Business Writing

Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job.

Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Share this page

« Congratulations to You and Me! | Main | Use the Apostrophe in Happy Mother's Day »

April 29, 2014



Hi Lynn

Thanks for the great analogy. It clearly articulates the impact that errors and inconsistencies in communications have on an audience.

Kind regards


Yes, it matters. Readers get distracted and start focusing more on the flaws or I can say, flaws draw more attention. The shift in the focus lead to a shift in impression of writer.

George Raymond

English is central in Europe, but not the native language of the vast majority. Most organizations thus face these questions: How good is the English in this document? Is it good enough? What should we do and how much should we spend to improve it?



Thank you, Lynn, for the great teapot analogy!

I have to agree with you that small details matter. Just yesterday, I emailed several people who had applied for a job with my employer, to schedule a brief phone call with them to discuss their interest in the position. Some of them responded with warm, personal, and professional responses. But many of them responded with one-sentence emails obviously sent from their smart phones, and didn't include an opening, refer to me by name, or even provide all of the information that I requested (such as the phone number at which I can best reach them when I call).

I have to say that, even though this latter group of folks have impressive resumes, the extreme brevity and lack of personalization in these - their very first emails to me - left me with the wrong impression. I'm still looking forward to speaking with them about the job, but honestly, they are starting out a step or two behind the candidates who responded to me more professionally.

Heidi Cole

You are absolutely point on correct with your observations. I try to be very diligent about grammar, punctuation and sentence structure in all business writings. I begin all emails with a salutation and close properly as if I were writing a letter. Just because email is a faster form of communication these days I don't believe proper writing basics should be thrown out the window.

Bob Van Leeuwen

Agreed. To Leigh's point, I am afraid (yes afraid!)- that texting and mobile communications will ruin the future generation of written communications. Like Heidi, I also try very hard to perfect every one of my written communications and emails.

Writing IS an art and a science to be able to speak clearly and to articulate one's thoughts. Especially in business communications, it is important to convey an idea or apply for a job!
Thank you Lynn for "chipping" away at this topic.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, everyone. I am delighted that the blog post moved you to comment.

Ruth, I am glad you liked the analogy and that you labeled it as one. We don't see the word "analogy" often enough.

Ankita, I like your statement, "Flaws draw more attention."

George, what an interesting comment! In fact, the individual in my class was not a native English speaker. I did not ask him, but I suspect he was from a European country. I am going to continue to think about your questions "Is it good enough? What should we do and how much should we spend to improve it?"

Leigh, your story is very valuable. It merits a blog post of its own. I will write to you privately to ask about featuring it in another post.

Heidi, I am delighted that you are holding firm on writing standards.

Bob, I appreciate your enthusiastic comment. You may be interested to know that when I teach business writing, I try to focus on the "practical skill" aspects of it. If I called it "an art and a science," some people would assume they will never be good at it.

Thank you, everyone.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Share this page
© 2005-present - Syntax Training - All Rights Reserved