus(this)" onblur="unFocus(this)" /> <input type="submit" name="btnG" value="Go" style="padding:0; margin:0; text-align:center; width:28px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight:bold; font-size:11px;" /></div> <span style="font-size:0px;"> <input type="hidden" name="domains" value="www.businesswritingblog.com" /> <input type="hidden" name="sitesearch" value="www.businesswritingblog.com" /> </span> <div align="center"> <a href="http://www.google.com/"><img src="http://www.google.com/logos/Logo_40wht.gif" alt="Google" width="128" height="53" border="0" /></a> </div> </div> </form> <!-- end Search --> <!-- photo adspot --> <div class="ctr"><a href="http://syntaxtraining.com/heart.html"><img src="http://www.businesswritingblog.com/.a/6a00d8341c02a553ef01a3fa91deac970b-pi" alt="Business Writing with Heart - How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time" width="146" height="220" style="border:1px #333 solid;" title="Learn about Lynn's new book"/></a></div> <!-- End photo adspot --> <!-- rss / bookmarking --> <div class="subscribebox"><h2>Subscribe</h2> <!-- social subscribe --> <div id="followthis" style="text-align:center; padding:10px 0;"> <span class='st_twitterfollow' displayText='Twitter Follow' st_username='SyntaxLynn'></span> <iframe src="//www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsyntaxtraining&width=170&height=290&colorscheme=light&show_faces=true&header=true&stream=false&show_border=true&appId=649758471713658" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:170px; height:290px;" allowTransparency="true"></iframe> </div> <!-- end social --> <div class="module-syndicate module" style="padding:0px; margin:0px;"> <div class="module-content" style="padding:4px 0px 0px 0px; margin:0px; border-bottom:0px #C4D4E5 solid;"> <strong style="font-size:13px;">By Email</strong><br /> <a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=2863746&loc=en_US" target="_blank"><span style="font-size:12px; line-height:14px;">Have the latest posts delivered to your inbox!</span></a> <p> <strong style="font-size:13px;">By RSS Feed</strong><br /> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/businesswritingblog/BwB09" title="Works with all email clients such as Outlook, Yahoo! 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