Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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July 01, 2013



I find the note on "Thanks" interesting. I always feel compelled to acknowledge the message so the sender can be sure I received it. Sometimes, I appreciate the same type of acknowledgement, especially when I've included something like, "I hope this gives you what you need." Of course, then the response from them should probably be a little more elaborate than "Thanks." I will think more before sending simple acknowledgement emails.

I must say, too, I loved the whimsical email slogan: "Please consider the possibility that my spelling of my name is correct." I am baffled at how often my name is spelled incorrectly in email replies; after all, it is included three times - my email address, by sign off and my signature.

Thanks! I enjoy following your blog.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Stacy. Thanks for dropping by with a comment. As you suggest, "thanks" messages can be helpful when people need acknowledgment that you have received their email. I sometimes send "Thanks--got it" messages.

The Reply All thanks are the ones we have to banish from our companies, along with the thanks that simply extend an email conversation, like this:

John: Thanks for the input. I'll incorporate it.

Mary: Thanks, John.

Mary may want to thank John for incorporating the input. But if that is her intent, she could save the thanks for a sincere message in response to, let's say, the final document.

I am glad you enjoy the blog, Stacy. If you do not yet subscribe to my free monthly e-newsletter, try it. You can subscribe here:


Jennifer Conway

Thank you for including #5. It is one of my pet peeves and used extensively by my clients/colleagues in drafts I receive. I have been told that consultants use this a lot to create a sense of personalization and intimacy with the reader.

I find this usage especially irritating when the email is being sent from an inanimate object (i.e., a generic email mailbox, such as "IS Help Desk"). A generic email mailbox cannot be excited about something (example: "We are excited to announce..."), so if the mailbox isn't excited, who is? Nor can an invididual convey "We are excited to announce..." since "we" is plural. Who else is excited besides the sender?

As I try to educate my clients on common grammar and punctuation errors, I tell them that whenever they feel the need to use "we," insert the name of the sender (the generic mailbox, the newsletter or individual) and see if it makes sense. Most times it won't, in which case, change "we" to identify the specific party being referenced.

Sorry for being so long-winded!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Jennifer. Thank you for mentioning the excited generic email box. Your suggestion of naming the specific party makes great sense.

I do find it acceptable, as I believe you do, for an individual to use "we" when speaking for the company or a group. For example, a client may write to me, "We are looking forward to your writing class." I believe that works fine, even when "I'll look for you on Friday" follows closely behind it.

Thanks for taking the time to write.


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